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Hendricks v. Johnson

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 5, 2014

MICHAEL A. HENDRICKS, Petitioner,
v.
G.R. JOHNSON, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents

Page 407

Michael A. Hendricks, petitioner, Pro se.

Elizabeth R. McFarlan, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware, Counsel for respondents.

Page 408

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Sue L. Robinson, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the court is Michael A. Hendricks' (" petitioner" ) application for a writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (D.I. 1) For the reasons that follow, the court will dismiss petitioner's § 2254 application as time-barred by the one-year period of limitations prescribed in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).

II. BACKGROUND

In July 1998, petitioner was indicted on multiple charges of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, delivery of cocaine, and related drug offenses. (D.I. 12 at 1) A Delaware Superior Court jury trial commenced in October 2000. Id. The State rested its case on the second day of trial, and petitioner did not return to the courtroom after the luncheon recess. See Hendricks v. State, 871 A.2d 1118, 1121, (Del. 2005). The trial judge found that petitioner was voluntarily absent and the trial proceeded to closing arguments. Id. The jury convicted petitioner of three counts of delivery of cocaine, two counts of maintaining a vehicle for keeping a controlled substance, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and acquitted him of one count of maintaining a dwelling for keeping a controlled substance. Id.

Petitioner was arrested on a capias warrant on September 17, 2004. See Hendricks, 871 A.2d at 1121. In November 2004, the Superior Court sentenced him to sixty-three years of Level V incarceration, suspended after sixty years for one year of probation. The Delaware Supreme Court

Page 409

affirmed petitioner's convictions and sentence. Id.

Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 (" Rule 61 motion" ) on March 10, 2008. (D.I. 14, App. to State's Ans. Br. in Hendricks v. State, No.586,2010 at B-5) A Superior Court Commissioner issued a Report and Recommendation concluding that the Rule 61 motion should be denied as procedurally barred under Rule 61(i)(3) and (4). See Hendricks, 26 A.3d 214, 2011 WL 3273912, at *2. In March 2010, the Superior Court adopted the Recommendation and Report and denied petitioner's Rule 61 motion. Id. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that decision on July 29, 2011. See 26 A.3d 214, id. at *2.

Soon thereafter, petitioner filed a ยง 2254 application asserting two grounds for relief: (1) the prosecutor engaged in misconduct during the closing argument by mischaracterizing the reasonable doubt standard; and (2) defense counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to object to such prosecutorial misconduct. The State filed an answer, asserting that the application should be denied in its entirety as time-barred or, ...


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