United States District Court, D. Delaware
Huffman. Pro se Petitioner.
Elizabeth R. McFarlan, Deputy Attorney General of the
Delaware Department of Justice Attorney for Respondents.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
pending before the Court is Petitioner Fred Huffman's
("Petitioner") Application for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254
("Petition"). (D.I. 1; D.I. 4; D.I. 8) The State
filed an Answer in opposition. (D.I. 17) For the reasons
discussed, the Court will dismiss the Petition.
sexually molested his stepdaughter from 1990, when she was
eight years old, until 1995, when she was thirteen years old.
(D.I. 17 at 1-2) The stepdaughter reported Petitioner's
assault to the police in November 2010. (D.I. 17 at 3) On
January 26, 2012, Petitioner pled guilty to one count of
second degree unlawful intercourse as a lesser included
offense of first degree unlawful intercourse. (D.I. 17 at I;
see also Huffman v. State, 116 A.3d 1243 (Table),
2015 WL 4094234, at *3 (Del. July 6, 2015)) The Superior
Court sentenced Petitioner on July 26, 2013 to twenty years
at Level V incarceration, with credit for twenty-nine days
served, suspended after ten years for the balance to be
served at Level IV incarceration or decreasing levels of
supervision. (D.I. 17 at 1) Petitioner was also required to
register as a Tier 3 sex offender. (Id.) He did not
file a direct appeal. (Id.)
2014, Petitioner filed a pro se motion for
post-conviction relief pursuant to Delaware Superior Court
Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61 motion"). See
Huffman, 2015 WL 4094234, at *1. The Superior Court
denied the Rule 61 motion on August 21, 2014, and the Supreme
Court affirmed that decision on July 6, 2015. Sec
Huffman, 2015 WL 4094234, at *4.
GOVERNING LEGAL PRINCIPLES
Exhaustion and Procedural Default
exceptional circumstances, a federal court cannot grant
habeas relief unless the petitioner has exhausted all means
of available relief under state law. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(b); O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S.
838, 842-44 (1999); Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270,
275 (1971). The 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
(ii) circumstances exist that render such process ineffective
to protect the rights of the applicant.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1).
exhaustion requirement is based on principles of comity,
requiring a petitioner to give "state courts one full
opportunity to resolve any constitutional issues by invoking
one complete round of the State's established appellate
review process." O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at
844-45; see also Werts v. Vaughn,228 F.3d 178, 192
(3d Cir. 2000). A petitioner satisfies the exhaustion
requirement by demonstrating that the habeas claims were
"fairly presented" to the state's highest
court, either on direct appeal or in a post-conviction
proceeding, in a procedural manner permitting the court ...