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Hayes v. Harry

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

August 13, 2019

ELIGAH HAYES, Petitioner,
v.
LAUREL HARRY; THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF THE COUNTY OF PHILADELPHIA; and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, Respondents.

         Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, ECF No. 1 --- Dismissed and Denied

         Report and Recommendation, ECF No. 11 -- Approved and Adopted

         Petitioner's Motion to Object to the Report and Recommendation, ECF No. 18 - Overruled

         Petitioner's Motions, ECF Nos. 19, 20 ---- Denied

          OPINION

          JOSEPH F. LEESON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Petitioner Eligah Hayes filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County for attempted murder, aggravated assault, robbery, and criminal conspiracy. United States Magistrate Judge Linda K. Caracappa prepared a Report and Recommendation (R&R) which recommends that Petitioner's petition be dismissed with prejudice as meritless. Petitioner has filed objections. After de novo review, this Court adopts the R&R in full as explained herein, overrules Petitioner's objections, and dismisses the habeas petition.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On October 16, 2008, Petitioner and two coconspirators approached Vernon Kulb III with guns drawn. When they reached Kulb, co-defendant Craig Woodard struck Kulb in the head with his gun. Woodard proceeded to go through Kulb's pockets while Petitioner held a gun in Kulb's face. Woodard then shot Kulb in the back and the three men fled. Following a joint jury trial with Woodward, on June 11, 2010, Petitioner was convicted of attempted murder, aggravated assault, robbery, and criminal conspiracy. See State Court Docket; Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County 10, CP-51-CR-0006331-2009. In July 2010, Petitioner was sentenced to a term of twenty to forty years of imprisonment. Id. at 11. Petitioner filed post-verdict motions and appealed his case through the Pennsylvania state court system. Id. at 11-13. This judgment became final on April 24, 2012.

         In July 2012, Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief, pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§ 9541-9551. See State Court Docket; Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County 13, CP-51-CR-0006331-2009. Petitioner filed an amended pro se petition for PCRA relief in January 2013. Id. Appointed PCRA counsel filed a second amended PCRA petition in July 2014. Id. at 14. The PCRA court gave notice of the court's intention to dismiss and the Petitioner filed a pro se response. Id. at 15. The response and petition were formally dismissed in June 2015. Id.

         Thereafter, Petitioner's PCRA counsel filed a notice of appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Id. On appeal to the Superior Court, Petitioner raised the following claims:

(1) Did the PCRA Court err in failing to find trial counsel ineffective for failing to present two additional alibi witnesses?
(2) Did the PCRA Court err in failing to find trial counsel ineffective for failing to present the same witnesses during sentencing?
(3) Did the PCRA Court err in failing to find trial counsel ineffective for failing to request DNA test of clothing found near the scene of the crime?

         Exhibit F, Pet'r's Br. on PCRA Appeal, ECF No. 9 (beginning on page 120). The Superior Court affirmed the PCRA court's dismissal on June 20, 2017. Commonwealth v. Hayes, 174 A.3d 85 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2017). The Petitioner filed a petition for allowance of appeal, but the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania denied this request on December 19, 2017. Commonwealth v. Hayes, 644 Pa. 357 (2017).

         Petitioner filed the instant pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus and request for an evidentiary hearing on January 16, 2018. In this petition, Petitioner raised the following claims:

(1) That trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present additional alibi witnesses.
(2) That PCRA counsel was ineffective for failing to argue trial counsel's ineffectiveness for not properly raising on direct appeal the inconsistency of the verdict at trial.
(3) That the trial court violated Petitioner's right under the Confrontation Clause of ...

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