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Hoffman v. Johnson

United States District Court, Third Circuit

May 30, 2013

KEITH HOFFMAN, Petitioner,
v.
G.R. JOHNSON, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents.

Keith Hoffman. Pro se petitioner.

Gregory E. Smith, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for respondents.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SUE L. ROBINSON, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the court is Keith Homman's ("petitioner") application for a writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (D.I. 5) For the reasons that follow, the court will deny petitioner's § 2254 application.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On January 17, 2009, petitioner crashed his vehicle at the intersection of Seashore Highway and Coverdale Road in Bridgeville, Delaware. (D.I. 10 at 1) Delaware State Police Trooper Edward Joyce was dispatched to the scene of the crash. Petitioner told the officer that he was driving the vehicle when the crash occurred and that he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a metal guardrail. Petitioner further admitted that he had been using cocaine and drinking alcohol prior to the crash. The officer saw an open container of beer near the driver's side of the vehicle. Id.

Trooper Joyce noticed that petitioner appeared extremely impaired as he had a difficult time speaking, standing, walking and following directions. Id. He noticed that petitioner's eyes were glassy and his pupils were constricted. As a result of his observations, Trooper Joyce asked Hoffman to perform standard field sobriety tests; petitioner performed poorly on the tests. Id. at 1-2. Petitioner was given a breath test which recorded an initial reading of.038%. Petitioner was then arrested, charged with driving under the influence and other related motor vehicle offenses, and released on bail. Id. at 2.

On March 17, 2009, petitioner waived the indictment process and the State of Delaware filed an information charging him with the following offenses: driving a vehicle while under the influence; drinking while driving; failure to possess a motor vehicle registration; driving a vehicle while license is suspended or revoked; improper lane change; and failure to properly insure a motor vehicle. Id. at 2-3. On October 7, 2009, petitioner pled guilty to driving a vehicle while under the influence and the State entered a nolle prosequi on the remaining charges. The Superior Court sentenced petitioner to five years incarceration, suspended after six months, with the balance of the sentence suspended for one year of probation. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal. Id. at 3.

On April 23, 2010, Delaware State Police Trooper Douglas Reed was on duty in Bridgeville, Delaware. Id. at 2. Trooper Reed was parked on Mill Park Drive when he witnessed a vehicle, driven by petitioner, leave a private driveway at a high rate of speed. The vehicle traveled across Mill Park Drive and onto the shoulder of the roadway, nearly striking a pedestrian. The vehicle traveled back onto Mill Park Drive and continued down the road at a high rate of speed. Trooper Reed attempted to follow the vehicle to conduct a motor vehicle stop. Before the Trooper could stop the vehicle, petitioner lost control of his car while driving around a sharp corner, leaving the roadway and crashing into a tree. Id.

Petitioner told the Trooper that he lost control of his vehicle. Id. The Trooper detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from petitoner's breath as he spoke. Given the motor vehicle crash and odor of alcohol, Trooper Reed decided to conduct field sobriety checks. Petitioner failed all of the tests he was given. Petitioner was given and Intoxilyzer and his blood alcohol content registered at.159%. Petitioner was again arrested and charged with driving under the influence and other motor vehicle offenses. Id.

On June 6, 2010, as a result of his commission of these new offenses, the Superior Court found petitioner in violation of his probation (imposed for his 2009 plea) and sentenced him to four years in prison with no probation to follow. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal. Id. at 3.

On June 7, 2010, a Sussex County grand jury indicted petitioner for the following offenses: driving a vehicle under the influence; no valid license; and careless driving. On June 8, 2010, petitioner pled guilty to driving under the influence, 7th offense, and the Superior Court sentenced him to fifteen years of incarceration, suspended after serving five years and the KEY Program, for one year at a Level IV residential substance abuse program, followed by eighteen months at Level III probation. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal. Id.

On August 25, 2010, petitioner filed a motion to modify his June 8, 2010 sentence. The Superior Court denied the motion on September 2, 2010, and imposed ...


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