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Ainsworth v. The Attorney General of State

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

May 18, 2018

WILLIAM R. AINSWORTH, Petitioner,
v.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCI FAYETTE, and DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF BUTLER COUNTY, Respondents.

          Mark R. Hornak Judge.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MAUREEN P. KELLY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         It is respectfully recommended that the Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (the “Petition”), ECF No. 3, be dismissed and that a Certificate of Appealability be denied.

         II. REPORT

         On November 20, 2012, William R. Ainsworth (“Petitioner”) pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, forty-eight counts of sexual abuse of children, twelve counts of criminal solicitation, three counts of criminal attempt (unlawful contact), eight counts of unlawful contact with a minor, and nine counts of criminal use of a communication facility. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the prosecution recommended an aggregate sentence of 14 to 28 years of incarceration to be followed by 16 years of probation. The Court of Common Pleas of Butler County sentenced Petitioner according to the plea agreement. Because neither of the two Grounds for Relief raised in the Petition merits relief, the instant Petition should be dismissed. Because jurists of reason would not disagree with the disposition of this case, a Certificate of Appealability should be denied.

         A. Procedural History

         1. State Court history

         The Pennsylvania Superior Court summarized the procedural history of the case in state court in its Memorandum, dated July 26, 2016, as follows:

Appellant, William R. Ainsworth, appeals pro se from the April 20, 2015 order denying his first petition filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”), 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 9541-9546. We affirm.
Pursuant to a negotiated plea, Appellant pled guilty on November 20, 2012, to one count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, forty-eight counts of sexual abuse of children, twelve counts of criminal solicitation, three counts of criminal attempt (unlawful contact), eight counts of unlawful contact with a minor, and nine counts of criminal use of communication facility. N.T. (Plea), 11/20/12, at 3, 8-9. In exchange for the plea, the Commonwealth agreed to recommend an aggregate sentence of not less than fourteen years to not more than twenty-eight years of imprisonment, followed by a period of sixteen years of probation. Id. at 3-4. The trial court agreed to the Commonwealth's recommended sentence and sentenced Appellant accordingly. N.T. (Sentencing), 4/29/13, at 21-25. Appellant did not file a post-sentence motion or a direct appeal.
Appellant filed a timely pro se PCRA petition on April 30, 2014, alleging ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The PCRA court appointed counsel, who filed a petition to withdraw and a Turner/Finley no-merit letter. The PCRA court, noting that it conducted an independent review of the record, granted counsel's motion to withdraw on March 27, 2015, and denied Appellant's PCRA petition on April 20, 2015. Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal. Both Appellant and the PCRA court complied with Pa.R.A.P. 1925.

         In his Rule 1925(b) statement, Appellant raised the following four issues, which we set forth verbatim:

a. Judge McCune erred when he failed to hold a Evidentiary Hearing to explore the fact that, Defendant never signed a copy of the plea agreement, and that he was never given the opportunity to call anyone to speak on his behalf at the sentencing proceedings, since he received absoutely no notice of the day he would be sentennced and as to why five months went by between the time defendant plead guilty until he was sentenced.
b. Defednant never had the opportunity to review all of his discovery, since when he did review a small portion of it, the Assistant Attorney Genreal and two Sheriff personal were in the same room, which ensured no private conversation with his attorney, Attorney Schults.
c. Defendant sent PCRA counsel, Attorney Harris, a letter explaining he never spoke to his Attorney Schults in private concerning discovery, statements, etc., that he did not understand his sentence, since he did not make a knowing and intellegent plea of guilt, due to the bad advice, Attorney Schultz, gave him to plead guilty; and that his statments were given to him without issueing him warnings pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, warnings, therefore, defendant did not know he could have counsel present.
d. Defendant has requested copies of the transcripts, and all discovery in this case nad has not received it, and is in no position to properly litigate this case to file his PCRA, to object to Counsel's no merit letter, this Court's Notice of Intent to Dismiss, or to properly file, this. Statement of ...

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