E.D. PA finds no ineffective assistance on Carpenter claim based on standing.

In this murder case, the defendant filed a habeas petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel in light of the Carpenter decision because his counsel abandoned a suppression claim that was litigated at the trial level 9 years before Carpenter was decided.

The District Court rejected this argument, calling it misplaced conjecture and surmise. The Court decided that, as applied to movant, Carpenter does not represent a change in law that would necessarily render counsel’s performance constitutionally ineffective because the Defendant had not shown exceptional circumstances under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6).

This is based in part on a previous holding that the Court found the Superior Court’s conclusion regarding lack of defendant’s standing to be to be supported by evidence of record. In this case, the cell phone used on the night of the murders did not belong to him, but rather his girlfriend, to whom he returned the cell phone following the murders. The Defendant therefore had a lack of possessory interest in the cell phone made Carpenter inapplicable in the view of the District Court.

The case is Morris v. Pennsylvania, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 184558,
2018 WL 5453585 (E.D. PA) October 29, 2018.

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