United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan
BISSOON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
filed by Petitioner Edward Wonderling
(“Petitioner”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
(Doc. 4.) Petitioner challenges his judgment of sentence
entered on January 6, 2016 in the Court of Common Pleas of
Jefferson County after he plead guilty to 3 counts of
Aggravated Assault by Vehicle While Driving Under the
Influence. See Resp't Exs. A, B,
In exchange for his guilty plea, Petitioner received a
negotiated sentence of 1 year to 2 years, split with and
followed by, 8 years of probation on each count. See
Resp't Ex. C. Each count was ordered to run consecutively
yielding an aggregate sentence of 3 years to 6 years, split
with and followed by, 24 years of probation. Id.
did not appeal his judgment of sentence to the Superior Court
of Pennsylvania, but he sought relief through a Petition for
Post Conviction Relief (“PCRA”) that he filed in
the Court of Common Pleas on May 6, 2016. See
Resp't Ex. E. However, his PCRA petition was dismissed on
August 25, 2016, and no direct appeal was filed from the
court's order. See Resp't Ex. I.
filed what the state court construed as a second PCRA
petition on October 24, 2016. See Resp't Exs. J,
K. However, on December 19, 2016, that petition was also
dismissed. See Resp't Ex. M. On January 6, 2017,
Petitioner appealed the court's order dismissing his
second PCRA petition, and as of today, that appeal is still
pending. Commonwealth v. Wonderling, 99 WDA 2017
(Pa. Super. Ct.).
has filed a Motion to Dismiss the Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus on the basis that Petitioner has failed to exhaust his
claims in the state courts as required before a petitioner
can seek habeas relief in the federal courts. See 28
U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1); see also Rose v. Lundy, 455
U.S. 509, 515 (1982); Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S.
408, 416-17 (1982); Ellison v. Rogers, 484 F.3d 658,
662-63 (3d Cir. 2007). This exhaustion requirement is
intended to allow state courts the first opportunity to pass
upon federal constitutional claims, in furtherance of the
policies of comity and federalism. Granberry v.
Greer, 481 U.S. 129 (1987); Rose, 455 U.S. at 516-18.
Exhaustion also has the practical effect of permitting
development of a complete record in state court, to aid the
federal courts in their review. Rose, 455 U.S. at
Pennsylvania, the exhaustion requirement means that a
petitioner in a non-capital case must have presented every
federal constitutional claim raised in his habeas petition to
the Common Pleas Court and then the Superior Court either on
direct or PCRA appeal. See, e.g., Lambert v.
Blackwell, 387 F.3d 210, 233-34 (3d Cir. 2004). Once a
petitioner's federal claims have been fairly presented to
the state courts and those proceedings conclude, the
exhaustion requirement is satisfied.
Court takes judicial notice that Petitioner's appeal of
the order dismissing his second PCRA petition is still
pending in the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Therefore, it is
clear that Petitioner has not yet exhausted his state court
remedies. At this time, the Court expresses no opinion as to
the merits of Petitioner's claims, including
Respondents' argument that some of his claims may be
procedurally defaulted for his failure to appeal his judgment
of sentence and the order dismissing his first PCRA petition
to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Instead of dismissing
the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus for Petitioner's
failure to exhaust his state court remedies, the Court will
instead stay and administratively close this case until such
time Petitioner has exhausted said remedies. Petitioner shall
file a motion to reopen this case within thirty (30) days of
when his state court remedies have been exhausted.
NOW, this 28th day of February, 2017,
after a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus was filed in the
above captioned case, and it appearing that Petitioner is
presently pursuing his state court remedies IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk of Court stay and
administratively close this case.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioner shall file a
motion to reopen this case within thirty (30) days of
exhausting his state court remedies. If Petitioner does not
refile his lawsuit within thirty (30) days, the case will be
dismissed with prejudice based on the assumption that he no
longer wishes to pursue these claims.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Respondents' Motion
to Dismiss the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No. 8)
is dismissed without prejudice to refile once this case is
 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 3735.1(a)