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Williams v. Metzger

United States District Court, D. Delaware

January 3, 2019

DAVID M. WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
DANA METZGER, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents.

          David M. Williams. Pro se Petitioner.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          CONNOLLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:

         Pending before the Court is Petitioner David M. Williams' Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("Petition"). (D.I. 3) For the reasons discussed, the Court will summarily dismiss the Petition.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In October 1998, a Delaware state grand jury returned a superseding indictment (consolidating three indictments) charging Petitioner David M. Williams ("Petitioner") with fourteen offenses. See State v. Williams, 2000 WL 33726917, at *1 (Del. Super. Ct. Jul. 14, 2000). Four of the counts stemmed from Petitioner's arrest on March 25, 1998 for attempting to burglarize a residence in Wilmington, Delaware: two counts of attempted second degree burglary, one count of possession of burglar's tools, and one count of criminal mischief. On June 24, 1999, the Superior Court severed those four charges from the remaining charges, and a two-day jury trial ensued. However, the jury was unable to reach an unanimous verdict, and Petitioner was retried in August 1999. Petitioner represented himself during the second trial, and the court appointed stand-by counsel. The jury convicted Petitioner on all four offenses. Id.

         In October 1999, Petitioner pled guilty to three of the remaining charges contained in the superseding indictment: forgery in the second degree, attempted escape in the third degree, and possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited. See Williams v. State, 856 A.2d 1067 (Table), 2004 WL 1874693, at *1 (Del. Aug. 13, 2004). The State dismissed the remaining charges. The Superior Court declared Petitioner a habitual offender and sentenced him, on all convictions, to a total of 32 years and 30 days incarceration, suspended after 25 years for decreasing levels of supervision. Petitioner appealed his convictions and sentences, and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court's judgment. Id.

         Petitioner filed his first § 2254 petition in 2001, which the Honorable Gregory M. Sleet denied as procedurally barred. See Williams v. Snyder, 2003 WL 22480168 (D. Del. Oct. 23, 2003). In 2005, Petitioner filed a second habeas petition which contained challenges to a violation of probation charge as well as challenges to his 1999 conviction for second degree rape. Judge Sleet denied the repetitive claims regarding his 1999 conviction as second or successive, and the other claims for lack of factual support. See Williams v. Carroll, 2006 WL 2949303 (D. Del. Oct. 17, 2006). Petitioner filed a third habeas petition in 2009, which was denied as second or successive on November 16, 2009. See Williams v. Phelps, Civ. A. No. 9-570-GMS, Order (D. Del. Nov. 16, 2009). In 2012, Petitioner filed his fourth petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("petition"), which was denied as second or successive on July 31, 2013. See Williams v. Phelps, Civ. A. No. 12-1647-GMS, Mem. & Order (D. Del. July 31, 2013). Petitioner's fifth petition for habeas relief, filed in 2014, was denied as second or successive on December 29, 2015. See Williams v. Pierce, Civ. A. No. 14-1065-GMS, Mem. & Order (D. Del. Dec. 29, 2017).

         In addition to the aforementioned federal cases, Petitioner initiated numerous post-conviction proceedings in the Delaware state courts after his 1999 convictions. Most relevant for the purposes of this proceeding, in or around November 2017, Petitioner filed in the Delaware Superior Court a "Request for a Certificate of Eligibility to File Under 11 Del. C. § 4214(f) and Del. Super. Ct. Spec. R. 2017-1 (d)" (hereinafter referred to as "Request for Sentence Review"). (D.I. 3 at 4; D.I. 3-2 at 1-3); see also State v. Williams, I.D. No. 9803018202B, Order at 2 (Del. Super. Ct. June 8, 2018). In the Request for Sentence Review, Petitioner sought permission to file a petition seeking exercise of the Superior Court's jurisdiction to modify his sentence under the recently enacted 11 Del. C. § 4214(f).[2] See Williams, I.D. No. 9803018202B, Order at 2. The Superior Court denied the Request for Sentence Review on June 8, 2018. See Williams, I.D. No. 9803018202B, Order at 7. Additionally, in November 2017, Petitioner filed in the Superior Court a motion for credit for time-served, which the Superior Court denied on March 27, 2018. (D.I. 3 at 4) Petitioner's appeal is stayed in the Delaware Supreme Court. Id.

         In June 2018, Petitioner filed the petition for habeas corpus relief ("Petition") presently pending before the Court. (D.I. 3)

         II. APPLICABLE STANDARDS

         A federal district court may summarily dismiss a habeas petition "if it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief." Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases Under Section 2254, Rule 4, 28 U.S.C. foil. § 2254. A district court can entertain a habeas petition "in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States," and only if the relief sought is either immediate release or speedier release. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a); see Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973), overruled on other grounds by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 482 (1994)). In turn, a petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas relief unless he has exhausted state remedies for his habeas claims by "fairly presenting" the substance of the claims to the state's highest court, either on direct appeal or in a post-conviction proceeding, and in a procedural manner permitting the state courts to consider the claims on the merits. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A); Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365-66 (1995); Lambert v. Blackwell, 134 F.3d 506, 513 (3d Cir. 1997).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Petitioner appears to assert the following Claims:[3] (1) the Superior Court erred in denying his request to reduce his discretionary sentences via the application of earned good-time credits and in denying his request to withdraw/reduce his escape sentence because the escape statute was repealed (D.I. 3 at 5); (2) the Delaware public defender assigned to his case provided ineffective assistance and/or operated under a conflict of interest by refusing to file a request for sentence modification/reduction based on the repealed escape statute issue (D.I. 3 at 7); (3) the Delaware public defender assigned to his case provided ineffective assistance and/or operated under a conflict of interest by filing the "wrong 4214" on his case (D.I. 3 at 8-9); (4) the Delaware public defender assigned to his case provided ineffective assistance and/or operated under a conflict of interest by filing a response to the Superior Court with the wrong inmate's name on it (D.I. 3 at 10); (5) the Delaware Superior Court erred in denying his Request for Sentence Review; and (6) the public defender assigned to his case provided ineffective assistance during the Request for Sentence Review proceeding (D.I. 3 at 13-14).

         Having reviewed the face of the instant Petition, the Court concludes that summary dismissal is appropriate. In Claim One, Petitioner challenges the Superior Court's denial of the motion for credit for time served that he filed on March 27, 2018. (D.I. 3 at 2 ¶9, 4 at ¶8(b), 5, 11 ¶(d)(7), and 12 ¶¶13 & 15) Petitioner appears to argue that his conviction and/or sentence for escape should be withdrawn because the escape statute has been repealed, and also that his discretionary sentences should be reduced by applying his earned good-time credits. (D.I. 3 at 2 ¶9, 5, 11 ¶(d)(7), and 12 ¶¶13 & 15) However, Petitioner admits that his appeal of the Superior Court's decision is currently ...


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