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Phillips v. D'Illio

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 6, 2015

LANCE PHILLIPS, Petitioner,
v.
STEPHEN D'ILLIO, et al., Respondents.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JEROME B. SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge.

Petitioner is proceeding pro se with a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket Entry 1).

1. Petitioner has submitted an application to proceed in forma pauperis, including a certified institutional account statement. Based on Petitioner's affidavit of indigency, his application shall be granted.

2. In 1994, Petitioner was sentenced by the New Jersey Superior Court, Law Division, Camden County to life imprisonment, plus forty years and a fifty-year parole disqualifier for purposeful or knowing murder, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 2C:11-3(a)(1)-(2); felony murder, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 2C:11-3(a)(3); attempted murder, N.J. STAT. ANN. §§ 2C:5-1, 11-3(a)(1); and other offenses. See State v. Phillips, 731 A.2d 101, 102-03 (N.J.Super. A.D. 1999).

3. On appeal, the Appellate Division reversed and remanded for a new trial. Id. at 109.

4. Petitioner was retried more than two years later, and was convicted of felony murder, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 2C:11-3(a)(3); robbery, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 2C:15-1; and aggravated assault, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 2C:12-1(b)(4). He was sentenced to life imprisonment with thirty years of parole ineligibility. State v. Phillips, 2008 WL 2435585, *1 (N.J.Super. A.D. June 18, 2008) (citing State v. Phillips, A-5660-01 (App. Div. Sept. 24, 2004) (unpublished)).

5. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on January 13, 2005. State v. Phillips, 866 A.2d 984 (N.J. 2005).

6. Petitioner filed a Petition for post-conviction relief ("PCR") in the Superior Court of New Jersey on September 22, 2006. (Docket Entry 1 ¶ 11(a)).

7. The trial court denied the PCR application, and the Appellate Division affirmed. State v. Phillips, 2008 WL 2435585, *1 (N.J.Super. A.D. June 18, 2008). The New Jersey Supreme Court granted certification and summarily remanded to the trial court for further hearings on Petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claims. State v. Phillips, 970 A.2d 1043 (N.J. 2009).

8. After conducting the hearings as mandated by the Supreme Court, the trial court again denied Petitioner's PCR application. The Appellate Division affirmed, State v. Phillips, 2014 WL 4428327 (N.J.Super. A.D. Sept. 10, 2014), and the Supreme Court denied certification, State v. Phillips, 110 A.3d 932 (N.J. 2015).

9. Petitioner filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on April 17, 2015. (Docket Entry 1).

10. Petitioner's habeas petition is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). AEDPA imposes a one-year period of limitation on a petitioner seeking to challenge his state conviction and sentence through a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). Under § 2244(d)(1), the limitation period runs 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;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant ...

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