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Grimes v. Ricci

October 22, 2010


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


Petitioner Edward Grimes, a convicted state prisoner currently confined at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, New Jersey, has submitted a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his New Jersey state court conviction and sentence. For the reasons stated herein, the Petition will be dismissed as time-barred.


A. Statement of Facts

The facts of this case were recounted below and this Court, affording the state court's factual determinations the appropriate deference, see 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1), will simply reproduce the Appellate Division's factual recitation, as set forth in its June 11, 2007, unpublished Opinion on petitioner's appeal from denial of his second state court petition for post-conviction relief:

In June 1995, a jury convicted defendant of first-degree murder, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3; three counts of second-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1); third-degree possession of a knife for unlawful purposes, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d; and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a knife, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d. These convictions stemmed from defendant's brutal stabbing attacks on July 4, 1993, on each of four victims, one of which resulted in the death of an innocent man who had merely responded to his wife's pleas for help. All of the surviving victims were seriously injured. Defendant was sentenced on September 15, 1995 to an aggregate life term with forty-five years of parole ineligibility. (June 11, 2007 Appellate Division Opinion, at p. 2).

B. Procedural History

On December 15, 1993, the Union County Grand Jury returned Indictment No. 93-12-1562, charging petitioner, Edward Grimes ("Grimes"), with: murder, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3 (Count One); fourth degree unlawful possession of a weapon, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d (Count Two); third degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4d (Count Three); and three counts of second degree aggravated assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1)(Counts Four, Five and Six).*fn1

Grimes was tried before a jury and the Honorable Walter R. Barisonek, J.S.C., in mid-June 1995. The jury returned a verdict of guilty against Grimes on all counts on June 21, 1995. On September 15, 1995, Judge Barisonek merged Grimes' conviction on Count Three into Count One and sentenced Grimes to life imprisonment with a 30-year parole disqualifier on Count One (murder), three consecutive 10-year prison terms with a five-year parole disqualifier on Counts Four through Six (second degree aggravated assault), and a concurrent 18-month prison term, nine months with parole eligibility, on Count Two (unlawful possession of a weapon).

Grimes filed a notice of appeal from his conviction and sentence to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division on or about November 6, 1995. On September 17, 1997, Grimes submitted a motion requesting permission to file a pro se supplemental brief with the Appellate Division, which was denied on September 22, 1997. On September 30, 1997, the Appellate Division affirmed Grimes' conviction and sentence but remanded the case to trial court to amend the judgment of conviction to reflect the concurrent sentence on Count Two. There appears to be no record of the amended judgment of conviction. However, on October 14, 1997, Grimes filed a pro se motion before the Appellate Division seeking reconsideration of his appeal. The Appellate Division denied the motion for reconsideration on November 7, 1997.

On June 19, 1998, Grimes filed his first state petition for post-conviction relief ("PCR"). On May 19, 1999, a hearing was conducted on the state PCR petition before the trial judge, Judge Barisonek. Judge Barisonek denied the PCR petition on May 19, 1999. Grimes appealed this decision to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, which later affirmed denial of the PCR petition in an unpublished opinion filed on December 7, 2001. (Da308-Da311). Grimes filed a petition for certification with the Supreme Court of New Jersey. (Da312-Da313). The Supreme Court of New Jersey denied certification on April 29, 2002. (Da314).

Thereafter, on March 21, 2003, Grimes filed his second state PCR petition. (Da316-Da319). Hearings were conducted before Judge Barisonek on April 26, 2005 and May 24, 2005. In an Order entered on May 24, 2005, the second state PCR petition was denied. (Da463). Grimes appealed, and on June 11, 2007, the Appellate Division affirmed denial of the second PCR petition. The Supreme Court of New Jersey denied certification on September 26, 2007.

On or about September 12, 2007, Grimes filed his first federal habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his 1995 judgment of conviction. The matter was docketed, Grimes v. Ricci, Civil No. 07-4384 (KSH). On November 20, 2007, in response to the district court's Order entered on October 3, 2007, pursuant to Mason v. Meyers, 208 F.3d 414 (3d Cir. 2000), Grimes wrote to the court and asked that his federal habeas action be stayed while he pursues another state PCR application concerning his diminished capacity/ineffective assistance of counsel claim. (See Civil No. 07-4384 (KSH), docket entry no. 4, filed on November 26, 2007). On March 31, 2008, the Honorable Katharine S. Hayden, U.S.D.J., entered an Order closing the habeas action because Grimes had re-filed his habeas petition under another docket number in the Camden vicinage. On May 1, 2008, Grimes wrote to Judge Hayden inquiring about the March 31, 2008 Order closing his initial file, as he had not filed another action in the Camden vicinage. Having received no response, Grimes then filed the instant habeas action, which was received and entered on this docket, Civil No. 08-5027 (JLL), on October 9, 2008.

The State answered the petition, providing the relevant state court record, on December 15, 2008. Grimes has not filed a traverse or reply.


Grimes raises the following claims for habeas relief in his petition:

POINT I: Ineffective assistance of trial counsel in failing to adequately prepare for trial and present expert testimony ...

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