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Allen v. Pierce

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 12, 2014

CALVIN L. ALLEN, Petitioner,
v.
DAVID PIERCE, Warden, and JOSEPH R. BIDEN, III, Attorney General of the State of Delaware, Respondents.

Calvin L. Allen. Pro Se Petitioner.

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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

LEONARD P. STARK, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is an Application For A Writ Of Habeas Corpus Pursuant To 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("Petition") filed by Petitioner Calvin L. Allen ("Petitioner"). (D.I. 1) For the reasons discussed, the Court will dismiss the Petition and deny the relief requested.

I. BACKGROUND

As set forth by the Delaware Supreme Court, the facts of Petitioner's case are as follows:

On November 20 and 28, 2007, and on February 5, 2008, John Bruzdowski, a crack cocaine addict and undercover police informant, conducted controlled cocaine buys from an individual named "Hos" at 20611 Coverdale Road in Bridgeville, Delaware. On each occasion, Detective Lance Skinner of the Delaware State Police, who also was working under cover, drove Bruzdowski to the Coverdale Road location to complete the transaction. Prior to each of the three purchases, Detective Skinner searched Bruzdowski for drugs and money and then provided him with the necessary cash for the purchase-$40, $30, and $40. After each purchase, Bruzdowski returned to Detective Skinner's vehicle and turned over the crack cocaine. Detective Skinner did not witness any of the drug transactions. Bruzdowski testified that he purchased the crack cocaine from "Hos" on all three occasions and identified "Hos" as the [Petitioner].

Allen v. State, 976 A.2d 170 (Table), 2009 WL 1658182, at *1 (Del. June 15, 2009).

On August 14, 2008, a Delaware Superior Court jury convicted Petitioner of three counts of delivery of cocaine. The Superior Court sentenced Petitioner as follows: (1) on the first cocaine delivery conviction, twelve years at Level V, suspended after four years for eighteen months at Level III; (2) on the second delivery conviction, ten years at Level V suspended after four years for two years at Level III; and (3) on the third delivery conviction, ten years at Level V suspended after three years for decreasing levels of work release and probation. Petitioner appealed, and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and sentences. See Allen, 2009 WL 1658182, at *3.

Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Delaware Superior Court Rule 61 ("Rule 61 motion") in June 2010. (D.I. 9 at 2) The Superior Court denied the Rule 61 motion without a hearing, and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that decision. See In re Allen, 2010 WL 8286752 (Del. Super. Ct. June 24, 2010); Allen v. State, 23 A.3d 864 (Table), 2011 WL 2463064 (Del. June 20, 2011).

Petitioner timely filed the instant Petition. The State filed an Answer, asserting that the Petition should be denied in its entirety.

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 ("AEDP A") "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 AEDP A, 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 federal habeas retrials' and to ensure that state-court convictions are given effect to the extent possible under law." Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 693 (2002); see also Woodford, 538 U.S. at 206.

B. Standard of Review

When a state's highest court has 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). A claim has been "adjudicated on the merits" for the purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) if the state court decision finally resolves the claim on the basis of its substance, rather ...


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