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Sirmons v. Commonwealth

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

September 9, 2019

CHRISTOPHER LEE SIRMONS, JR., Petitioner,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al., Respondents

          MEMORANDUM

          KANE, JUDGE

         Before the Court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. No. 1) filed by pro se Petitioner Christopher Lee Sirmons, Jr. (“Petitioner”), who is currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution Greene in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (“SCI Greene”). Petitioner has also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 2.) For the following reasons, the Court will grant Petitioner leave to proceed in forma pauperis and summarily dismiss his § 2254 petition.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On November 6, 2015, following a jury trial, Petitioner was found guilty of two (2) counts of aggravated assault, in violation of 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2702, and two (2) counts of simple assault, in violation of 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2701. See Commonwealth v. Sirmons, CP-14-CR-0001770-2014 (C.C.P. Centre Cty.).[1] On December 17, 2015, Petitioner was sentenced to a minimum of two (2) years and a maximum of four (4) years for each count to run consecutively. See id. The trial court ordered that Petitioner's aggregate sentence run consecutively to the sentence Petitioner was then serving. See id. After the trial court denied Petitioner's post-sentence motions, Petitioner filed a notice of appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. See id.; see also Commonwealth v. Sirmons, 261 MDA 2016 (Pa. Super. Ct.). On appeal, Petitioner raised one issue: whether the trial court “erroneously refuse[d] to give [Petitioner's] requested point for charge number 16, an expanded definition of ‘impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.'” See Commonwealth v. Sirmons, No. 261 MDA 2016, 2016 WL 5884805, at *2 (Pa. Super. Ct. Sept. 9, 2016). On September 9, 2016, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed Petitioner's judgment of sentence. See id. Petitioner did not seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

         On August 29, 2016, Petitioner filed a Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”) petition with the Court of Common Pleas for Centre County. See Sirmons, CP-14-CR-0001770-2014. Counsel was appointed, and on January 6, 2017, the PCRA court directed counsel to file an amended PCRA petition. See id. Petitioner filed a pro se amended PCRA petition on August 14, 2017. See id. On July 30, 2018, counsel requested leave to withdraw from representation as well as a Turner/Finley[2] “no merit” brief. See id. On August 13, 2018, the PCRA court granted counsel's motion to withdraw and informed Petitioner of its intent to dismiss his PCRA petition. See id. On August 20, 2018, Petitioner filed a brief in response to the PCRA court's notice of intent to dismiss. See id. On September 21, 2018, the PCRA court dismissed Petitioner's PCRA petition. See id. Petitioner did not appeal this decision to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

         On April 10, 2019, Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to § 2254 with this Court. See Sirmons v. Gilmore, No. 1:19-cv-625, 2019 WL 3942973, at *1 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 21, 2019). In that petition, Petitioner raised the following grounds for relief:

1. Constitutional protection of the Sixth, Eighth, and Thirteenth Amendment[s]. PA. Rule 513(B), PA. Rule 544(B), PA Rule 551, PA Rule 120, PA Rule 132;
2. Constitutional protection of the Fourteenth, and Seventh, and Nin[]th, and Eleventh Amendment[s]. PA Rule 542(D)(E), PA rule 508(A)(1), PA Rule 3733, PA Rule 132(A3)(B)(C), PA Rule 117;
3. Constitutional protection of the Amendments (18 PA. C.S. Section 9183); and
4. Sufficiency of the evidence.

See id. at 2 (internal citations omitted). On August 21, 2019, the Court dismissed Petitioner's petition as unexhausted and procedurally defaulted. See id. at 3-5.

         On August 28, 2019, the Court received the instant § 2254 petition from Petitioner. In this petition, Petitioner again challenges his judgment of conviction from Centre County and raises the following claims for relief:

1. Following criminal prosec[u]tion. Constitutional protections of the [Fifth]. [Fourteenth], Seventh, Nin[]th, and Eleventh Amendment[s]. PA. Rule 542(1)(e), PA Rule 508(4)(1), PA Rule 513(B), PA Rule 3733 (Doc. No. 1 at 4);
2. The county and state no longer have jurisdiction over the case, only federal. Constitutional protections of the Sixth, the Eighth, and Thirteenth Amendment[s]. Following criminal prosec[u]tion. PA R 544(B), PA ...

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