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Chang v. Department of Corrections

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

October 31, 2016

Malachi Eric Chang, Petitioner,
v.
Department of Corrections, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Leonie M. Brinkema United States District Judge

         Malachi Eric Chang, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the constitutionality of his convictions of pandering and abduction with intent to prostitute, entered after a guilty plea in the Circuit Court for the City of Virginia Beach. On August 29, 2016, respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss and Rule 5 Answer, along with a supporting brief and exhibits. Petitioner was given the opportunity to file responsive materials, pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison. 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975) and Local Rule 7K. Plaintiff did not file a response. The matter is now ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, respondent's Motion to Dismiss will be granted, and the petition will be dismissed with prejudice.

         I. Background

         The record reflects the following. Petitioner is detained pursuant to a final judgment of the Circuit Court of the City of Virginia Beach, entered June 3, 2013. Motion to Dismiss at Ex. A. Petitioner pled guilty to pandering, in violation of Virginia Code § 18.2-357, abduction with the intent to prostitute, in violation of Virginia Code § 18.2-48, and obtaining or processing documents for the purpose of establishing a false identity, in violation of Virginia Code § 18.2- 204.1.[1] Id. Petitioner was sentenced to life plus ten (10) years imprisonment, with all but thirty-five (35) years suspended.

         Petitioner pursued a direct appeal to the Court of Appeals of Virginia, which was denied on December 23, 2013. Id. at Ex. B. The Supreme Court of Virginia subsequently refused the petition for appeal on November 12, 2014. Id.

During the plea colloquy on December 6, 2012, the following exchange occurred.
Trial Court: Are you the person charged with the two offenses - two remaining offenses?
Petitioner: Yes.
Trial Court: Do you fully understand the charges against you?
Petitioner: Yes, I do.
Trial Court: And you discussed the charges and the elements of the charges with your attorney?
Petitioner: Yes, I did.
Trial Court: And you understand what the Commonwealth would have to prove for you to be found guilty?
Petitioner: Yes, I do.
Trial Court: And have you discussed -1 assume you have because we've been kind of waiting out here while you all have been talking about things even today. You've discussed with [trial counsel] whether you should plead guilty or not guilty?
Petitioner: Yes.
Trial Court: And after all of those discussions you've decided for yourself to plead guilty?
Petitioner: Yes, I did.
Trial Court: And you are entering your guilty pleas because, in fact, you are guilty of the crimes charged?
Petitioner: Yes.
Trial Court: You do understand that by pleading guilty, first of all - well, you already know you've given up your right to a jury trial, but you also understand you're giving up your right to the bench trial too?
Petitioner: Uh-huh.
Trial Court: And since you are pleading guilty and telling me you did it, you're giving up your right not to incriminate yourself?
Petitioner: Uh-huh.
Trial Court: And you're giving up your right to have [trial counsel] question any -the witnesses any further?
Petitioner: Yes.
Trial Court: Are you giving up your right to defend yourself on these charges?
Petitioner: Yes.
Trial Court: Are you currently on parole or ...

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