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Washington v. Pierce

United States District Court, D. Delaware

February 22, 2016

LESHAWN WASHINGTON, Petitioner.
v.
DAVID PIERCE, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents.

          LeShawn Washington. Pro se Petitioner.

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

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner is an inmate in custody at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware. Petitioner filed an Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("Petition1'). (D.I. 1) The State filed a Motion for Leave to File a Motion to Dismiss the Petition as Time-Barred (D.I. 19), which the Court granted. (D.I. 22) For the reasons discussed, the Court will grant the State's Motion to Dismiss (D.I. 24) and will deny the Petition as barred by the limitations period prescribed in 28 U.S.C. § 2244.

         I. BACKGROUND

         As set forth by the Delaware Supreme Court in Petitioner's direct appeal:

In January, 2011, JoeQwell Coverdale, [Petitioner], and several friends went to First State Lanes, a bowling alley in New Castle County. Coverdale and one friend stayed in the parking lot smoking marijuana, while [Petitioner] and the others went into the bowling alley.
Sometime after [Petitioner] entered the bowling alley, Officer Jonathan Yard of the New Castle County Police Department, who was on patrol, decided to stop and go into the bowling alley. After Officer Yard arrived, he heard multiple gun shots fired inside the building. A great many screaming patrons began streaming out from the bowling alley. Six people were found wounded inside the bowling alley.
The record reflects that [Petitioner] was in possession of a handgun that evening. Later that evening, [Petitioner] said to Coverdale that he-[Petitioner]-had seen several people he "had a beef with" and "I think I got him, I think I hit one of them." Anthony Stanley, one of the shooting victims, was interviewed on videotape by Detective Stephen Legenstein ("Detective Legenstein"). Stanley told the Detective that he was in a dispute with [Petitioner], and this disagreement led to the shooting. Stanley identified [Petitioner] as the person who shot him, picking him out from a photo array. Stanley admitted he was shooting at [Petitioner] as well.
[Petitioner] was charged with four counts of Assault in the First Degree, two counts of Assault in the Second Degree, twelve counts of [Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony ("PFDCF")] and six counts of Reckless Endangering in the First Degree. Stanley was also charged with several crimes for his role in the shooting.

Washington v. State, 62 A.3d 1224 (Table), 2013 WL 961561, at *1 (Del. 2013). Petitioner was indicted on four counts of first degree assault, two counts of second degree assault, six counts of first degree reckless endangering, and thirteen counts of PFDCF. (D.I. 24 at 2) The State nolle prossed one of the firearm charges, and a Delaware Superior Court jury found Petitioner guilty of the remaining twenty-four charges. On June 8, 2012, the Superior Court sentenced Petitioner to a total of ninety-four years at Level V incarceration, suspended after fifty-six years, followed by probation. (D.I. 24 at 2) Petitioner appealed, and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and sentence on March 12, 2013. See Washington, 62 A.3d 1224 (Table), 2013 WL 961561, at *3.

         On March 12, 2014, while represented by counsel, Petitioner filed a motion for postconviction relief pursuant to Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61 motion"). (D.I. 20-7 at 2) The Superior Court denied the Rule 61 motion on August 29, 2014 (D.I. 19-2 at 18 Entry No. 60), and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that decision on November 13, 2014. See Washington v. State, 2015 WL 789794, at *4 (Del. Feb. 24, 2015). The Delaware Supreme Court issued its mandate on March 28, 2013. (D.I. 24 at 2)

         Petitioner filed the instant Petition in February 2016, asserting the following grounds for relief: (1) the trial court erred by admitting the § 3507 statement of JoeQwell Coverdale; (2) the indictment was multiplicitous; (3) Petitioner was denied his right to a public trial; (4) defense counsel provided ineffective assistance; and (5) the State engaged in prosecutorial misconduct by presenting perjured testimony. (D.I. 1) In response, the State filed a Motion for Leave to File a Motion to Dismiss the Petition (D.I. 19), which the Court granted. (D.I. 22) The Motion to Dismiss was docketed separately. (D.I. 24) Although provided with an opportunity to file an Answer to the State's Motion to Dismiss (D.I. 25), Petitioner did not do so.

         II. ONE YEAR ...


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