KNAUSS v. CAMERON et al
ORDER THAT PETITIONER'S OBJECTIONS ARE OVERRULED; THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION IS APPROVED AND ADOPTED; THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS IS DENIED; A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILTIY SHALL NOT ISSUE; THE CLERK OF COURT SHALL CLOSE THIS CASE. SIGNED BY HONORABLE JUAN R. SANCHEZ ON 10/10/17. 10/10/17 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 KEN CAMERON,
AND NOW, this 10th day of October, 2017, upon careful and independent consideration
of Petitioner Joseph Knauss’s pro se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, and after review of the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge
Lynne A. Sitarski, to which objections have been filed, it is ORDERED:
1. Knauss’s objections (Document 24) are OVERRULED 1;
Knauss seeks relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 from his 2013 state court conviction for
aggravated assault. In his pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus, Knauss raises four grounds
for relief, only three of which are distinct: (1) trial counsel was ineffective for coercing him into
a guilty plea; (2) Post-Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) counsel was ineffective for forcing him to
withdraw his first PCRA petition; and (3) the state court committed fraud, battery, and treason.
On August 20, 2015, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R),
recommending Knauss’s petition be dismissed for failure to exhaust his state court remedies, as
his PCRA appeal attacking the same conviction at issue in his habeas petition was still pending.
That same day, Knauss filed an addendum to his petition, asserting he was denied his right to file
a direct appeal in the Pennsylvania Superior Court. On September 1, 2016, Knauss’s PCRA
proceedings having since concluded, this Court issued an Order dismissing the R&R as moot and
referring the matter to the Magistrate Judge for a new R&R. On June 27, 2017, the Magistrate
Judge issued an R&R thoroughly, finding Knauss’s initial-petition claims time barred and his
addendum claims noncognizable. Knauss filed objections to the R&R, in which he merely
reasserts the argument he made in his reply to the Government’s response to his petition—that
his petition is not time-barred because PCRA counsel was ineffective for forcing him to
withdraw his timely-filed PCRA petition.
After careful and independent consideration of Knauss’s petition and the arguments he
raises in his objections, the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation to deny
Knauss’s petition. It is clear from the record that Knauss voluntarily withdrew his PCRA
petition by filing a pro se motion to withdraw his PCRA petition, which was confirmed by
counsel at a PCRA hearing. He has therefore failed to demonstrate any attorney misconduct, let
alone attorney misconduct constituting the extraordinary circumstances necessary to warrant
2. The Report and Recommendation (Document 22) is APPROVED and ADOPTED;
3. The petition for a writ of habeas corpus and addendum (Documents 1 & 5) are DENIED;
4. There has been no substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right warranting
the issuance of a certificate of appealability; and
5. The Clerk of the Court shall mark this case CLOSED.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Juan R. Sánchez .
Juan R. Sánchez, J.
equitable tolling. See Schlueter v. Varner, 384 F.3d 69, 76 (3d Cir. 2004) (noting that
“[g]enerally, in a non-capital case . . ., attorney error is not a sufficient basis for equitable tolling
of the AEDPA’s one-year period of limitation,” but “there are narrow circumstances in which the
misbehavior of an attorney may merit equitable tolling” (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted)); see also Green v. Klopotoski, No. 08-5581, 2009 WL 4582019, at *9 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 3,
2009) (noting the “Third Circuit has recognized that serious misconduct by post-conviction
counsel may justify equitable tolling in some cases,” but finding “attorney misconduct does not
warrant equitable tolling merely because it requires the petitioner to file a second PCRA petition,
even if the AEDPA limitations period runs while the second PCRA is pending, because nothing
prevents the petitioner from filing a federal habeas petition at the same time” (citing Schlueter,
384 F.3d at 77-78)). Knauss’s objections are therefore overruled.
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