Logan v. District Attorney Allegheny County, 111918 FED3, 16-4039

Docket Nº:16-4039
Opinion Judge:SHWARTZ, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Party Name:NICKIE R. LOGAN, Appellant v. DISTRICT ATTORNEY ALLEGHENY COUNTY; SUPERINTENDENT HUNTINGDON SCI
Judge Panel:Before: SHWARTZ, SCIRICA, and ROTH, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:November 19, 2018
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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NICKIE R. LOGAN, Appellant

v.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY ALLEGHENY COUNTY; SUPERINTENDENT HUNTINGDON SCI

No. 16-4039

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

November 19, 2018

NOT PRECEDENTIAL

Submitted Under Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a) October 4, 2018

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 2-15-cv-01699) District Judge: Hon. Joy Flowers Conti

Before: SHWARTZ, SCIRICA, and ROTH, Circuit Judges.

OPINION [*]

SHWARTZ, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

Nickie Logan, a state inmate confined at Huntingdon SCI, appeals from an order of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania dismissing his habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons that follow, we will affirm.

I

Logan was convicted of thirteen criminal offenses and eight summary offenses in connection with a series of car thefts.1 Among his convictions were one count of receiving stolen property in violation of 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 3925(a) and one count of theft by unlawful taking in violation of 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 3934(a), both related to the theft of a 1994 Jeep Cherokee. Logan received identical sentences of 18 to 36 months for each of these offenses, to be served concurrently. 2

Logan filed a pro se petition in state court under the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), 42 Pa. C.S.A. § 9541 et seq., challenging his convictions on numerous grounds. Among other claims, Logan alleged that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial lawyer failed to object to his receiving "multiple punishments for the same offense"-namely, "theft and receiving of the Jeep Cherokee" -in violation of the Double Jeopardy clause. App. 458-59. The Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas dismissed Logan's PCRA petition. On appeal, Logan again raised, among other things, the same ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The Pennsylvania Superior Court rejected his argument and affirmed the dismissal of the petition.

Logan filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas petition. The Magistrate Judge recommended that Logan's petition be dismissed. Logan v. Caruso, No. 2:15-CV-1699, 2016 WL 5416623, at *6 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 9, 2016). The District Court adopted the Magistrate Judge's findings and recommendations, rejecting Logan's argument that his counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing "to challenge the imposition of multiple sentences for the same offense." Logan, 2016 WL 5407744, at *3. Logan appeals.

II3

A

When a district court dismisses a habeas petition without an evidentiary hearing, our review of its order is plenary. Simmons v. Beard, 590 F.3d 223, 231 (3d Cir. 2009); Holland v. Horn, 519 F.3d 107, 111 (3d Cir. 2008). If the state court has adjudicated a petitioner's claim on the merits, we apply the same review as the district court. Blystone v. Horn, 664 F.3d 397, 416-17 (3d Cir. 2011). Where, on the other hand, the state court does not reach the merits of a claim that is before us, we review the petitioner's claim de novo. Breakiron v. Horn, 642 F.3d 126, 131 (3d Cir. 2011). The Pennsylvania Superior

Court did not reach the merits of Logan's precise claim: whether his counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the sentence he received for theft by...

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