SMITH v. GIROUX et al
ORDER THAT THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS 9 OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE DAVID R. STRAWBRIDGE IS APPROVED AND ADOPTED. PETITIONER'S OBJECTIONS 13 ARE OVERRULED. THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS 1 IS DENIED AND DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY SHALL NOT ISSUE. THE CLERK OF COURT SHALL MARK THIS CASE CLOSED. SIGNED BY HONORABLE EDUARDO C. ROBRENO ON 5/13/15. 5/14/15 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE, E-MAILED.(gs)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
NANCY A. GIROUX et al.,
O R D E R
AND NOW, this 13th day of May, 2015, upon review of
the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge
David R. Strawbridge (ECF No. 9) and Petitioner’s objections
thereto (ECF No. 13), it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
The Report and Recommendation is APPROVED and
Petitioner’s objections to the Report and
Recommendation are OVERRULED;2
The Court may refer an application for a writ of
habeas corpus to a United States Magistrate Judge for a report
and recommendation. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 10. A prisoner may
object to the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation
within fourteen days after being served with a copy thereof. See
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); E.D. Pa. R. 72.1(IV)(b). The Court must
then “make a de novo determination of those portions of the
report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to
which objection is made.” § 636(b)(1). The Court “may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” § 636(b)(1). The
Court has conducted a de novo review of those portions of
Magistrate Judge Strawbridge’s Report and Recommendation (“R&R”)
to which Petitioner objects.
Petitioner argues that the Philadelphia Court of
Common Pleas and the Pennsylvania Superior Court misapplied
clearly established federal law in denying his suppression
motion (and affirming that denial on appeal). Specifically,
Petitioner asserts that, based on alleged discrepancies in the
record, the arresting officers neither (1) had reasonable
suspicion to make the stop, nor (2) properly conducted a search
subsequent to his arrest. Pet’r’s Obj. 11-20. However, as
Magistrate Judge Strawbridge pointed out in the R&R, “[w]here
the State has provided an opportunity for full and fair
litigation of a Fourth Amendment claim, a state prisoner may not
be granted federal habeas corpus relief on the ground that
evidence obtained in an unconstitutional search or seizure was
introduced at his trial.” R&R 4 (quoting Stone v. Powell, 428
U.S. 465, 494 (1976)). The Third Circuit has interpreted
“opportunity for full and fair litigation” as “requir[ing] only
that no structural defect in the system prevents state courts
from hearing a petitioner’s Fourth Amendment claim.” R&R 4-5
(citing Marshall v. Hendricks, 307 F.3d 36, 82 (3d Cir. 2002)).
Notably, even “[a]n erroneous or summary resolution by a state
court of a Fourth Amendment claim does not overcome the bar.”
Marshall, 307 F.3d at 82.
Here, Petitioner unquestionably had a full and fair
opportunity to litigate his Fourth Amendment claim--in pretrial
motions, post-trial motions, and on appeal. Moreover, as
Magistrate Judge Strawbridge noted, “[t]he Superior Court
opinion demonstrates that that court considered the merits of
the claim, discussing and quoting at length from the testimony
offered at the suppression hearing and the reasoning behind the
denial of the suppression motion.” R&R 5. Nothing in the record
suggests that Petitioner’s ability to bring this claim was
abridged in any way. Cf., e.g., Boyd v. Mintz, 631 F.2d 247, 250
(3d Cir. 1980) (holding that the petitioner did not have a full
and fair opportunity to litigate where the public defender had
only one business day “to investigate [the petitioner’s]
indigency, accept him as a client, interview him again about the
crimes charged, investigate the validity of the search and
seizure issue, and prepare and file a motion to suppress”). In
addition, the state courts did not “fail to give at least
colorable application of the correct Fourth Amendment
constitutional standard.” Gilmore v. Marks, 799 F.2d 51, 57 (3d
Cir. 1986). In sum, neither the specific errors alleged by
Petitioner (listed above), nor his more summary arguments--that
the state courts “distort[ed] . . . facts, merg[ed] . . .
precedential cases to fit the altered procedural and factual
The Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No.
1) is DENIED and DISMISSED with prejudice;
A certificate of appealability shall not issue;
The Clerk of Court shall mark this case CLOSED.
And it is so ordered.
/s/ Eduardo C. Robreno
EDUARDO C. ROBRENO,
findings,” and misapplied “the law of the land,” Pet’r’s Obj.
21--are sufficient to overcome the Stone bar. Accordingly, the
Court will adopt the R&R and overrule Petitioner’s objections.
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