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Benson v. Metzger

United States District Court, D. Delaware

September 30, 2019

EDWARD W. BENSON, III, Petitioner,
v.
DANA METZGER, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents.[1]

          Edward W. Benson III. Pro se Petitioner.

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

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Presently pending before the Court is Petitioner Edward W Benson, Ill's ("Petitioner") Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("Petition"). (D.I. 1) The State filed an Answer in opposition. (D.I. 13) For the reasons discussed, the Court will dismiss the Petition.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On June 9, 2014, Petitioner pled guilty to one count of first degree assault as a lesser-included offense of attempted first degree murder. (D.I. 13 at 2) The Superior Court immediately sentenced Petitioner to twenty-five years of Level V incarceration, suspended after four years and sis months for lesser levels of supervision. (D.I. 13 at 2) Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.

         On July 7, 2014, Petitioner filed a letter with the Superior Court complaining that his rights under Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") were being ignored and that he was being denied the opportunity to earn good time credit. (D.I. 13 at 2) On July 14, 2014, Petitioner filed a letter motion for sentence modification or reduction owing to, inter alia, alleged violations of the ADA and denial of an opportunity to reduce his sentence. He requested either modification of his sentence to home confinement or, alternatively, 145 days of good time credit. On September 23, 2014, the Superior Court denied the motion because Petitioner's medical condition had been considered at the time of sentencing and, in any event, his request was premature. The Superior Court found that Petitioner had not provided additional information warranting modification of his sentence. (D.I. 13 at 2; D.I. 16-5) Petitioner did not appeal that decision On January 20, 2015, Petitioner's surrogate tiled a letter with the Superior Court requesting relief because of Petitioner's medical condition and alleging denial of access to programs due to his medical condition. On January 22, 2015, die Superior Court declined to modify Petitioner's sentence. (D.I. 13 at 2-3; D.I. 16-7) Petitioner did not appeal that decision.

         On December 3, 2015, Petitioner's surrogate filed another letter with, the Superior Court, requesting relief under Rule 35 and alleging denial of good time credit, and further alleging that Petitioner was unable to attend classes due to a lack of transportation and other resources. On December 29, 2015, Petitioner filed a letter with the Superior Court asking to modify his sentence, alleging that the DOC denied him access to programs because of his disability in violation of the ADA. Petitioner and/or his surrogate filed supplemental letters in support of his motion on January 20, 2016, February 22, 2016, and March 7, 2016. (D.I. 13 at 3) On March 8, 2016, the Superior Court denied Petitioner's Rule 35 motion, finding that: 1) the request was untimely under Rule 35(b); 2) it was repetitive; 3) the Superior Court would not interfere with the discretion of the DOC to classify Petitioner; 4) Petitioner provided stale information in support of his application; and 5) there was no extraordinary circumstance warranting relief. (D.I. 13 at 4; D.I. 16-13) Petitioner did not appeal that decision.

         III. EXHAUSTION AND PROCEDURAL DEFAULT

         Absent 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. Bomkel, 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 process; or (ii) circumstances exist that render such process ineffective to ...

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