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Crawley v. Pierce

United States District Court, D. Delaware

April 4, 2014

JARELL CRAWLEY, Petitioner,
v.
DAVID PIERCE, Warden, and JOSEPH R. BIDEN, III, Attorney General of the State of Delaware, Respondents.[1]

Jarell Crawley. Pro se petitioner.

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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SUE ROBINSON, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Petitioner Jarell Crawley ("petitioner) has filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (D.I. 3) Petitioner is an inmate in custody at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Wilmington, Delaware. For the reasons that follow, the court will dismiss his application.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On January 10, 2007, petitioner and Ryan Resop attempted to rob the Chelsea BP gas station and convenience store in New Castle, Delaware. (D.I. 13 at 1) Both men were wearing masks and gloves, and petitioner was carrying a BB gun. Petitioner pointed the gun at the clerk, Harminder Minhas, and Resop demanded money. While Minhas was backing away, petitioner shot him in the hand with the BB gun. Minhas retreated to an office, locked himself inside, and then shouted that he had called the police. Petitioner and Resop left without taking anything. Id.

Approximately fifteen minutes later, petitioner and Resop went into the Moores Lane Citgo and stole cigarettes and approximately $200 in cash. (D.I. 13 at 1-2) Both men were wearing masks but not gloves. (D.I. 15, Appellant's Op. Br. in Crawley v. State , No. 2, 2008, at 4) During the course of that robbery, petitioner shot the clerk in the eye and Resop punched him. (D.I. 13 at 1-2) The next day, the two men robbed Jay's Market in Newark, Delaware. Id. Both men were wearing masks. (D.I. 15, Appellant's Op. Br. in Crawley v. State , No. 2, 2008, at 4) The police apprehended petitioner and Resop after a high speed chase. (D.I. 13 at 1-2)

In March 2007, the New Castle County grand jury indicted petitioner on the following charges: first degree attempted robbery; three counts of wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony; two counts of second degree assault; three counts of second degree conspiracy; two counts of first degree robbery; disregarding a police officer's signal; no proof of insurance; aggressive driving; speeding; two counts of failure to signal; improper passing on right; and disregarding a light. (D.I. 13 at 2) Petitioner's Superior Court jury trial started in September, 2007. The State dismissed all of the traffic offenses except for the failure to obey an officer's signal charge. The jury convicted petitioner of all remaining charges. The Superior Court sentenced petitioner to a total of thirty-four years and sixty days of incarceration, suspended after twenty-one years and sixty days for decreasing levels of supervision. Id.

On May 5, 2009, the Delaware Supreme Court reversed petitioner's conviction for the second degree assault of Minhus during the Chelsea BP gas station incident because Minhus had not been injured. See Crawley v. State, 972 A.2d 311 (Table), 2009 WL 1204621 (Del. May 5, 2009). On remand, the Superior Court vacated petitioner's assault conviction and sentence, and reduced his sentence to thirty-two years and sixty days of imprisonment, suspended after nineteen years and sixty days for decreasing levels of supervision. Id.

In June 2009, petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61 motion") alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. (D.I. 13 at 3) Petitioner's defense counsel filed a Rule 61(g) affidavit responding to the ineffective assistance of counsel allegations. A Delaware Superior Court Commissioner issued a Report and Recommendation that the Rule 61 motion be denied. (D.I. 15, App. to State's Ans. Br. in Crawley v. State , No. 709, 2009, at B-8 to B-15) The Superior Court adopted the Report and Recommendation and denied the motion. Id. at B-16, B-17. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that decision. See Crawley v. State, 2 A.3d 73 (Table), 2010 WL 3036740 (Del. Aug. 4, 2010).

Petitioner timely filed a § 2254 application in this court. (D.I. 1) The State filed an answer, arguing that the court should deny the sole claim in the application for failing to satisfy § 2254(d). (D.I. 13)

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

If a state's highest court adjudicated a federal habeas claim on the merits, the federal court must review the claim under the deferential standard contained in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), federal habeas relief may only be granted if the state court's decision was "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, " or the state court's decision was an unreasonable determination of the facts based on the evidence adduced in the ...


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