SPENCER v. TRITT et al
ORDER THAT THE COURT'S PREVIOUS ORDER (DOC. NO.7) IS VACATED. THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION IS APPROVED AND ADOPTED. THE PETITION IS DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE AND WITHOUT A HEARING. A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY SHALL NOT ISSUE. SIGNED BY HONORABLE LEGROME D. DAVIS ON 12/18/13. 12/19/13 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE PETITIONER AND E-MAILED. (jpd)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
SUPERINTENDENT TRITT, et al.,
AND NOW, this 18th day of December 2013, upon consideration of the Report and
Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Rueter (Doc. No. 6), this Court’s
previous Order approving and adopting the Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 7), and
Petitioner John Spencer’s Objections to the Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 8), and upon
careful and independent review of Petitioner’s Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of
Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (Doc. No. 1), it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
1. This Court’s previous Order approving and adopting the Report and Recommendation
(Doc. No. 7) is VACATED.
Under Local Civil Rule 72.1.IV(b), any party may object to a magistrate judge’s report
and recommendation “within fourteen (14) days after being served with a copy thereof.”
The Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) in this case was filed on October 30, 2013.
(R&R, Doc. No. 6.) Pursuant to the prison mailbox rule, John Spencer’s objections were
due in the prison mail system no earlier than November 13, 2013. Cf. Spencer v. Beard,
351 F. App’x 589, 590 (3d Cir. 2009) (per curiam) (finding that a prisoner filed timely
objections to the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation where the objections
were “dated one day before the deadline”). Spencer dated his objections November 11,
2013. (Pet’r’s Objs., Doc. No. 8.) We will therefore consider Spencer’s objections as
having been timely filed.
2. The Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 6) is APPROVED and ADOPTED.
The Court must make “a de novo determination of those portions of the report or
specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C.
In his objections, Spencer argues that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to
support his state-law convictions for various reasons. (Pet’r’s Objs. ¶¶ 1–6.) All of these
arguments must fail because “a state court’s interpretation of state law . . . binds a federal
court sitting in habeas corpus.” Bradshaw v. Richey, 546 U.S. 74, 76 (2005); see also Swarthout
v. Cooke, 131 S. Ct. 859, 861 (2011) (“We have stated many times that federal habeas corpus
relief does not lie for errors of state law.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).
Spencer was convicted of violating two Pennsylvania laws. (Pet’r’s Pet. Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, Doc. No. 1.) The Pennsylvania Superior Court has already reviewed Spencer’s
convictions, holding that “the inferences drawn by the trial court from the circumstantial
evidence supporting the convictions were reasonable, and evidence was presented to
satisfy each element of the crimes charged.” Commonwealth v. Spencer, No. 1266 EDA
2012, slip op. at 11 (Pa. Super. Ct. Jan. 15, 2013). The Superior Court’s decision is
binding on this Court.
Spencer’s habeas petition must be dismissed because he has not shown that he is “in
custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28
U.S.C. § 2254(a).
The Petition (Doc. No. 1) is DISMISSED with prejudice and without a hearing.
A certificate of appealability SHALL NOT issue.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Legrome D. Davis
Legrome D. Davis, J.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?