The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOSEPH IRENAS, District Judge
James P. Badger filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Respondents filed an Answer,
arguing, inter alia, that the Petition should be dismissed as
untimely and on the merits. Petitioner filed a Traverse. For the
reasons expressed below, the Court dismisses the Petition with
prejudice and declines to issue a certificate of appealability.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 2253(c), 2254(a), (b), (c). I. BACKGROUND
Petitioner challenges a judgment of conviction entered on
October 23, 1992, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law
Division, Cumberland County, after a jury convicted him of
purposeful or knowing murder, first degree robbery, third degree
possession of a weapon with a purpose to use it unlawfully, and
felony murder. The Court sentenced Petitioner to a 30-year term
of imprisonment, with a 30-year period of parole ineligibility,
and a consecutive term of 20 years, with a 10-year period of
Petitioner appealed, and by opinion filed June 29, 1994, the
Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey affirmed
the convictions and remanded for an evidentiary hearing on
Petitioner's motion for a new trial to explore contentions that a
co-defendant had recanted his testimony and that the prosecutor
violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by failing to
disclose leniency agreements with this co-defendant and with
other witnesses. See State v. Badger, N. A-1572-92T1 slip op.
(App.Div. June 29, 1994). After conducting an evidentiary
hearing, the Law Division denied Petitioner's motion for a new
trial on November 17, 1994. On June 11, 1996, the Appellate
Division affirmed. On October 2, 1996, the Supreme Court of New
Jersey denied certification.
In November 1996, Petitioner filed a petition for post
conviction relief in the Law Division. The Law Division denied
relief in a written opinion dated January 29, 1998. Petitioner
appealed and on June 12, 2000, the Appellate Division affirmed
the order denying post conviction relief. The New Jersey Supreme
Court denied certification on January 3, 2001. Petitioner executed the Petition which is now before the Court
on December 21, 2001, and the Clerk received it on January 4,
2002. The Court notified Petitioner of the consequences of filing
such a Petition under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act ("AEDPA") and gave him an opportunity to withdraw the
Petition and file one all-inclusive Petition, pursuant to Mason
v. Meyers, 208 F.3d 414 (3d Cir. 2000). The Petition presents
The State filed an Answer seeking dismissal of the Petition,
arguing that the Petition is untimely and that none of the
grounds asserted satisfies the standard for habeas relief.
Petitioner filed a Traverse and a Memorandum of Law.
A habeas corpus petition must meet "heightened pleading
requirements." McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994)
(citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 2(c)). The petition must specify
all the grounds for relief available to the petitioner, state the
facts supporting each ground, and state the relief requested.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 2(c)(1), (c)(2), (c)(3).
Section 2254(a) of Title 28 of the United States Code gives the
court jurisdiction to entertain a habeas petition challenging a
state conviction or sentence only where the inmate's custody
violates federal law:
[A] district court shall entertain an application for
a writ of habeas corpus 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
28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).
A district court must give deference to determinations of state
courts. Duncan v. Morton, 256 F.3d 189, 196 (3d Cir.), cert.
denied, 534 U.S. 919 (2001); Dickerson v. Vaughn, 90 F.3d 87, 90 (3d Cir. 1996). Federal courts "must presume that the factual
findings of both state trial and appellate courts are correct, a
presumption that can only be overcome on the basis of clear and
convincing evidence to the contrary." Stevens v. Delaware
Correctional Center, 295 F.3d 361, 368 (3d Cir. 2002). Where a
federal claim was "adjudicated on the merits"*fn1 in state
court proceedings, § 2254 does not permit habeas relief unless
adjudication of the claim
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or
involved an unreasonable application of, clearly
established Federal Law, as determined by the Supreme
Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an
unreasonable determination of the facts in light of
the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
A decision is "`contrary to' a Supreme Court holding if the
state court `contradicts the governing law set forth in [the
Supreme Court's] cases' or if it `confronts a set of facts that
are materially indistinguishable from a decision of th[e Supreme]
Court and nevertheless arrives at a [different] result."
Rompilla v. Horn, 355 F.3d 233, 250 (3d Cir. 2004) (quoting
Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000)).
Under the "`unreasonable application' clause, a federal habeas
court may grant the writ if the state court identifies the
correct governing legal principle from th[e Supreme] Court's
decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of
the prisoner's case." Williams, 529 U.S. at 413. Whether a state court's application of federal
law is "unreasonable" must be judged objectively; an application
may be incorrect, but still not unreasonable. Id. at 409-10.
A court begins the analysis by determining the relevant clearly
established law. See Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652,
___, 124 S.Ct. 2140, 2147 (2004). Clearly established law "refers
to the holdings, as opposed to the dicta, of [the Supreme
Court's] decisions as of the time of the relevant state-court
decision." Williams, 529 U.S. at 412; see also Lockyer v.
Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 71 (2003) (habeas court must determine
"the governing ...