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Sciacca v. MacFarland

August 7, 2006

ANTHONY SCIACCA, PETITIONER,
v.
KATHRYN MACFARLAND, ET. AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson, District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the Court on petitioner Anthony Sciacca's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For reasons discussed below, it appears from review of the state court record that the petition for habeas corpus relief is subject to dismissal as time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Petitioner, Anthony Sciacca ("Sciacca"), filed a petition for habeas corpus relief on or about March 4, 2005.*fn1 According to the allegations contained in his petition, Sciacca was convicted on January 17, 1997, and was sentenced to twenty-three years with ten years parole ineligibility for aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, second degree endangering the welfare of a child, third degree endangering the welfare of a child, and burglary. (R29).*fn2 He appealed his conviction and sentence to the New Jersey Appellate Division, and the conviction was affirmed on January 28, 1999. (R93-107). The New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on June 8, 1999. (R124). Sciacca did not file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court.

Sciacca also alleges that he filed a petition for post-conviction relief ("PCR") in state court, on or about September 1, 1999 (R127), which was denied on September 28, 2001. (R342). The Appellate Division affirmed the denial on October 15, 2003. (R418). Additionally, the New Jersey Supreme Court denied Sciacca's petition for certification on January 21, 2004. (R423). Sciacca claims that his state PCR petition tolled the limitations period under 28 U.S.C. 2244(d)(2). However, he did not file his federal habeas petition until March 5, 2005, after the limitations period expired on January 21, 2005.

Based on the record, this Court will issue an Order to Show Cause directing the parties to show cause in writing why Sciacca's petition should not be dismissed as time-barred.*fn3

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A pro se pleading is held to less stringent standards than more formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A pro se habeas petition and any supporting submissions must be construed liberally and with a measure of tolerance. See Royce v. Hahn, 151 F.3d 116, 118 (3d Cir. 1998); Lewis v. Attorney General, 878 F.2d 714, 721-22 (3d Cir. 1989); United States v. Brierley, 414 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 399 U.S. 912 (1970).

III. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ANALYSIS

The limitation period for a § 2254 habeas petition is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d), which provides in pertinent part:

(1) A 1-year period of limitations shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the latest of--

(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review; ...

(2) The time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of limitation under this section.

Section 2244(d) became effective on April 24, 1996 when the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") was signed into law. See Burns v. Morton, 134 F.3d 109, 111 (3d Cir. 1998); Duarte v. Herschberger, 947 F. Supp. 146, 147 (D.N.J. 1996). The Third Circuit has ruled that state prisoners whose convictions became final before the April 24, 1996 enactment of AEDPA are permitted one year, until April 23, 1997, in which to file a federal habeas petition under ยง 2254. See Burns, 134 F.3d at 111. See also Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 326-27 ...


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