United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Legrome D. Davis, J.
NOW, this 27th day of February 2017, upon careful and
independent consideration of Petitioner Levi Lapp
Stoltzfoos's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc.
No. 1), the Report and Recommendation of United States
Magistrate Judge Richard A. Lloret (Doc. No. 21), and
Petitioner's objections thereto (Doc. No. 42), it is
hereby ORDERED as follows:
1. Petitioner's objections to the Report and
Recommendation are OVERRULED.
2. The Report and Recommendation is APPROVED and ADOPTED.
3. The Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. No. 1) is
DISMISSED without an evidentiary hearing.
4. A certificate of appealability SHALL NOT issue, in that
the Petitioner has not demonstrated that reasonable jurists
would find the correctness of the procedural aspects of this
ruling debatable. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2);
Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000).
5. The Clerk of Court is directed to close this matter for
the course of several weeks in January and February 2006,
Petitioner made cash deposits totaling $541, 100 at ten
different Pennsylvania banks. R. & R. (Doc. No. 21), at
2. He deposited the money in fifty-eight separate
transactions, almost all of which were between nine and ten
thousand dollars. Id., at 2-3. In doing so,
Petitioner evaded reporting requirements imposed on banks by
federal law; the regulations require all cash deposits
exceeding ten thousand dollars to be reported. See
31 C.F.R. § 1010.311.
convicted Petitioner of fifty-eight counts of dealing in
proceeds of unlawful activity, in violation of 18 Pa. Cons.
Stat. § 5111(a)(3). R. & R., at 4. Petitioner appealed
his conviction, which was affirmed by the Pennsylvania
Superior Court in 2010; an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme
Court was summarily denied. Id. Petitioner filed a
series of collateral challenges under Pennsylvania's Post
Conviction Relief Act, but these were rejected. Id.,
petition for a writ of habeas corpus was filed in this Court
in November 2013. Pet. (Doc. No. 1). Magistrate Judge Lloret
issued a Report and Recommendation that the petition be
dismissed, and this Court approved and adopted that report
after the appropriate period had passed without the filing of
any objections. April 29, 2015 Order (Doc. No. 23).
Petitioner then filed two requests for appointment of
counsel, which this Court denied. See March 14, 2016
Order (Doc. No. 27); March 28, 2016 Order (Doc. No. 31). An
appeal followed, and the Third Circuit summarily vacated and
remanded for further consideration of Petitioner's
filings. Stoltzfoos v. Sec'y Pa. Dep't of
Corr., No. 16-1821 (3d. Cir. Aug. 17, 2016). This Court
subsequently appointed counsel to represent Petitioner, and
counsel filed objections to the report and recommendation in
November 2016. Aug. 23, 2016 Order (Doc. No. 35); Objections
to R. & R. (Doc. No. 42).
reviewing a Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation,
the district court must make “a de novo determination
of those portions of the report or specified proposed
findings or recommendations to which objection is
made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). But a federal
habeas court's underlying consideration of a state
prisoner's habeas petition is “constrain[ed] . . .
with respect to claims adjudicated on the merits in state
court” by the standards of review set forth in the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Williams v.
Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412 (2000). “AEDPA increases
the deference federal courts must give to the factual
findings and legal determinations of the state courts.”
Werts v. Vaughn, 228 F.3d 178, 196 (3d Cir. 2000).
questions of law, relief may only be granted if the state
court decision was “contrary to, or involved an
unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law,
as determined by the Supreme Court of the United
States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). A decision is
contrary to clearly established law if it is
“diametrically different” or “mutually
opposed” to that law. Williams, 529 U.S. at
364. A decision involves an unreasonable application of the
law if it either “correctly identifies the governing
legal rule but applies it unreasonably to the facts of a