United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
WILLIAM S. JENKINS, Petitioner
ERIC TICE, et al., Respondents
H. RAMBO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Petitioner William S. Jenkins
(“Petitioner”)'s amended petition for a writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. No.
15.) The § 2254 petition has been fully briefed and is
ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, the Court
will dismiss Petitioner's amended § 2254 petition as
September 14, 2011, Petitioner was charged with attempted
rape-forcible compulsion, aggravated assault, and unlawful
restraint/serious bodily injury. (Doc. No. 15-1 at
These charges arose from an incident that occurred on
September 10, 2011. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania set
forth the background of the case as follows:
The victim in this matter, Veronica Daniels, before this
incident, had seen Appellant on prior occasions and talked to
him in a bar. After leaving a bar on September 10, 2011,
Appellant propositioned Ms. Daniels to engage in sex for
$40.00. Ms. Daniels had previous involvement with
prostitution. She initially agreed to have vaginal
intercourse with Appellant in exchange for $40.00.
Accordingly, Appellant and Ms. Daniels entered into an
alleyway by 1426 North Third Street in Harrisburg. The two
began to engage in sexual contact, but Appellant could not
sustain an erection and Ms. Daniels changed her mind. She
told Appellant multiple times to stop. She also pushed
Appellant away as he began to masturbate, but Appellant
grabbed her throat and slammed her into a brick wall. This
caused the victim to black out.
When the victim regained consciousness, Appellant was
attempting to remove her belt and she kicked him away. She
then heard a man ask what was going on and Appellant ceased
his assault. That individual, Todd Myers, was responding to a
work-related emergency to repair an air conditioner at 1426
North Third Street. According to Mr. Myers, he ordinarily
used the service entrance to the building but heard noises
behind a dumpster and believed he was interrupting
inappropriate behavior. Mr. Myers yelled for the people to
leave, and reported the matter to his director, John Foltz.
Mr. Foltz reviewed surveillance video of the incident and
contacted his supervisor. The police were then alerted to the
Detective John O'Connor viewed the surveillance recording
and ascertained the identity of the victim. He then travelled
to Ms. Daniels' residence. Ms. Daniels was apprehensive
at first and began to cry. Detective O'Connor informed
her that she was not in trouble. Ms. Daniels told Detective
O'Connor that she thought she was going to die, and that
her throat still hurt as a result of Appellant choking her.
She admitted that she had been a prostitute and initially
agreed to have sex with Appellant. After the incident, she
did not contact police, believing she would be blamed for the
matter based on her prior history of prostitution. Appellant
provided the police with his own statement in which he
indicated that the victim agreed to let him choke her so he
(Doc. No. 15-5 at 1.) Attorney Lenora Smith appeared to
represent Petitioner on these charges.
appeared before the Court of Common Pleas for Dauphin County,
Pennsylvania, for a jury trial beginning on December 5, 2012.
(Doc. No. 15-3 at 1.) On the first day of trial, Petitioner
was placed under oath “to review the plea deal that had
been offered and to ensure that he was knowingly and
voluntarily rejecting the offer.” (Id.) That
plea offer would have resulted in a sentence of eight (8) to
sixteen (16) years of incarceration. (Id.) Prior to
trial, the Commonwealth requested that Petitioner be charged
with the lesser-included offense of criminal attempt to
commit indecent assault. (Id.) At the conclusion of
the trial, the Commonwealth requested a jury instruction for
the offense of criminal attempt to commit indecent assault by
forcible compulsion. (Id.) Petitioner, through
counsel, requested a jury instruction on simple assault.
(Id.) The trial court granted both requests.
(Id.) On December 7, 2012, the jury found Petitioner
guilty of criminal attempt to commit indecent assault by
forcible compulsion and simple assault. (Doc. No. 15-2 at 3.)
On September 30, 2013, the trial court sentenced Petitioner
to an aggregate sentence of 25 to 50 years of incarceration.
(Id.) Petitioner subsequently filed a timely
post-trial motion, which the trial court denied on December
17, 2013. (Id. at 7.)
January 15, 2014, Petitioner appealed to the Superior Court
of Pennsylvania. (Id.) On appeal, Petitioner argued
that: (1) there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty
of criminal attempt to commit indecent assault by forcible
compulsion; (2) the jury's verdict was against the weight
of the evidence; and (3) his sentence for criminal attempt to
commit indecent assault by forcible compulsion was illegal
because he was never charged with such offense and was never
notified that a conviction on that charge would trigger a
sentence beyond the statutory maximum. (Doc. No. 15-5 at 2.)
On November 18, 2014, the Superior Court affirmed
Petitioner's judgment of sentence. (Id. at 1.)
November 18, 2015, Petitioner, through attorney Royce Morris,
filed a Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”)
petition in the Court of Common Pleas for Dauphin County.
(Doc. No. 15-4.) The PCRA court held an evidentiary hearing
on January 7, 2016. (Doc. No. 15-3 at 3.) On December 28,
2016, the PCRA court denied Petitioner's PCRA petition.
(Doc. No. 15-2 at 9.) On January 25, 2017, Petitioner,
through attorney Morris, appealed to the Superior Court.
(Id.) On December 28, 2017, the Superior Court
affirmed the denial of Petitioner's PCRA petition. (Doc.
No. 15-8.) On June 8, 2018, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
denied Petitioner's petition for allowance of appeal.
(Doc. No. 15-9 at 2.)
14, 2019, Petitioner filed a pro se § 2254
petition in this Court. (Doc. No. 1.) Shortly thereafter,
counsel petitioned for special admission to represent
Petitioner in the above-captioned action. (Doc. No. 4.) On
July 24, 2019, the Court approved counsel's petition.
(Doc. No. 5.) Counsel effected service of Petitioner's
petition on Respondents, and on August 16, 2019, Respondents
filed a partial answer, asserting that Petitioner's
§ 2254 petition is time-barred. (Doc. No. 10.) Three (3)
days later, Petitioner, through counsel, moved for leave to
file an amended § 2254 petition. (Doc. No. 11.) In an
Order dated September 4, 2019, the Court granted
Petitioner's motion and directed that Petitioner filed
his amended § 2254 petition within thirty (30) days.
(Doc. No. 14.) Petitioner did so on October 4, 2019. (Doc.
No. 15.) After receiving an extension of time (Doc. Nos. 16,
17), Respondents filed a supplemental response on October 28,
2019 (Doc. No. 18).
Habeas Claims Presented
raises the following claims for relief in his amended §
1. Trial counsel was ineffective when she failed to inform
Petitioner about the mandatory minimum sentence applicable to