United States District Court, D. New Jersey
C. CECCHI, U.S.D.J.
before the Court is the amended petition for a writ of habeas
corpus of Ashley Georges ("Petitioner") brought
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his state court
murder conviction. ECF No. 45. Respondents filed a response
to the petition (ECF No. 53), to which Petitioner replied
(ECF No. 55). Also before the Court are Petitioner's
motions seeking the appointment of counsel, an evidentiary
hearing, and further discovery. ECF Nos. 44, 46-47. For the
following reasons, the Court will dismiss Petitioner's
non-Brady claims as time-barred, deny the
Brady claim, deny Petitioner a certificate of
appealability, and deny his remaining motions as moot in
light of the dismissal of his petition.
this Court will dismiss the petition as time-barred, only a
brief recitation of the procedural history of this matter is
necessary for the purposes of this opinion. Following a jury
trial, Petitioner was found "guilty of purposeful or
knowing murder, in violation of [N.J. Stat. Ann. §] 2C:1
l-3a(1), (2); possession of a handgun without a permit, in
violation of [N.J. Stat. Ann. §] 2C:39-5b; and
possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, in violation
of [N.J. Stat. Ann. §] 2C:39-4a," for which he
ultimately received a sentence of life imprisonment with a
thirty year parole disqualifier. ECF No. 53-8 at 2-3.
Petitioner's judgment of conviction was entered on
February 8, 2002. ECF No. 53-5. Petitioner appealed, and the
Appellate Division affirmed his conviction and sentence by
way of an opinion issued on September 29, 2003. ECF No. 53-8.
The New Jersey Supreme Court thereafter denied
Petitioner's petition for certification on June 4, 2004.
ECF No. 53-9. Petitioner did not file a petition for
29, 2005, Petitioner filed a petition seeking post-conviction
relief in the state courts. ECF No. 53-10; see also
ECF No. 45 at 4. That petition was denied on August 28, 2007
and an order was filed on August 30, 2007. ECF No. 53-15. At
some later point in or around October 2007, Petitioner
submitted a request that the New Jersey public defender's
office file an appeal on his behalf. ECF No. 55-1. On October
31, 2007, the public defender's office responded to that
request in the form of a letter. Id. at 12. In that
letter, the public defender's office informed Petitioner
that a file had been opened on his case and that his matter
would be referred to an appellate attorney, but that the
office's "case load is overwhelming," and that
the process of gathering all of the necessary documents and
filing an appeal "may take several months."
Id. Several months later, on January 9, 2008,
public defender's office filed a notice of appeal on
Petitioner's behalf. Id. at 13; ECF No. 53-16.
The Appellate Division affirmed the denial of Post-Conviction
relief (PCR) in an opinion issued on July 9, 2010, and the
New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on November 4,
2010. ECF Nos. 53-20, 52-21, and 53-22. Petitioner thereafter
filed his initial habeas petition in this matter on December
1, 2010. ECF No. 1 at 52.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(a), the district court "shall
entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus on
behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a
State court only on the ground that he is in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States." The petitioner has the burden of
establishing his entitlement to relief for each claim
presented in his petition based upon the record that was
before the state court. See Eley v. Erickson, 712
F.3d 837, 846 (3d Cir. 2013); see also Parker v.
Matthews, 132 S.Ct. 2148, 2151 (2012). Under the
statute, as amended by the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2244 ("AEDPA"),
district courts are required to give great deference to the
determinations of the state trial and appellate courts.
See Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 772-73 (2010).
claim has been adjudicated on the merits by the state courts,
the district court shall not grant an application for a writ
of habeas corpus unless the state court adjudication
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal
law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)-(2). Federal law is clearly
established for the purposes of the statute where it is
clearly expressed in "only the holdings, as opposed to
the dicta" of the opinions of the United States Supreme
Court. See Woods v. Donald, 125 S.Ct. 1372, 1376
(2015). "When reviewing state criminal convictions on
collateral review, federal judges are required to afford
state courts due respect by overturning their decisions only
when there could be no reasonable dispute that they were
wrong." Id. Where a petitioner challenges an
allegedly erroneous factual determination of the state
courts, "a determination of a factual issue made by a
State court shall be presumed to be correct [and t]he
applicant shall have the burden of rebutting the presumption
of correctness by clear and convincing evidence." 28
U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).
All of Petitioner's non-Brady claims ...