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Jones v. Clarke

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division

April 8, 2016

ALEXANDER S. JONES, #1115035 Petitioner,
v.
HAROLD W. CLARKE, Director, Virginia Department of Corrections, Respondent.

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DOUGLAS E. MILLER, Magistrate Judge.

         Petitioner Alexander S. Jones is a Virginia inmate presently serving an active sentence of eight years following his conviction in the Circuit Court of Sussex County for distributing cocaine. Jones's federal habeas petition asserts challenges to his underlying distribution conviction, as well as other convictions for resisting arrest and possession of marijuana for which he has already completed his sentence.

         The Respondent moved to dismiss the petition, arguing that Jones's claims are time-barred, procedurally defaulted, and without merit. Jones was served with a copy of the motion, notice of his right to respond, and the consequences of failing to do so. (ECF No. 19). Jones did not respond, and the time for responding has now expired. After reviewing the petition, the undersigned concludes that Jones's claims are either time-barred or procedurally defaulted, and he has not made the requisite showing to overcome the defaults and obtain federal review. Accordingly, this report recommends that the court grant Respondent's motion (ECF No. 11), and dismiss the petition.

         I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         Jones was convicted of resisting arrest and possession of marijuana by the Circuit Court of Sussex County on May 9, 2012. Sentencing Order, Commonwealth v. Jones, Nos. CR11-272 & CR11-273 (Va. Cir. Ct. May 18, 2012) (ECF No. 1, at 54). He appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals of Virginia, which denied the appeal in a written per curiam opinion. Jones v. Commonwealth, No. 886-12-2 (Va. Ct. App. Dec. 13, 2012). He did not petition the Supreme Court of Virginia for further review.

         Separately, Jones was indicted and tried on charges of distribution of cocaine, third offense. Following a jury trial on the cocaine charges, he was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison. Sentencing Order, Commonwealth v. Jones, No. CR11-148 (Va. Cir. Ct. Apr. 4, 2012). The Court of Appeals of Virginia denied his appeal on the charges, Jones v. Commonwealth, No. 0538-12-2 (Va. Ct. App. Sept. 13, 2012), and the Supreme Court of Virginia refused his appeal, Jones v. Commonwealth, No. 121710 (Va. Dec. 18, 2012).

         Almost one year later, on December 5, 2013, Jones signed his state petition for habeas relief related to both trials which he thereafter filed in the Circuit Court of Sussex County. State Habeas Pet., Jones v. Virginia Dept. of Corr., No. CL14-102 (Va Cir. Ct. Dec. 5, 2013). The state petition sought relief on six grounds:

1. Jones's sentence on the marijuana possession charge was in excess of the maximum authorized by statute.
2. Jones's conviction on the distribution charge was unconstitutional because the trial court should not have admitted video evidence of the transaction underlying his conviction.
3. Jones's convictions for marijuana possession and resisting arrest were unconstitutional because his arrest and search violated the 4th Amendment.
4. The evidence was insufficient to support Jones's distribution conviction.
5. Prosecutorial misconduct based on the alleged knowing use of false testimony and suppression of exculpatory evidence.
6. Ineffective assistance of trial counsel in the examination of witnesses and ...

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