JACKSON v. BURNS et al
ORDER THAT THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION IS ADOPTED AND APPROVED; THIS CASE, WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY ASSIGNED TO JUDGE GARDNER AND WAS TRANSFERRED TO THIS COURT ON JUNE 8, SHALL BE TAKEN OUT OF CIVIL SUSPENSE. PETITIONER'S OBJECTIONS TO THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ARE OVERRULED.. SIGNED BY HONORABLE GERALD A. MCHUGH ON 6/22/17. 6/23/17 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE PETITIONER, E-MAILED TO COUNSEL. (pr, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
DANIEL P. BURNS et al.,
This 22nd day of June, 2017, upon consideration of Petitioner’s Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus (Dkt. 1), the Government’s Response (Dkt. 15), the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate
Judge Strawbridge (Dkt. 30), Petitioner’s Objections to the Report and Recommendation (Dkt. 34) and
the Government’s Response to Petitioner’s Objections (Dkt. 39), it is hereby ORDERED that:
1. This case, which was originally assigned to Judge Gardner and was transferred to this Court on
June 8, shall be taken out of Civil Suspense.
2. Magistrate Judge Strawbridge’s thorough and reasoned Report and Recommendation is adopted
3. Petitioner’s objections to the Report and Recommendation are overruled. These objections largely
track the arguments in the original petition. However, for the first time Petitioner has submitted
statements made to the police by Terrance Freeman and Reggie Johnson. The Report and
Recommendation addressed petitioner’s claim that his trial attorney was ineffective for failing to
present these witnesses, but without the benefit of seeing these police statements. Putting aside the
timeliness of petitioner’s submission, the police statements of Freeman and Johnson do not
undermine Magistrate Judge Strawbridge’s rationale for recommending the denial of this claim.
Petitioner argues that Freeman’s and Johnson’s police statements corroborate his theory of
self-defense. Specifically, Petitioner notes that Freeman told police that he knew the victim, but
not Petitioner, to carry a gun. Petitioner fails to mention, however, that Johnson told police that the
victim never carried a gun. Moreover, contrary to petitioner’s version of events, both Johnson and
Freeman told police that the victim had no motive to harm Petitioner. Assuming Johnson and
Freeman provided testimony that was consistent with their police statements, the benefit to
Petitioner would have been minimal at best. I therefore cannot say that Petitioner’s counsel was
ineffective because he failed to call these witnesses to support Petitioner’s claim that he acted in
Petitioner also contends that Johnson’s and Freeman’s police statements undermine the
testimony of Tahera Cooper, the wife of the victim. Cooper testified that she overheard her
husband making arrangements to meet Petitioner on the tenth floor of his apartment building.
Johnson, by contrast, told police that the victim and Petitioner planned to meet on the ninth floor of
the building. And Freeman claimed in his police statement that Cooper told him that it was her
mother who overheard the victim agreeing to meet Petitioner. While Johnson’s and Freeman’s
accounts differ from Cooper’s testimony, the discrepancies are minor and concern peripheral
points. Johnson’s and Freeman’s testimony would not have changed the outcome of the trial; in
deciding not to call these witnesses, Petitioner’s counsel therefore acted within the bounds of
/s/ Gerald Austin McHugh
United States District Judge
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