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Bridgers v. Pierce

United States District Court, D. Delaware

March 21, 2014

ANDRE BRIDGERS, Petitioner,
v.
DAVID PIERCE, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents.[1]

Andre Bridgers. Pro se petitioner.

Morgan T. Zurn, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for respondents.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GREGORY M. SLEET, Chief Judge.

Pending before the court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254 filed by petitioner Andre Bridgers ("Bridgers"). (D.I. 3) For the reasons discussed, the court will deny the petition.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

As summarized by the Delaware Superior Court, the facts leading to Bridger's arrest and conviction are as follows:

[In November 2006], [Keino Chrichlow and Bridgers] robbed a PNC bank by taking the bank's money from four employees at gunpoint. [Chrichlow and Bridgers] also threatened three other bank employees, Johnson, Gleason, and Kirk. Bridgers first approached Johnson, the branch manager, and told [the manager] that [he and Chrichlow] were robbing the bank and he forced Johnson into the vault. Gleason was the assistant branch manager. Bridgers forced Gleason to order her tellers to step back and away from their stations to facilitate the robbery.
As the robbery unfolded, [Defendant] Chrichlow confronted nine customers at gunpoint. Defendants did not take anything from them, but Chrichlow held the customers at bay in order to stifle their interfering. During the robbery, Bridgers also noticed Kirk sitting in Kirk's office. He ordered Kirk out and forced him across the bank to where Chrichlow was holding the customers.

State v. Bridgers, 988 A.2d 939, 940 (Del. Super. Ct. 2007).

Bridgers was arrested on November 15, 2006, and subsequently indicted on sixteen counts of first degree robbery, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, one count of second degree conspiracy, and one count of possession of a firearm by a person prohibited. The indictment also included separate robbery counts for the customers. In June 2007, a Delaware Superior Court jury convicted Bridgers of all charges. [d. at 940-41.

Bridgers filed a post-trial motion for judgment of acquittal on June 6, 2007. The motion was granted in part on the ground that Bridgers' threatening of bystanders at the robbery, from whom no property was stolen, comprised aggravated menacing instead of robbery. Id. at 944. The Delaware Superior Court also granted a new trial on Bridgers' holding two bank employees at gunpoint after finding that the jury instructions were too general. Id. at 944-45. In response, the State stipulated to finding Bridgers guilty of aggravated menacing with regard to the bank employees and preserved its rights on appeal; the case proceeded to sentencing. Id. at 945.

The Superior Court sentenced Bridgers on November 30, 2007, and then corrected the sentence on September 10, 2009 to the following: for one count of first degree robbery, twenty years at Level V suspended immediately for eighteen months at Level III; for each of the eleven counts of aggravated menacing, five years at Level V suspended immediately for eighteen months at Level III; for one more count of first degree robbery, five years at Level V; for each of the two counts of PFDCF, five years at Level V; for PDWBPP, eight years at Level V suspended after three years at Level V for eighteen months at Level III; and for second degree conspiracy, two years at Level V suspended for one year at Level III. (D.I 16 at 2)

The State appealed the decision on Bridgers' motion for judgment of acquittal, and Bridgers, through trial counsel, cross-appealed. See State v. Bridgers, 970 A.2d 257 (Table), 2009 WL 824536, at *1 n.8 (Del. 2009). Bridgers was represented by new counsel on appeal. Id. at *1. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court's decision on March 30, 2009. Id. at *2.

In March 2010, Bridgers filed a motion for post-conviction relief under Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61 motion"). The Superior Court denied the Rule 61 motion, and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that decision. See ...


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