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Miller v. Metzger

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 29, 2017

MALIK MILLER, Petitioner,
v.
DANA METZGER, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents.[1]

          Malik Miller. Pro se petitioner.

          Elizabeth R. McFarlan, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Sleet, District Judge

         Pending before the court is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed by petitioner Malik X. Miller ("Miller"). (D.I. 1; D.I. 6) For the reasons discussed, the court will deny the petition.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In June 2009, Miller pled guilty to one count of first degree assault. See Miller v. State, 47 A.3d 972 (Table), 2012 WL 2580186, at *1 (Del. July 3, 2012). The Delaware Superior Court sentenced him to a total period of twenty-five years at Level V incarceration, suspended after serving three years for twenty-two years at Level IV work release, suspended after serving eight months at work release for twenty-one years and four months at Level IV home confinement, suspended after serving six months for eighteen months at Level III probation. Id. Miller did not appeal his conviction or sentence.

         In November 2011, Miller was charged with violating his probation after becoming involved in a fight at the Level IV Plummer Center. See Miller, 2012 WL 2580186, at *1. Miller admitted the violation at his violation of probation ("VOP') hearing, and the Superior Court sentenced him to six months at Level V incarceration or VOP Center and, upon completion, a restart of the Level IV portion of his original sentence. Id. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that judgment on appeal. Id.

         In November 2012, Miller was charged with his second VOP for failing to report to his probation officer and for possessing drugs and a firearm. See Miller v. State, 69 A.3d 371 (Table), 2013 WL 3488268, at *1 (Del. July 8, 2013). Following a VOP hearing, the Superior Court found that Miller had violated his probation, and sentenced him to twenty-two years at Level V incarceration, suspended after serving eight years in prison for eighteen months at Level II probation. Id. Miller appealed, and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court's adjudication of Miller's second VOP and sentence on July 8, 2013. Id. at *2.

         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 ("AEDPA") "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 AEDPA, 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).

         B. Exhaustion and Procedural Default

         Absent exceptional circumstances, a federal court cannot grant habeas relief unless the petitioner has exhausted all means of available relief under state law. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b); O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842-44 (1999); Picardv. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275 (1971). AEDPA states, in pertinent part:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted unless it appears that -
(A) the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State; or
(B)(i) there is an absence of available State corrective process; or
(ii) circumstances exist that render such process ineffective to protect the ...

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