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PINDALE v. NUNN

February 25, 2003

JEFFREY TODD PINDALE, SR., PETITIONER,
V.
WILLIAM STANLEY NUNN, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jerome B. Simandle, District Judge

OPINION

Jeffery Todd Pindale, a prisoner confined at South Woods State Prison, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). When the Respondents filed their answer to this petition, they also filed 28 supporting exhibits, addressed in their answer, only one of which Petitioner claims to possess. Respondents have refused to make copies of these documents for service upon Petitioner. The main issue to be decided is whether the Respondents in a Section 2254 case, who are under the duty to attach relevant portions of the record to the answer and to serve the answer on the Petitioner, are also required to furnish a copy of the relevant record documents to the Petitioner. This Court, in an Order filed June 11, 2002, had directed the Respondents to serve Petitioner with a copy of the relevant record. In the present motion, the Respondents seek reconsideration of that Order.*fn1 For the following reasons, the Court reconsiders that Order and again finds that Respondents must serve Petitioner with copies of the record documents that were attached to the Answer and filed with the Clerk.

I. BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The Petitioner challenges a judgment of conviction filed March 30, 1992, and revised March 16, 1996, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Cumberland County, for three counts of aggravated manslaughter and two counts of fourth degree assault by auto, and imposing an aggregate sentence of 60 years, with a 30-year period of parole ineligibility. (Pet. ¶¶ 1-10; J. Conv. filed Feb. 28, 1992, attachm. Da-4 & Da-5 to Pet.; Resentencing Tr. of March 16, 1996, attachm. R20 to Answer; New Jersey v. Pindale, 279 N.J. Super. 123, 125 (App.Div. 1995).)*fn2

At his first trial, Pindale was convicted in Cumberland County of three counts of first degree aggravated manslaughter and two counts of fourth degree assault by auto that occurred on March 5, 1988, and sentenced to three consecutive 20-year terms, with a 10-year period of parole ineligibility on each aggravated manslaughter conviction, and two 18-month concurrent terms on the two assault by auto convictions. See New Jersey v. Pindale, 249 N.J. Super. 266, 272 (App.Div. 1991). Pindale appealed the convictions and sentence. (Pet. ¶ 9.) On February 28, 1991, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey affirmed the convictions for fourth degree assault by auto but vacated the sentences therefor, and reversed the convictions for aggravated manslaughter. Pindale, 249 N.J. Super. at 286-90. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied Pindale's Petition for Certification.

The prosecutor retried Pindale on three counts of aggravated manslaughter and three counts of death by auto, and on January 13, 1992, the jury found Pindale guilty on three counts of aggravated manslaughter. (Tr. of Jan. 13, 1992, attachm. R17 to Answer.) See New Jersey v. Pindale, 279 N.J. Super. 123, 124-26 (App.Div. 1995). The trial judge sentenced Pindale to three consecutive 25-year terms, with a 10-year period of parole ineligibility on each. (Sentencing Tr. of Feb. 28, 1992, attachm. R18 to Answer) Pindale, 279 N.J. Super. at 124-26. On Pindale's appeal, the Appellate Division affirmed the convictions, vacated the sentences under the Due Process Clause because they exceeded the sentences imposed after the first trial, and remanded for resentencing. Id. at 128-30. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied Pindale's Petition for Certification on June 7, 1995. (Order filed June 7, 1995, attachm. R6 to Answer.)

On March 16, 1995, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Cumberland County, resentenced Pindale to three consecutive 20-year terms, with a 10-year period of parole ineligibility on each aggravated manslaughter conviction. (Resentencing Tr. of March 16, 1995, attachm. R20 to Answer)

Pindale filed an application for post conviction relief which the trial court denied on July 11, 1997, without an evidentiary hearing. (Pet. ¶ 11; attachm. R21 & attachm. R7 at Da-36 to Answer.) The trial court denied Pindale's motion for reconsideration by Order filed September 15, 1997. (Order filed Sept. 15, 1997, attachm. R7 at Da-12 to Answer.) By Opinion filed January 21, 2000, the Appellate Division affirmed denial of the motion for reconsideration. (New Jersey v. Pindale, A-4537-97T4, slip op. (Superior Ct. of New Jersey, App. Div. Jan. 21, 2000), attachm. R9 to Answer) On April 3, 2001, the New Jersey Supreme Court denied Pindale's Petition for Certification. New Jersey v. Pindale, 168 N.J. 290 (2001) (table) (attachm. R12 to Answer.)

On March 15, 2002, the Clerk of this Court accepted for filing the instant Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. By Order entered April 1, 2002, the Court advised Pindale of the consequences of filing a § 2254 Petition under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, and gave him an opportunity to file one all-inclusive § 2254 petition. (Order entered April 1, 2002.) By response dated April 2, 2002, Pindale asked the Court to rule on his Petition "as is." (Response entered April 4, 2002.) By Order filed April 8, 2002, the Court ordered Respondents to file an answer accompanied by certified copies of the State court record. (Order entered April 10, 2002.)

On June 20, 2002, Respondents filed a Motion for reconsideration and to stay and vacate the Order entered June 11, 2002. On June 24, 2002, the Court stayed that Order pending disposition of the Respondents' Motion. On July 19, 2002, Petitioner filed a response opposing Respondents' Motion.

II. DISCUSSION

The State seeks an order vacating the Order entered June 11, 2002, directing it to serve on Petitioner the documents it attached to and filed with the Answer. First, the State contends that service of the documents filed with its Answer is not necessary and should not be required because Pindale already has them. This assertion is evidently inaccurate and therefore could not provide support for Respondents' failure to serve the documents. Pindale states in his response to the State's motion that he does not have 27 of the 28 documents filed with the Answer. (Petitioner's Response filed July 19, 2002.)

The Court's Order requiring service of the documents filed with the Answer accords with Rule 5 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases ("Habeas Rule 5") which sets forth the requirements for an answer in a ยง 2254 case. Habeas Rule 5 expressly requires a respondent to file an answer and to attach to and file with the answer certain documents from the ...


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