JOHNSON-EL v. STATE OF INDIANA et al
ENTRY Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Denying Certificate of Appealability. (See Order.) Signed by Judge Larry J. McKinney on 12/29/2016. Copy sent to Petitioner via US Mail.(LDH)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
BRUCE D. JOHNSON-EL,
SUPERINTENDENT, New Castle
Case No. 1:16-cv-03417-LJM-DML
Entry Discussing Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus and Denying Certificate of Appealability
The petitioner shall have through January 20, 2017 in which to either pay the $5.00 filing fee
for this action or demonstrate his financial inability to do so.
The petitioner in this action for habeas corpus relief is confined at the New Castle Correctional
Facility. The Superintendent of that Facility is the petitioner’s custodian and as such is now substituted
as the respondent.
The petitioner seeks habeas relief based on two claims.
The first habeas claim is that the trial court committed error in the disposition of his petition
for post-conviction relief. This claim, however, is not cognizable here and is summarily
dismissed. Quince v. Crosby, 360 F.3d 1259, 1262 (11th Cir. 2004)(“[W]hile habeas relief is available to
address defects in a criminal defendant’s conviction and sentence, an alleged defect in a collateral
proceeding does not state a basis for habeas relief.”); see also Montgomery v. Meloy, 90 F.3d 1200, 1206
(7th Cir.)(“[u]nless state collateral review violates some independent constitutional right, such as the Equal
Protection Clause, . . . errors in state collateral review cannot form the basis for federal habeas corpus
relief”), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 907 (1996); Williams v. State, 640 F.2d 140, 143-44 (8th Cir.) (“Infirmities
in the state's post-conviction remedy procedure cannot serve as a basis for setting aside a valid original
conviction. . . . Errors or defects in the state post-conviction proceeding do not, ipso facto, render a prisoner's
detention unlawful or raise constitutional questions cognizable in habeas corpus proceedings.”), cert.
denied, 451 U.S. 990 (1981).
The second habeas claim is that the petitioner has newly discovered evidence suggesting
that he is innocent. This claim, however, does not support habeas corpus relief and is thus
summarily dismissed. “‘Claims of actual innocence based on newly discovered evidence’ are
never grounds for ‘federal habeas relief absent an independent constitutional violation.’” Fielder
v. Varner, 379 F.3d 113, 122 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390, 400 (1993)),
cert. denied, 543 U.S. 1067 (2005). “[T]he existence merely of newly discovered evidence
relevant to the guilt of a state prisoner is not a ground for relief on federal habeas corpus.” Herrera,
506 U.S. at 400.
“Federal courts are authorized to dismiss summarily any habeas petition that appears
legally insufficient on its face” McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994). For the reasons
explained above, that is the fate Johnson-El’s habeas petition meets. The petition shows on its face
that Johnson-El is not entitled to the relief he seeks and his petition is therefore dismissed.
Judgment consistent with this Entry shall now issue.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 22(b), Rule 11(a) of the Rules Governing
' 2254 Proceedings, and 28 U.S.C. ' 2253(c), the court finds that Johnson-El has failed to show
that reasonable jurists would find Ait debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the
denial of a constitutional right.@ Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). The court therefore
denies a certificate of appeal.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
LARRY J. McKINNEY, JUDGE
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
BRUCE D. JOHNSON-EL
NEW CASTLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels
1000 Van Nuys Road
NEW CASTLE, IN 47362
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