Juanita Lamb. Pro se petitioner.
Elizabeth R. McFarlan, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for respondents.
GREGORY M. SLEET, District Judge.
Pending before the court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed by petitioner Juanita Lamb ("Lamb"). (D.I. 1) Lamb was confined in the Delores J. Baylor Women's Correctional Institution in New Castle, Delaware when she filed her petition. For the reasons discussed, the court will deny the petition.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
As set forth by the Delaware Superior Court in its decision denying her Rule 61 postconviction proceeding, Lamb's arrest and conviction stemmed from
her scam in which she would target elderly women in an effort to scam money from them. The three victims in this case, Janet Johnson, Anne Krier, and Agnes Brown, ages 72, 87, and 76, respectively, were all elderly women. Each victim was alone at the time she was approached by [Lamb]. All three victims were approached by a well-spoken, professionally well-dressed woman as she was entering or exiting her automobile. All three victims were approached in a parking lot of a shopping center. [Lamb] approached each of the victims with a wallet or some type of bag containing money. Each time [Lamb] claimed to have just found the money, suggested that she and the victim count the money together, try to determine who the money belonged to, and attempt to return it, implying that there may also be something in it for them. If the scam was able to progress, as it did in two of the incidents, [Lamb] called a male conspirator on a cell phone that assisted in furthering the execution of the scam.
State v. Lamb, 2010 WL 3103393, at *1 (Del. Super. Ct. May 18, 2010).
Lamb was indicted and charged with two counts of felony theft, four counts of attempted felony theft, and four counts of second degree conspiracy. (D.I. 12 at) In August 2008, a Delaware Superior Court jury convicted Lamb of felony theft, two counts of attempted felony theft, and two counts of second degree conspiracy. Id. at 2. The Superior Court sentenced Lamb to an aggregate of eleven years of incarceration, suspended after fifty-four months for a period of probation. Id. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed Lamb's convictions and sentence on direct appeal. See Lamb v. State, 970 A.2d 257 (Table), 2009 WL 685166 (Del. Mar. 17, 2009).
In February 2009, while her direct appeal was still pending, Lamb filed a pro se motion for post-conviction relief under Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61 motion"). (DI 12 at 2) The Superior Court held the Rule 61 motion in abeyance until June 12, 2009. In July 2009, represented by counsel, Lamb filed a successor Rule 61 motion. Id. The Superior Court denied Lamb's Rule 61 motion on August 31, 2010, see Lamb, 2010 WL 3103393, at *15, and she did not appeal that decision.
II. GOVERNING LEGAL PRINCIPLES
A. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
Congress enacted the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") "to reduce delays in the execution of state and federal criminal sentences... and to further the principles of comity, finality, and federalism." Woodford v. Garceau, 538 U.S. 202, 206 (2003). Pursuant to AEDPA, a federal court may consider a habeas petition filed by a state prisoner only "on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). AEDPA imposes procedural requirements and standards for analyzing the merits of a habeas petition in order to "prevent ...