MCKNIGHT v. CORBETT et al
ORDER THAT: THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION IS APPROVED AND ADOPTED; THE PETITIONER'S OBJECTIONS ARE OVERRULED; THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS IS DENIED; A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY SHALL NOT ISSUE. THE CLERK OF COURT SHALL MARK THIS CASE CLOSED FOR STATISTICAL PURPOSES, ETC.. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MARY A. MCLAUGHLIN ON 11/23/11. 11/23/11 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(fb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ANTHONY J. McKNIGHT
THOMAS CORBETT, et al.
AND NOW, this 23rd day of November, 2011, upon
consideration of the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Docket
No. 1), the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate
Judge David R. Strawbridge (Docket No. 16), and the petitioner’s
Objections to Magistrate Judge Strawbridge’s Report and
Recommendations (Docket No. 18), IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. The Report and Recommendation is APPROVED and
2. The petitioner’s objections are OVERRULED;
3. The Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is DENIED;
4. A certificate of appealability SHALL NOT issue, as
the petitioner has not made a substantial showing of the denial
of a constitutional right.
5. The Clerk of Court shall mark this case CLOSED for
The Court conducted an independent review of McKnight’s
petition for writ of habeas corpus, the respondent’s answer, the
petitioner’s response, Judge Strawbridge’s Report and
Recommendation, and the petitioner’s objections to the Report and
The Court notes that the petitioner’s objections
to Judge Strawbridge’s Report and Recommendation do not raise any
specific objection to Judge Strawbridge’s findings or legal
Rather, the objection restates many of the general
complaints raised in McKnight’s petition and his response to the
respondent’s answer to the petition, which Judge Strawbridge
The Court writes only with respect to a minor point
regarding the petitioner’s claim that the prosecutor engaged in
racial and gender-based discrimination during selection of the
jury, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment under Batson v.
Kentucky, 479 U.S. 79 (1986).
Judge Strawbridge concluded that
this claim was both unexhausted and procedurally defaulted.
Judge Strawbridge found that the petitioner failed to raise the
Batson claim in his “Statement of Matters Complained of on
Appeal” as required by Rule 1925(b) of the Pennsylvania Rule of
Appellate Procedure or in any of his three Post Conviction Relief
Act (“PCRA”) petitions.
Although the petitioner did raise the
Batson claim in his appeal from the denial of his PCRA petitions,
the Superior Court did not address the merits of the claim.
As a factual matter, an argument can be made that the
petitioner raised the Batson claim in his 1925(b) Statement,
albeit in reference to his complaints of ineffective assistance
See Petitioner’s 1925(b) Statement ¶ 2(b)(5),
(c)(10) [Petitioner’s Reply Br., Ex. P-17].
In addition, in his
first petition for post conviction relief, the petitioner says
“[the DA] struck the first three African-American female
prospective jurors because of their race and gender.”
Petition for Post Conviction Collateral Relief ¶¶ 12-27 [Reply
Br., Ex. P-1].
The Court does not need to resolve this factual matter
however, as the result on the merits is the same.
When an issue
is unexhausted but not addressed by the state court, the district
court analyzes the issue de novo.
Lark v. Sec’y Pa. Dept. of
Corrections, 645 F.3d 596, 618 (3d Cir. 2011).
conducted a de novo review of the petitioner’s Batson challenge
and concluded that the claim is without merit.
The Court adopts
Accordingly, the Court overrules petitioner’s
objections and approves and adopts the Report and Recommendation.
McKnight’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus is therefore
dismissed and denied.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Mary A. McLaughlin
MARY A. McLAUGHLIN, J.
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