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Mehl v. SCI Smithfield

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

September 10, 2019

RYAN ANDREW MEHL, Petitioner,
v.
SCI SMITHFIELD, Respondent

          MEMORANDUM

          SYLVIA H. RAMBO UNITED STATES DISTRICT 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 Ryan Andrew Mehl (“Petitioner”), who is currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution Smithfield in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania (“SCI Smithfield”). Petitioner has also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 4.) For the following reasons, the Court will grant Petitioner leave to proceed in forma pauperis and summarily dismiss his § 2254 petition.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In 2013, Petitioner was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a friend of his sister-in-law after the victim had passed out following a night of drinking. See Commonwealth v. Mehl, No. 793 MDA 2016, 2017 WL 1324099, at *1 (Pa. Super. Ct. Apr. 10, 2017). He was subsequently charged with rape of an unconscious person, sexual assault, and two (2) counts of indecent assault. Id. On January 24, 2014, following a jury trial in the Court of Common Pleas for York County, Petitioner was found guilty on one (1) count of sexual assault and two (2) counts of indecent assault. Id. On May 2, 2014, Petitioner was sentenced to a term of five (5) to ten (10) years of imprisonment for sexual assault, and a concurrent term of one (1) to two (2) years of imprisonment for indecent assault. Id. The trial court also imposed a consecutive period of two (2) years of probation for the second indecent assault conviction. Id. On February 23, 2015, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed Petitioner's judgment of sentence. See id.; see also Commonwealth v. Mehl, No. 877 MDA 2014, 120 A.3d 389 (Pa. Super. 2014). Petitioner did not seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

         On December 23, 2015, Petitioner filed a pro se Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”) petition with the Court of Common Pleas for York County, alleging that trial counsel had been ineffective for failing to file a pretrial suppress motion, failing to prepare for trial, and granting permission to the presiding judge to enter the jury room during deliberations. Mehl, 2017 WL 1324099, at *1. Subsequently, counsel was appointed, and counsel filed an amended PCRA petition on February 29, 2016. Id. The PCRA court denied Petitioner's PCRA petition on April 21, 2016. Id. On April 10, 2017, the Superior Court affirmed the PCRA court's denial of the PCRA petition. Id. On October 3, 2017, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania denied Petitioner's petition for allowance of appeal. Commonwealth v. Mel, 643 Pa. 100 (2017).

         On August 14, 2017, Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 with this Court. See Mehl v. SCI Forest, No. 1:17-cv-1437, 2018 WL 3973189, at *1 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 20, 2018). In that petition, Petitioner raised the following grounds for relief:

1. Whether the trial court erred when it denied Petitioner's pre-trial suppression motion to exclude statements made by Petitioner to the police;
2. Whether Petitioner's trial counsel was ineffective;
3. Whether Petitioner's Constitutional rights were violated because of prosecutorial misconduct; and
4. Whether Petitioner's Constitutional rights were violated when the trial judge entered the jury room during deliberation and engaged in ex parte communications with the jury.

See Id. at *2. On August 20, 2019, the Court denied Petitioner's petition, concluding that his third and fourth grounds for relief were procedurally defaulted and that his first and second grounds were meritless. Id. at *2-9. The Court subsequently denied Petitioner's motion for reconsideration. Mehl v. SCI Forest, No. 1:17-cv-1437, 2019 WL 1383572, at *1 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 27, 2019). Petitioner's appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit remains pending.

         On August 6, 2019, the Court received the instant § 2254 petition from Petitioner. In this petition, Petitioner again challenges his judgment of conviction from York County and raises the following claims for relief:

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

1. A fundamental miscarriage of justice occurred when evidence was obtained illegally and the prosecution ...

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