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Smith v. Metzger

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 22, 2019

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

          David Smith. Pro se Petitioner.

          Brian L. Arban, Deputy Attorney General of the Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Attorney for Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [2]

          CONNOLLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:

         Pending before the Court is Petitioner David Smith's ("Petitioner") Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (D.I. 1) The State filed a Motion for Leave to File a Motion to Dismiss (D.I. 7) simultaneously with the Motion to Dismiss (D.I. 7-1). The Court granted the State's Motion for Leave to File a Motion for Dismiss (D.I. 12), and provided Petitioner with an opportunity to respond. For the reasons discussed, the Court will grant the State's Motion to Dismiss and deny the Petition as barred by the limitations period prescribed in 28 U.S.C. § 2244.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The facts leading to Petitioner's arrest and conviction are as follows:

On April 22, 2013, Karen Trump ("Trump") contacted the New Castle County Police Department ("NNCPD") because her three year old daughter had disclosed that her uncle, [Petitioner], had pulled down her pants, bent her over her bed, and touched her butt. The victim told her mother that [Petitioner] then spread her butt apart and that it hurt her. The victim was interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center and again stated that [Petitioner] hurt her in her bedroom when he used his hands to pull her butt apart.
On May 1, 2003, New Castle County Detective Connie Jackson ("Detective Jackson") took [Petitioner] into custody and read him Miranda warnings. [Petitioner] waived his rights and agreed to speak to Detective Jackson. [Petitioner] admitted that he had pulled the victim's pants down and pulled her butt apart. [Petitioner] further discussed several other incidents including occasions where he was molested as a child, incidents when he was a child and engaged in sexual acts with other children, and other occasions when he was either a teenager or an adult and had molested several other children.
At the time of the incident, [Petitioner] was a registered sex offender and on probation from a 1996 conviction for Unlawful Sexual Intercourse in the Third Degree. As a result, Probation and Parole filed a Violation of Probation report alleging that [Petitioner] had violated the terms and conditions of his probation by committing a new sexual offense against a child and for having contact with a child under the age of eighteen.

State v. Smith, 2016 WL 3342578, at *2 (Del. Super. Ct. June 7, 2016). On June 16, 2003, Petitioner was indicted and charged with second degree rape and second degree unlawful sexual contact. Id. at *1. On September 10, 2003, Petitioner pled guilty to the lesser-included offense of third degree rape. Id. As part of his plea bargain, Petitioner also admitted that he violated his probation by committing a new sexual offense against a child. Id. On February 6, 2004, the Superior Court sentenced Petitioner to a total of 25 years and 6 months at Level V incarceration, suspended after 20 years and 6 months for decreasing levels of supervision. Id. Petitioner did not appeal.

         On May 5, 2004, Petitioner filed a motion for sentence reduction, which the Superior Court denied on June 16, 2004. (D.I. 13 at 2) Petitioner did not appeal that decision.

         Petitioner filed a pro se motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 ("Rule 61 motion") on October 17, 2013. The Superior Court denied that motion on June 7, 2016. See Smith, 2016 WL 3342578, at *8. Petitioner filed a notice of appeal, and the Delaware Supreme Court dismissed the appeal as untimely on July 27, 2016. See Smith v. State, 145 A.3d 429 (Table), 2016 WL 4097505, at *1 (Del. July 27, 2016).

         In May 2016, Petitioner filed the instant Petition asserting the following grounds for relief: (1) defense counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to file a direct appeal; (2) defense counsel provided ineffective assistance during the pre-plea and plea process by failing to provide documentation concerning Petitioner's psycho-forensic evaluation and determination that he was competent to enter a guilty plea; and (3) Petitioner did not voluntarily and knowingly enter his guilty plea because he was taking the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa during the pre-plea and plea process stages. (D.I. 1 at 3-5). The State asserts that the Petition should be dismissed for being time-barred. (D.I. 13)

         II. ONE-YEAR ...


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