Michael Carneal v. Cookie Crew
Per Curiam OPINION filed : The judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED, decision not for publication. Boyce F. Martin , Jr., Circuit Judge; Danny J. Boggs, Circuit Judge and Curtis L. Collier, Chief District Judge.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR FULL-TEXT PUBLICATION
File Name: 13a0009n.06
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
MICHAEL ADAM CARNEAL,
COOKIE CREWS, Warden,
Jan 03, 2013
DEBORAH S. HUNT, Clerk
On Appeal from the United States
District Court for the Western
District of Kentucky
MARTIN and BOGGS, Circuit Judges; and COLLIER, District Judge.*
PER CURIAM. Petitioner Michael Carneal appeals from an order of the district court
dismissing as untimely his petition for writ of habeas corpus. At age fourteen, Carneal killed three
and wounded five of his classmates; his sole claim now is that he was not competent to plead guilty,
due to an undiagnosed mental illness. Carneal pled guilty in 1998, but did not file for state postconviction relief until 2004 and did not file for federal habeas relief until 2009. Although conceding
that his petition was technically untimely under the one-year limitations period of the Antiterrorism
and Effective Death Penalty Act, Carneal argued for equitable tolling of the limitations period on the
basis of his paranoid schizophrenia, and statutory tolling during the pendency of his state petition.
In particular, Carneal argued that his mental illness was undiagnosed and that thus his petition was
The Honorable Curtis L. Collier, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of
Tennessee, sitting by designation.
Carneal v. Crews
untimely because, while his schizophrenia remained untreated, he was unable to disclose the nature
of his paranoid delusional system, fearing retribution from the voices in his head. Only once his
mental condition improved with medication many years later was he able to talk to doctors and
lawyers about the full extent of his hallucinations. Finding that Carneal had presented a colorable
claim for equitable tolling on the basis of mental illness, the district court held a week of evidentiary
hearings involving testimony from Carneal, his family, and medical experts. On the basis of reliable
testimony from Carneal’s treating psychiatrists at the prison, the district court concluded that Carneal
was entitled to a period of equitable tolling, but not a period sufficient to render his petition timely.
In addition, the district court found that Carneal’s petition did not warrant statutory tolling, as his
state petition was dismissed as untimely and thus it was not “properly filed” under AEDPA’s tolling
requirements. Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408 (2005). Thus even if equitable tolling had been
granted for the full period requested, Carneal’s federal petition would still have been untimely.
Having had the benefit of oral argument and having carefully considered the record on
appeal, the briefs of the parties, and the applicable law, we are not persuaded that the district court
erred in dismissing Carneal’s petition.
Because the reasoning that supports dismissal has been articulated by the district court in its
well-reasoned and thorough opinion, the issuance of a detailed written opinion by this court would
be duplicative and serve no useful purpose. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is
AFFIRMED upon the reasoning employed by that court in its opinion filed on July 12, 2011.
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