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Aruanno v. State

United States District Court, Third Circuit

October 8, 2013

JOSEPH ARUANNO, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Respondent.

JOSEPH ARUANNO, #363, Special Treatment Unit, Avenel, New Jersey, Petitioner Pro Se.

OPINION

WILLIAM J. MARTINI, District Judge.

Joseph Aruanno, a civilly committed sexually violent predator, filed a "Petition for Habeas Corpus/Notice of Appeal, " which challenges a New Jersey conviction. This Court will summarily dismiss the Petition and deny a certificate of appealability.

I. BACKGROUND

In 1997, a New Jersey grand jury indicted Mr. Aruanno for second-degree sexual assault and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. See Aruanno v. Sherrer, 277 F.Appx. 155, 156 (3d Cir. 2008). A jury found him guilty of second-degree sexual assault, and on February 5, 1999, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, sentenced him to 10 years in prison and community supervision for life as a sex offender, pursuant to N.J. STAT. ANN. § 2C:43-6.4. Id .; see also State v. Aruanno, 2012 WL 1948670 at *1 (N.J.Super. Ct., App. Div., May 31, 2012, certif. denied, 212 N.J. 455 (2012) (table) (No. 071002). Aruanno appealed his conviction. On October 9, 2001, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey affirmed the conviction and sentence, but remanded to the trial court to vacate one of the assessments. See State v. Aruanno, 2012 WL 1948670 at *1. By order filed on February 14, 2002, the New Jersey Supreme Court denied Aruanno's petition for certification. See State v. Aruanno, 171 N.J. 338 (table); Aruanno v. Sherrer, 277 F.Appx. at 156. "Aruanno's sexual assault conviction thus became final for federal habeas filing purposes on May 16, 2002, or 91 days after the state supreme court denied review of his direct appeal." Aruanno, 277 F.Appx. at 156.

This Court received Aruanno's first § 2254 petition challenging the 1999 sexual assault conviction on May 20, 2002. See Aruanno, 277 F.Appx. at 156. This first § 2254 petition raised nine claims. On December 27, 2005, Chief Judge Simandle dismissed eight claims on the merits, found that the ineffective assistance of counsel claim was procedurally defaulted, and denied a certificate of appealability.[1] Id. The Third Circuit granted a certificate of appealability with regard to the question of whether Chief Judge Simandle should have dismissed the petition as a mixed petition containing exhausted and unexhausted claims, or stayed the case pending the exhaustion of the unexhausted claims in the New Jersey state courts. Id. at 157. The Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the petition on the merits, finding that this Court "did not abuse its discretion in denying Aruanno's mixed habeas petition outright instead of granting a stay-and-abeyance or dismissing the petition without prejudice." Id. at 158.

In the meantime, on September 5, 2003 (more than a year after Aruanno's direct appeal became final, and a year after the filing of his first § 2254 petition), Aruanno filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the Law Division for the same 1999 sexual assault conviction. See State v. Aruanno, 2012 WL 1948670 at *1; Aruanno, 277 F.Appx. at 156. The Law Division denied relief on May 3, 2007, Aruanno appealed, and the Appellate Division remanded for an evidentiary hearing. See State v. Aruanno, 2012 WL 1948670 at *1. On remand, the Law Division conducted an evidentiary hearing, and on November 30, 2009, denied the PCR petition on the merits. Id. Aruanno appealed, and on May 31, 2012, the Appellate Division affirmed, substantially for the reasons explained by the Law Division. Id. at *2. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on November 16, 2012. See State v. Aruanno, 212 N.J. 455 (table) (No. 071002).

On September 16, 2013, the Clerk of this Court received a letter from Mr. Aruanno dated September 1, 2013, together with a two-page document dated December 13, 2012, which Aruanno labeled "Petition for Habeas Corpus/Notice of Appeal, " and a copy of the New Jersey Supreme Court's November 16, 2012, order (No. 071002) denying certification of the Appellate Division's decision affirming the denial of Aruanno's PCR petition.[2] The habeas petition, which is not on the form required by Local Civil Rule 81.2(a), is set forth in full below:

Please accept this petition in lieu of a more formal petition in reply to the copy of the attached decision from the Supreme Court of New Jersey, Docket No. 071002, dated NOV 16, 2012, which denied a PETITION FOR CERTIFICATION I had submitted in reply to a Post Conviction Relief Petition I had submitted and a REMAND for a conviction for a crime I clearly did not commit.
With this petition I am addressing many violation[s] of the U.S. Constitution[, ] such as a flawed identification where the alleged victim told them many times it was not me but police reports and other [s] hide from that fact[, i]nstead relying on suggestive and misleading statements by the police.
This case shows a jury that decided to find me guilty BEFORE the trial if it was a crime against a child, as they admitted.
This case also includes a fabricated confession since they had basically nothing to make a case on.
And a court which refused to allow me to file motions, etc., regarding these issues, subpoena witnesses, etc., which resulted in the REMAND where the state[] courts refuse to admit their mistakes at this point ...

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