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Anthony Snowden v. State of New Jersey

August 31, 2011

ANTHONY SNOWDEN, PETITIONER,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Faith S. Hochberg

OPINION

HOCHBERG, District Judge:

Anthony Snowden, a prisoner incarcerated at Northern State Prison in Newark, New Jersey, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) challenging a judgment of conviction entered in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, on June 17, 2005. For the reasons expressed below, and because the Petition, as drafted and read in light of the electronically available state court decisions, shows that the claims are time barred, this Court will dismiss the Petition as untimely and deny a certificate of appealability.

However, because this Court cannot rule out the possibility that Petitioner might have valid grounds for statutory and/or equitable tolling of the instant Petition (which are not set forth in Petitioner's submissions), and he might wish to raise these grounds to show timeliness of his Petition, this Court will grant Petitioner 30 days to file a written statement which sets forth detailed tolling arguments not considered in this Opinion, or otherwise presents an argument that the Petition is not untimely. This Court will administratively terminate the case at this time for statistical purposes, but will retain jurisdiction over the Petition during this 30-day period and reopen the file to consider Petitioner's arguments in the event that he raises them within this period.

I. BACKGROUND

Petitioner challenges a judgment of conviction entered in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, on June 17, 2005, after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, unlawful possession of a rifle, possession of a rifle for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a bayonet, and possession of hollow point bullets. The Law Division imposed an aggregate sentence of 15 years in prison with an 85% period of parole ineligibility. See State v. Snowden, 2007 WL 1119339 (N.J. Super., App. Div., Apr. 17, 2007). Petitioner appealed, and on April 17, 2007, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, affirmed the conviction and sentence. Id. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on June 15, 2007. State v. Snowden, 192 N.J. 72 (2007) (table).

Petitioner asserts that he filed his first state petition for post-conviction relief on August 1, 2008. (Dkt. 4 at 3, ¶ 11(a)(3.) The Law Division denied the petition, and Petitioner appealed. On January 20, 2010, the Appellate Division affirmed the order denying post-conviction relief. See State v. Snowden, 2010 WL 173526 (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., Jan. 20, 2010). The New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on April 29, 2010. See State v. Snowden, 201 N.J. 499 (2010) (table).

Petitioner executed his original § 2254 Petition (Dkt. 1) on April 24, 2011. The Amended Petition raises four grounds:

Ground One: IMPERMIS[S]IBLY SUGGESTIVE IDENTIFICATION PROCESS CONDUCTED BY POLICE.

Ground Two: INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE BY THE COURT APPOINTED TRIAL COUNSEL.

Ground Three: MY DUE PROCESS RIGHT WAS VIOLATED BY THE POST-CONVICTION RELIEF COURT.

Ground Four: EXCESSIVE AND CRUEL SENTENCE WAS PASSED ON THE DEFENDANT AS AGAINST THE MORE LENIENT PROBATIONARY SENTENCE PASSED ON THE CO-DEFENDANT WHO COPPED OUT. THE DISPARITY WAS HUGE. (Dkt. 4 at 5, 7, 8, 10.)

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review "Habeas corpus petitions must meet heightened pleading requirements." McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994). Habeas Rule 2(c) requires a ยง 2254 petition to "specify all the grounds for relief available to the petitioner," "state the facts supporting each ground," "state the relief requested," be printed, typewritten, or ...


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