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Young v. Metzger

United States District Court, D. Delaware

May 29, 2018

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

          Idris Young. Pro se petitioner.

          Maria Knoll. Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for respondents.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          SLEET, 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 Idris Young ("Young"). (D.I. 2) The State has filed a motion for leave to file a motion to dismiss the petition (D.I. 12) along with a motion to dismiss the petition for asserting an issue that is not cognizable on habeas review and also for being time-barred by the one-year limitations period prescribed in 28 U.S.C. § 2244 (D.I. 12-1). For the reasons that follow, the court will grant the State's motion for leave to file a motion to dismiss and its motion to dismiss the petition, and will dismiss the petition as time-barred.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On October 5, 2006, a Delaware Superior Court jury convicted Young of attempted first degree murder, second degree assault, and two counts of possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony. (D.I. 12 at 1) The Superior Court sentenced Young as an habitual offender to a total of fifty-five years of incarceration. Id. at 1-2. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed Young's convictions on direct appeal on August 22, 2008. See Young v. State, 957 A.2d 3 (Table), 2008 WL 3892792 (Del. Aug. 22, 2008).

         On August 17, 2008, Young filed his first motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61 motion"). The Superior Court denied the Rule 61 motion on April 19, 2011, (D.I. 16-8 at 10), and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that judgment on December 5, 2011. See Young v. State, 32 A.3d 989 (Table), 2011 WL 6039615 (Del. Dec. 5, 2011).

         On March 4, 2016, Young filed a second Rule 61 motion, which the Superior Court denied on August 12, 2016. See State v. Young, 2016 WL 10998978 (Del. Super. Ct. Aug. 12, 2016). Young filed a motion for re-argument, which the Superior Court denied on September 12, 2016. (D.I. 16-8 at 13) Young appealed, and the Delaware Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on December 5, 2016 due to Young's failure to diligently prosecute the appeal. See Young v. State, 152 A.3d 140 (Table), 2016 WL 7103409 (Del. Dec. 5, 2016).

         Young filed a habeas petition in this court on February 20, 2017, asserting one claim: the Superior Court violated his due process rights by sentencing him as an habitual offender because there was no substantial evidence proving the prior predicate convictions beyond a reasonable doubt. (D.I. 2) The State filed a motion for leave to file a motion to dismiss simultaneously with a motion to dismiss the petition as non-cognizable and/or time-barred. (D.I. 12; D.I. 12-1) Young filed a Brief in Opposition. (D.I 17)

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Cognizability

         It is well-established that "[s]tate courts are the ultimate expositors of state law, "[1] and claims based on errors of state law are not cognizable on habeas review. Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991). Thus, to the extent Young is arguing that the Superior Court misapplied the habitual statute and should not have declared him an habitual offender because of some typographical error in the conviction underlying the habitual offender status, the claim is not cognizable on federal habeas review. See Lewis v. Jeffers, 497 U.S. 764, 780 (1990)(holding that, "Federal habeas corpus relief does not lie for errors of state law."); Johnson v. Rosemeyer, 117 F .3d 104, 109 (3d Cir.l997)("[A] state court's misapplication of its own law does not [ ] raise a constitutional claim"); see also Mullaney, 421 U.S. at 691 ("Federal courts entertaining petitions for writs of habeas corpus are bound by the construction placed on a State's criminal statutes by the courts of that State").

         To the extent Young is arguing that his sentence was imposed in violation of the due process clause, the argument asserts a claim cognizable on federal habeas review. Nevertheless, for the reasons set forth below, the court concludes that the petition is time-barred.

         B. One-Year ...


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