O'NEILL v. THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF THE COUNTY OF PHILADELPHIA et al
ORDER THAT THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION IS APPROVED AND ADOPTED; MR. O'NEILL'S OBJECTIONS ARE OVERRULED; THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS (DOC. NO. 1) IS DENIED. THERE IS NO PROBABLE CAUSE TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY; TH E MOTION FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS (DOC. NO. 31) IS DENIED. THE CLERK OF COURT SHALL MARK THIS CASE CLOSED FOR ALL PURPOSES, INCLUDING STATISTICS.. SIGNED BY HONORABLE GENE E.K. PRATTER ON 9/29/17. 9/29/17 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
JOHN W. O’NEILL,
THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF THE
COUNTY OF PHILADELPHIA et al.,
AND NOW, this 28th day of September 2017, having considered the Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus filed by Petitioner John W. O’Neill (Doc. No. 1), the Response in Opposition to
the Petition (Doc. No. 22), the Petitioner’s Reply (Doc. No. 25), U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard
A. Lloret’s Report & Recommendations (“R&R,” Doc. No. 26), Petitioner John W. O’Neill’s
Objections to the Report & Recommendations (Doc. No. 30), the state court record, and
Petitioner John W. O’Neill’s Motion for Production of Documents (Doc. No. 31) it is hereby
The Report & Recommendations are APPROVED and ADOPTED.
Mr. O’Neill’s Objections are OVERRULED. 1
Mr. O’Neill argues that (1) the Magistrate Judge erred in finding that Mr. O’Neill
procedurally defaulted on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, Obj. at 2, and (2) that the
R&R does not address prejudice for Mr. O’Neill’s ineffective assistance claims concerning the
issue of prior bad acts. Obj. at 3. As to his first claim, the R&R was correct that some of Mr.
O’Neill’s claims were procedurally defaulted. Mr. O’Neill argues that despite this flaw, Martinez
should govern. Martinez v. Ryan, 566 U.S. 1 (2012). Martinez allows a defendant to overcome
procedural default by demonstrating cause and prejudice for the default. However, Mr. O’Neill
has not shown any prejudice by reason of his default at the PCRA proceeding because his claims
(a) lack a legal basis and (b) the overwhelming evidence points to his guilt. In other words, even
if his claims were not procedurally defaulted, they would fail on the merits. This means there
was no prejudice in the PCRA proceeding sufficient to invoke Martinez. As to his second claim,
Mr. O’Neill is correct that Judge Lloret declined to discuss the prejudice requirement of
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). However, because Judge Lloret found that that
counsel’s performance was not deficient, he did not need to discuss whether there was prejudice,
since both prongs are required to make a showing of ineffective assistance of counsel.
The Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. No. 1) is DENIED.
There is no probable cause to issue a certificate of appealability. 2
The Motion for Production of Documents (Doc. No. 31) is DENIED. 3
The Clerk of Court shall mark this case CLOSED for all purposes, including
BY THE COURT:
S/Gene E.K. Pratter
GENE E.K. PRATTER
United States District Judge
A certificate of appealability may issue only upon “a substantial showing of the
denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). A petitioner must “demonstrate that
reasonable jurists would find the district court’s assessment of the constitutional claims debatable
or wrong.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000); Lambert v. Blackwell, 387 F.3d 210,
230 (3d Cir. 2004). The Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Lloret that there is no probable
cause to issue such a certificate in this action.
The relevant portion of AEDPA reads: “If the applicant has failed to develop the factual basis
of a claim in State court proceedings, the court shall not hold an evidentiary hearing on the claim
unless the applicant shows that—(A) the claim relies on—(i) a new rule of constitutional law,
made retroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previously
unavailable; or (ii) a factual predicate that could not have been previously discovered through the
exercise of due diligence; and (B) the facts underlying the claim would be sufficient to establish
by clear and convincing evidence that but for constitutional error, no reasonable factfinder would
have found the applicant guilty of the underlying offense.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2). Mr. O’Neill’s
claim neither relies on a new rule of constitutional law made retroactive, nor does he argue any
factual predicate that could not have previously been discovered through due diligence.
Therefore, Mr. O’Neill cannot receive an evidentiary hearing, and any requests to compel
evidence likewise fail.
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