United States District Court, D. Delaware
JAMES G. BROWN, Petitioner,
G.R. JOHNSON, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents.
G. Brown. Pro se Petitioner.
Gregory E. Smith, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware
Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Attorney for
U.S. District Judge.
before the Court is an Application for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254
("Petition") filed by Petitioner James G. Brown
("Petitioner"). (D.I. 1) The State filed an Answer
in opposition. (D.I. 8) For the reasons discussed, the Court
will deny the Petition.
pled guilty to first degree unlawful sexual intercourse in
March 1989. The Superior Court immediately sentenced him to
life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.
(D.I. 8 at 2) Since then, Petitioner has filed five
unsuccessful motions for post-conviction relief pursuant to
Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61
motion(s)"),  two unsuccessful federal habeas
petitions,  one unsuccessful application for
authorization to file a second or successive federal habeas
petition,  three unsuccessful state petitions
for a writ of habeas corpus,  one unsuccessful motion to
correct an illegal sentence,  and two unsuccessful applications
for release on parole.
November 26, 2014, Petitioner filed an application for
authorization file a successive habeas petition with the
Third Circuit. In an Order dated January 9, 2015, the Third
Circuit found that Petitioner did not require leave to raise
the claims in his third federal habeas petition, but it
indicated that the claims might not be cognizable. See In re
Brown, No. 14-4587, Order (3d Cir. Jan. 9, 2015). The Third
Circuit transferred Petitioner's Petition to the Court on
January 9, 2015.
Petition asserts four grounds for relief: (1) the Superior
court should not have accepted the State's untimely
response to Petitioner's motion for correction of an
illegal sentence; (2) the Superior Court should not have
denied Petitioner's motion for correction of an illegal
sentence for reasons not contained in the State's
untimely response; (3) the Board of Parole's failure to
hold a parole hearing until approximately three years after
Petitioner became eligible for parole breached the terms of
Petitioner's plea agreement; and (4) the Superior Court
abused its discretion in denying Petitioner's state
Claims One, Two and Four: Not Cognizable on Federal Habeas
federal court may consider a habeas petition filed by a state
prisoner only "on the ground that he is in custody of
the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United
States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Claims based on
errors of state law are not cognizable on federal habeas
review, and federal courts cannot re-examine state court
determinations of state law issues. See Mullaney v.
Wilbur, All U.S. 684, 691 (1975) ("State courts are
the ultimate expositors of state law."); Estelle v.
McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991) (holding that claims
based on errors of state law are not cognizable on habeas
review). Allegations of error in state collateral
proceedings, even when couched in terms of "Due Process,
" are not cognizable on federal habeas review, because
"the federal role in reviewing an application for habeas
corpus is limited to evaluating what occurred in the state .
. . proceeding that actually led to the petitioner's
conviction." Hassine v. Zimmerman, 160 F.3d
941, 954 (3d Cir. 1998) ("[W]hat occurred in die
petitioner's collateral proceeding does not enter in to
the habeas calculation.").
One, Two, and Four challenge the Superior Court's
decisions in Petitioner's collateral proceedings, and do
not challenge what happened in his original criminal
proceeding. Therefore, the Court will deny these three Claims
for failing to assert a proper basis for federal habeas
Claim Three, Petitioner asserts that the Board of
Parole's failure to provide him with a parole hearing
until "well beyond the 20 year term" allegedly
promised in the agreement violated the terms of the plea
agreement he made with the State. (D.I. at 20) The following