United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
John E. Jones III, Judge
September 11, 2014, Petitioner Rancourt Woodell
(“Woodell”) filed the instant petition for writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254,
challenging his Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County,
Pennsylvania conviction for first degree murder. (Docs. 1,
2). On May 16, 2017, an Order issued directing the Respondent
to submit a memorandum concerning the timeliness of the
petition and file the complete state court record. (Doc. 23).
Respondent submitted a response and filed the state court
record on May 26, 2017. (Doc. 24). Petitioner sought, and was
granted, an extension of time to file a reply. (Docs. 25,
26). Petitioner filed his reply on June 22, 2017. (Doc. 29).
petition is ripe for disposition and, for the reasons set
forth below, will be dismissed as untimely.
April 25, 2002, a jury convicted Woodell of murder in the
first degree. (Doc. 1). On June 4, 2002, the trial court
sentenced him to life imprisonment plus restitution. (Doc.
24-2, p. 100). Post sentence motions were denied on June 3,
2003, and, on June 5, 2003, he filed a timely direct appeal
in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 24-3, pp. 7-18).
The Superior Court affirmed the Judgment of Sentence on May
28, 2004. (Id. at 20-39). Woodell filed a petition
for allowance of appeal in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania;
the Supreme Court denied the petition on May 17, 2005.
(Id. at 40). He sought review in the Supreme Court
of the United States via a petition for writ of
certiorari. The United States Supreme Court denied review on
May 1, 2006. (Doc. 24, p. 2).
then filed a Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”)
petition pursuant to 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§ 9541-46,
on November 14, 2006. (Id.) Years later, on May 27,
2010, after numerous amendments and supplements, and
following a hearing, the PCRA Court denied relief. (Doc.
24-3, pp. 41-104; Doc. 24-4, pp. 1-104; Doc. 24-5, pp. 1-69).
Woodell pursued a timely appeal and, on August 18, 2011, the
Superior Court affirmed the PCRA court's order denying
relief. (Doc. 24-5, pp. 89-93). He pursued relief in the
Supreme Court. On July 18, 2012, the Supreme Court denied his
petition for allowance of appeal. (Id. at 94).
2, 2013, Woodell filed, in this Court, his first federal
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Woodell v. Wenerowicz, M.D.Pa. Civil
No. 3:13-cv-1192, Doc. 1. Woodell indicated on his Notice of
Election form, issued pursuant to Mason v. Meyers,
208 F.3d 414 (3d Cir. 2000), his desire to withdraw the
petition and file one all-inclusive petition. Id. at
Doc. 10. An Order issued on September 24, 2013, deeming the
petition withdrawn and closing the case. Id. at Doc.
filed the instant petition on September 11, 2014. (Doc. 1).
court shall “entertain an application for a writ of
habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to
the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is
in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or
treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. §
2254(a). A petition filed under § 2254 must be timely
filed under the stringent standards set forth in the
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”), Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214
(Apr. 24, 1996). See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) (1).
Specifically, a state prisoner requesting habeas corpus
relief pursuant to § 2254 must adhere to a statute of
limitations that provides, in relevant part, as follows:
(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an
application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in
custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The
limitation period shall run from the latest of-
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the
conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for
seeking such review;
. . .
(2) The time during which a properly filed application for
State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect
to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be
counted toward ...