United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MATTHEW D. PRISET, Petitioner
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF PA, Respondent
February 23, 2017, the Court received and filed a petition
for a writ of habeas corpus submitted pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 signed by Petitioner Matthew D. Priset
(“Priset”). (Doc. No. 1.) Priset is incarcerated
at the State Correctional Institution at Waymart,
Pennsylvania (“SCI-Waymart”). (Id.) For
the reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss Priset's
is serving a term of life imprisonment imposed after he was
found guilty but mentally ill of inter alia,
first-degree murder. (Doc. No. 1); see also Commonwealth
v. Priset, Docket No. CP-59-CR-405-2011 (Tioga Cty.
C.C.P.); 1763 MDA 2012, 2013 WL 11254791
Super. Sept. 4, 2013). The Superior Court set forth the
background of the case as follows:
Between 2008 and 2011, [Priset] was hospitalized at various
times and hospitals for mental health treatment. Prior to his
hospitalizations, [Priset] had been the valedictorian of his
high school class, attended Princeton University on
scholarship, graduated with a degree in engineering, and had
no history of mental illness. He obtained employment at J.P.
Morgan in New York, when, in approximately 2008, he began to
experience symptoms of psychiatric illness. Following
repeated hospitalizations and the persistence of his mental
health problems, [Priset] returned to live with his parents
in Tioga County, Pennsylvania. [Priset] became acquainted
with the victim, Clinton Perry, through mutual friends in
Tioga County, and spent time in the victim's home on a
few occasions prior to the murder.
On January 25, 2011, at approximately 10:36 p.m., [Priset]
entered the basement of the victim's home and stabbed the
victim in the chest with a knife, killing him. The
victim's mother, Renee Perry, who was upstairs, heard the
victim scream and ran to the basement where she saw [Priset]
crouched on top of the victim. Mrs. Perry reached down to
pull [Priset] away, and heard [Priset] yell that the victim
was “a sadist”. In the ensuing commotion, Mrs.
Perry was thrown against a closet, and the victim was thrown
against a door. Mrs. Perry observed a large amount of blood
on the victim's shirt, and a knife on the floor. Mrs.
Perry retrieved an unloaded gun from the closet she had
fallen against, and pointed it at [Priset], instructing him
to get out. [Priset], however, pulled the gun from her hands
and ran away. [Priset] subsequently disposed of the gun near
a railroad. The victim died as a result of stab wounds to his
chest. Following an investigation, [Priset] was arrested and
charged with the aforementioned crimes.
On November 2, 2011, [Priset] filed a notice of his intent to
pursue an insanity defense. A non-jury trial commenced on
June 25, 2012, at the conclusion of which the trial court
rendered its guilty verdicts.
On August 20, 2012, following a sentencing hearing, the trial
court sentenced [Priset] to life imprisonment on the charge
of first-degree murder, with a recommendation that the
sentence be served in a facility that provides mental health
services. Additionally, the trial court sentenced [Priset] to
a concurrent sentence of 3-6 years for burglary, and a
concurrent 1-3 years for theft by unlawful taking.
Priset, 2013 WL 11254791, at *1.
corpus is an “‘extraordinary remedy' reserved
for defendants who were ‘grievously wronged' by the
criminal proceedings.” Dunn v. Colleran, 247
F.3d 450, 468 (3d Cir. 2001) (quoting Calderon v.
Coleman, 525 U.S. 414, 146 (1998)). The exercise of
restraint by a federal court in reviewing and granting habeas
relief is appropriate due to considerations of comity and
federalism. Engle v. Isaac, 456 U.S. 107, 128
(1982). “The States possess primary authority for
defining and enforcing the criminal law. In criminal trials
they also hold the initial responsibility for vindicating
constitutional rights. Federal intrusions into state criminal
trials frustrate both the States' sovereign power and
their good-faith attempts to honor constitutional law.”
Id. States also have a recognized interest in the
finality of convictions that have survived direct review
within the state court system. Brecht v. Abrahamson,
507 U.S. 619, 620 (1993).
district court may entertain an application for a writ of
habeas corpus filed by a person in state custody “only
on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws of the United States.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(a). If a claim presented in a § 2254
petition has been adjudicated on the merits in state court
proceedings, habeas relief cannot be granted unless:
the adjudication of the claim - (1) resulted in a decision
that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application
of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the
Supreme Court of the United States; or (2) resulted in a
decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of