WEEKLEY v. CLARK et al
ORDER that Petitioner's 22 Post-Conviction DNA Request Motion is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as more fully set forth herein. Signed by Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly on 9/7/2021. (dad)
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
MONROE WEEKLEY III,
MICHAEL CLARK, Superintendent, SCI
Albion; ATTORNEY GENERAL OF
DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF BEAVER
Civil Action No. 21-660
District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan
Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly
Re: ECF No. 22
Petitioner’s self-styled “Post-Conviction DNA Request Motion[,]” ECF No. 22, seeks
this Court to compel the DNA testing of physical evidence in control of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania, and for Respondents to produces certain items of discovery related thereto.
With respect to DNA testing, Petitioner relies on 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 9543.1, which is a
Pennsylvania statute applicable to state court post-conviction relief, and sets forth circumstances
under which the sentencing court may order post-conviction forensic DNA testing of specific
evidence “that is related to the investigation or prosecution that resulted in the judgment of
conviction.” 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 9543.1(a)(1). Simply put, this federal habeas corpus action is
not a state-court post-conviction proceeding, and this Court is not the court that sentenced
Petitioner. As such, the cited state statute does not apply to this Court, and does not provide a
basis for the relief that Petitioner seeks.
Instead, the present motion is properly construed as one for discovery, and it is denied
without prejudice. “A habeas petitioner, unlike the usual civil litigant in federal court, is not
entitled to discovery as a matter of ordinary course.” Bracy v. Gramley, 520 U.S. 899, 904
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(1997). See also Harris v. Nelson, 394 U.S. 286, 300 (1969) (“broad-ranging preliminary inquiry
is neither necessary nor appropriate in the context of a habeas corpus proceeding.”). Discovery
is authorized in Rule 6(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts only by leave of court upon a showing by the petitioner of “good cause,” which
may be made “where specific allegations before the court show reason to believe that the
petitioner may, if the facts are fully developed, be able to demonstrate that he is . . . entitled to
relief[.]” Harris, 394 U.S. at 300. See also Bracy, 520 U.S. at 908-09.
This Court will not entertain a request for discovery in this case until after Respondents
have filed their answer to the Petition, ECF No. 1, which is currently due by November 11, 2021.
ECF No. 16. Petitioner may file a renewed motion for discovery within 30 days of service of the
answer, which is also the date his reply to the answer is due. Local Rule 2254.E.2. This Court
will provide the parties with the opportunity to submit supplemental memoranda of law in the
event that discovery is permitted and/or an evidentiary is held.
AND NOW, this 7th day of September, 2021, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED
and DECREED the Petitioner’s “Post-Conviction DNA Request Motion,” ECF No. 22, is
DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as set forth above.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, on or before September 21, 2021, the parties may
appeal this order to the assigned District Judge pursuant to Rule 72.C.2 of the Local Rules for
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Magistrate Judges. Failure to appeal in a timely manner will constitute waiver of the right to
Dated: September 7, 2021
BY THE COURT:
/s/Maureen P. Kelly
MAUREEN P. KELLY
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Hon. J. Nicholas Ranjan
United States District Judge
Monroe Weekley, III
10745 Route 18
Albion, PA 16475
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