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Dobbin v. Attorney General of PA

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

December 2, 2019

TOREY DOBBIN, Petitioner
v.
ATT GENERAL OF PA, Respondent

          MEMORANDUM

          MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner, Torey Dobbin, an inmate confined in the Federal Correctional Institution, Fairton, New Jersey, filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254. He attacks a conviction imposed by the Court of Common Pleas for Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1). Following careful consideration of the parties' submissions, and for the reasons discussed below, the Court will dismiss the petition as untimely under the statute of limitations, see 28 U.S.C. §2244(d).

         I. Background

         The following background has been extracted from the October 25, 2017 Opinion of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, affirming the PCRA Court's dismissal of Dobbin's PCRA petition as untimely. (Doc. 7-7 at 1-3).

         Torey Dobbin appeals from the December 28, 2016 order denying his petition for relief filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”).[1] After careful review, we affirm.

         The PCRA court summarized the relevant facts and procedural history of this case as follows:

[Appellant] pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement before th[e trial c]ourt on April 13, 1998. The guilty plea involved three criminal dockets [ (CP-22-CR- 3984-1997, CP-22-CR-3983-1997, and CP-22-CR-41-1998)] and [appellant] was subsequently sentenced to seven and one-half (7 ½) to twenty (20) years of imprisonment. On June 23, 1998, [appellant] was sentenced in Cumberland County on similar charges.[2]
Years later, [appellant] incurred new charges for robbery and was sentenced in federal court in September of 2014. In March of 2015, [appellant] received an enhanced sentence from the federal court due to his prior convictions from armed robbery and burglary in Dauphin County and Cumberland County. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed [appellant's] federal sentence on December 4, 2015.
[On May 20, 2015, appellant filed a pro se PCRA petition and Christopher Wilson, Esquire (“PCRA counsel”) was appointed to represent him on June 1, 2015.] On December 2[4], 2015, [PCRA counsel] filed a [supplemental] PCRA petition on [appellant's] behalf alleging that [appellant's] trial counsel, Brian Walk, Esquire [ (hereinafter, “trial counsel”) ], was ineffective for not seeking to have [appellant] sentenced on the same day in Dauphin County and Cumberland County to avoid future consequences in federal court.
PCRA court opinion, 12/28/16 at 1.
On May 10, 2016, the PCRA court conducted an evidentiary hearing on appellant's petition. Following the hearing, the PCRA court entered an order on December 28, 2016 denying appellant's petition. In the opinion accompanying its December 28, 2016 order, the PCRA court noted that it “questions the timeliness of [appellant's petition]” but elected to dispose of appellant's ineffectiveness claims on the merits. (See id. at 5 n.3). Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal on January 19, 2017. On January 26, 2017, the trial court ordered appellant to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal, in accordance with Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b), within 21 days. Appellant filed a timely Rule 1925(b) statement on February 6, 2017. Thereafter, on April 24, 2017, the trial court filed a one-page “memorandum statement in lieu of opinion” that indicated that it was relying on the reasoning set forth in its December 28, 2016 opinion.

         Appellant raises the following issues for our review:

1. Whether the PCRA Court erred by concluding that the plea counsel was not ineffective in [his] failure to coordinate sentences in two different counties in a way to avoid federal career offender status and in plea counsel's failure to advise [a]ppellant of the consequences of his plea and immediate sentencing?
2. Whether the PCRA Court erred by not vacating the robbery conviction on docket 3984 CR 1997 when no transcript exists of the plea, and when the evidence shows that the actual guilty ...

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