United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM OPINION INTRODUCTION
I. QUIÑONES ALEJANDRO, U.S.D.C. J.
Michael Jones (“Petitioner”), a Pennsylvania
state prisoner acting pro se, filed a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§2254, in which he asserted claims of ineffectiveness of
counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and judicial error. [ECF
1]. In accordance with Title 28 U.S.C §636(b) and Local
Civil Rule 72.1.IV(c), the petition was referred to United
States Magistrate Judge Linda K. Caracappa for a Report
and Recommendation (“R&R”). [ECF 2]. On
August 31, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued an R&R,
which recommended that the petition for a writ of habeas
corpus be denied. [ECF 9]. Petitioner timely filed
objections to the R&R. [ECF 12]. Thus, this matter is
ripe for a de novo determination of the objections
to the R&R.
thorough and independent review of the state court record and
court filings, for the reasons stated herein,
Petitioner's objections are overruled, the R&R is
approved and adopted, and the petition for a writ of
habeas corpus is denied.
April 7, 2012, following a jury trial, Petitioner was
convicted of burglary. The facts underlying his conviction
were summarized by the trial court and quoted in the R&R
At trial, the Commonwealth presented the testimony of
Philadelphia Police Officer Anthony Berry, Michael McGeehan,
Alberta Scheerer, Jennifer Malloy, Detective Andrew Danks,
and James Ryan. Defendant presented the testimony of Takisha
Miller and Timothy Hoppes. Viewed in the light most favorable
to the Commonwealth as the verdict winner, their testimony
established the following.
On May 29, 2009, Alberta Scheerer was at her home, located
directly behind 4413 McMenamy Street in Philadelphia. N.T.
4/6/2010 at 48, 71. At approximately 10 a.m., Ms. Scheerer
looked out of her upstairs bedroom window and noticed
defendant, whom she did not recognize, standing in the
backyard of her neighbor, Michael McGeehan. N.T. 4/6/2010 at
29, 49-50. Ms. Scheerer continued to watch defendant through
the window, and a couple of minutes later, defendant went to
the side of 4413 McMenamy Street, forced open one of the
windows, and climbed inside the house. N.T. 4/6/2010 at 32,
Ms. Scheerer then ran down the stairs inside her home and
alerted her son, Christopher Scheerer, and her son's
fiancée, Jennifer Malloy, to what she had witnessed.
N.T. 4/6/2010 at 53- 54. Ms. Malloy went upstairs with Ms.
Scheerer, while Mr. Scheerer ran outside to see if he could
flag down a police officer. N.T. 4/6/2010 at 54. Ms. Malloy
and Ms. Scheerer watched through the window as defendant
walked around the interior of their neighbor's home. N.T.
4/6/2010 at 54-55. Outside, Mr. Scheerer located a police
officer and brought him to 4413 McMenamy Street. N.T.
4/5/2010 at 41-42. As Philadelphia Police Officer Anthony
Berry approached, he saw defendant trying to break a sliding
glass door to get out of the home. N.T. 4/5/2010 at 44;
4/6/2010 at 73.
Defendant ran out the back door of the home, jumped over the
fence, and ran in the opposite direction from the Scheerer
home. N.T. 4/6/2010 at 55-56. Officer Berry returned to his
patrol car and circled the block, locating defendant
approximately ten seconds later walking northbound up
McMenamy Street. N.T. 4/5/2010 at 48, 81. Officer Berry
pulled his patrol car over and asked defendant if he could
talk to him. N.T. 4/5/2010 at 48-49.
Defendant ran, with Officer Berry pursuing him first in his
patrol car and then on foot. N.T. 4/5/2010 at 49. Officer
Berry chased defendant through an apartment complex and over
a fence before defendant finally hid underneath an abandoned
car. N.T. 4/5/2010 at 49-51. Officer Berry drew his weapon,
at which point defendant surrendered. N.T. 4/5/2010 at 51.
Another police officer transported Ms. Malloy, accompanied by
Mr. Scheerer, to identify defendant. From the backseat of the
officer's patrol car, while defendant stood in the
street, Ms. Malloy positively identified defendant as the man
she saw burglarizing her neighbor's home. 4/5/2010 at
61-62. Based on Officer Berry and Ms. Malloy's
identifications, defendant was arrested. N.T. 4/5/2010 at
Mr. McGeehan arrived home shortly after being notified of the
burglary. N.T. 4/6/2010 at 31. He told police that a duffel
bag typically filled with gym equipment and kept in his
bedroom had been moved next to the back door. N.T. 4/6/2010
at 32-34, 91. Inside the duffel bag was a five-gallon water
jug in which Mr. McGeehan kept between twelve hundred to
fifteen hundred dollars' worth of loose change. N.T.
4/6/2010 at 33-37.
Commonwealth v. Jones, 2015 WL 7301799, at *4 (Pa.
Super. Ct. Apr. 21, 2015).
his conviction, Petitioner was sentenced to a term of seven
to fourteen years imprisonment. Id. at *3. He filed
a timely post-sentence motion which the trial court denied,
and a direct appeal with the Pennsylvania Superior Court,
which was dismissed for Petitioner's failure to file a
January 3, 2011, Petitioner filed a pro se petition
under the Pennsylvania Post-Conviction Relief Act
(“PCRA”), seeking reinstatement of his appellate
rights. Id. On June 17, 2011, Petitioner's PCRA
petition was granted, and his appellate rights were
reinstated nunc pro tunc. Id. Petitioner
then filed what was deemed a timely direct appeal.
Id. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed
Petitioner's sentence on April 27, 2012. Id.
Petitioner did not file a petition for allowance of appeal
with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
10, 2012, Petitioner filed a timely pro se PCRA.
Id. Counsel was appointed, but subsequently filed a
no merit letter, along with a motion to withdraw.
Id. The PCRA petition was dismissed on May 29, 2014.
Id. On April 21, 2015, the Superior Court affirmed
the dismissal of the PCRA petition. Id. at *2.
Petitioner filed a petition for allowance of appeal, which
was denied by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on October 26,
March 16, 2016, Petitioner filed the underlying pro
se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, [ECF 1], which was referred to the
Honorable Magistrate Judge Linda K. Caracappa for a report
and recommendation. [ECF 2]. After considering the
parties' submissions and the underlying state court
record, the Magistrate Judge submitted a well-reasoned
R&R which addressed Petitioner's habeas
claims, and recommended that the petition be denied. In his
objections to the R&R, Petitioner essentially argues that
the conclusion of the Magistrate Judge is wrong with respect
to five of his ten habeas claims; to wit,
claims one, four, seven, nine and ten. This Court disagrees
and approves and adopts the R&R.