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Jenkins v. Tice

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

November 14, 2019

ERIC TICE, et al., Respondents



         Before 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 untimely.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         On September 14, 2011, Petitioner was charged with attempted rape-forcible compulsion, aggravated assault, and unlawful restraint/serious bodily injury. (Doc. No. 15-1 at 1.)[1] 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 attack.
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 could ejaculate.

(Doc. No. 15-5 at 1.) Attorney Lenora Smith appeared to represent Petitioner on these charges.

         Petitioner 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.[2] (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.)

         On 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.)

         On 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.)

         On June 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).

         B. Habeas Claims Presented

         Petitioner raises the following claims for relief in his amended § 2254 petition:

1. Trial counsel was ineffective when she failed to inform Petitioner about the mandatory minimum sentence applicable to the ...

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