United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
D. Tomasic Rusheen R. Pettit Office of the District Attorney
of Allegheny County.
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
CYNTHIA REED EDDY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
William Alvin Hopkins, is a state prisoner incarcerated at
State Correctional Institution Greene in Waynesburg,
Pennsylvania. He seeks a writ of habeas corpus, pro
se, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons
set forth below, the petition will be denying.
April 11, 2011, Petitioner, William Alvin Hopkins
(“Petitioner” or “Hopkins”), entered
a general guilty plea in the Court of Common Pleas of
Allegheny County to the following: four counts of Burglary,
consolidating three cases with a total of five victims; three
counts of Theft by Unlawful Taking, two counts of Receiving
Stolen Property, one count of Possession of Drug
Paraphernalia, and one count of Access Device Fraud. On June
22, 2011, following a sentencing hearing, the trial court
imposed an aggregate sentence of twelve to twenty-four
years' incarceration, plus restitution.
through counsel, filed a direct appeal from his judgment of
sentence. On September 21, 2012, the Superior Court affirmed
the judgment of sentence. Hopkins did not file a Petition for
Allowance of Appeal (“PAA”) with the Pennsylvania
on direct appeal, Hopkins filed a timely pro se petition
under the Pennsylvania Post-Conviction Relief Act
(“PCRA”). The PCRA court appointed new counsel,
who filed an amended petition on November 30, 2012. The PCRA
court held a hearing, at which trial counsel and Petition
testified. The PCRA court, finding trial counsel's
testimony credible, denied relief by order entered February
21, 2013. Hopkins appealed to the Superior Court. By Order
entered February 10, 2014, the Superior Court, adopting the
PCRA court's reasoning as its own, found that Hopkins was
not entitled to relief. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
denied allowance of appeal on July 2, 2014.
been denied relief in state court, Hopkins filed pro
se the instant habeas petition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, in which he raises the following claim:
Trial Counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel in
violation of the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to
the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, Petitioner was convicted
on a the basis of a guilty plea that was the product of
ineffective assistance of counsel.
Habeas Pet. at 6 (ECF No. 1). Respondents filed a timely
Answer (ECF No. 8) and the relevant state court records, to
which Petitioner filed a timely Reply Memorandum. (ECF No.
10). The Court has reviewed the filings by the parties, as
well as the state court record, including the transcripts
from Hopkins' guilty plea proceeding, sentencing
proceeding, and PCRA hearing. The matter is fully briefed and
ripe for disposition.
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 2254
case is governed by the federal habeas statute applicable to
state prisoners. 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as amended by the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,
Pub.L.No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, enacted on April 24, 1996
(“AEDPA”), “which imposes significant
procedural and substantive limitations on the scope” of
the Court's review.Wilkerson v. Superintendent Fayette
SCI, 871 F.3d 221, 227 (3d Cir. 2017). Under AEDPA, a
petitioner must “ ‘ha[ve] exhausted the remedies
available in the courts of the State, ' 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1)(A), before seeking federal habeas relief, and a
claim will be deemed unexhausted if the petitioner ‘has
the right to file under the law of the State to raise, by any
available procedure, the question presented, ' but has
failed to do so, id. § 2254(c).”
Id. at *3.
do not dispute that the issue raised in this habeas petition
is exhausted. Hopkins raised the claim that his guilty plea
was the product of ineffective assistance of counsel during
his PCRA proceedings, and the claim was denied on its merits
both before the PCRA court the Superior Court. “Where a
state court has rejected a petitioner's claim on the
merits, AEDPA limits the scope of [the court's]
substantive review to whether the state court's decision
‘was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable