Towles v. Daniels et al (INMATE 3)
ORDER OVERRULING petitioner's 13 objections; ADOPTING 12 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge, and that this action is DISMISSED with prejudice pursuant to 28 USC 2244(d). Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 12/1/14. (djy, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
LEEPOSEY DANILES, Warden,
and LUTHER STRANGE, the
Attorney General of the State of
CASE NO. 3:14-CV-235-WKW
Before the court are the Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (Doc.
# 12) and Petitioner Alexander Towles’s Objections (Doc. # 13). The court has
conducted an independent and de novo review of those portions of the
Recommendation to which objection is made, see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), and finds
that the objections are due to be overruled.
Petitioner filed this action for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. In his Recommendation, the Magistrate Judge concluded that the one-year
statute of limitations barred Petitioner’s claims and that Petitioner had not
demonstrated “‘extraordinary circumstances’” that were “‘both beyond his control
and unavoidable with diligence.’” (Doc. # 12, at 5 (quoting Sandvik v. United
States, 177 F.3d 1269, 1271 (11th Cir. 1999)).) Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge
has recommended dismissal of this action with prejudice. Petitioner’s objections
First, Petitioner “still contends that his habeas petition is not time-barred.”
(Doc. # 13.) This objection lacks any reasoning, however, and fails to demonstrate
any error in the Magistrate Judge’s well-reasoned analysis. Accordingly, it is due
to be overruled.
Second, Petitioner argues alternatively that, if his action is untimely, the
court must excuse the untimeliness to prevent a miscarriage of justice because he is
“actually innocent of any prior felonies” that qualified him for a sentence as an
habitual offender. (Doc. # 13, at 1.) His argument, as elaborated upon in his
earlier filing, is that the State of Alabama did not “properly invoke[ ]” Alabama’s
Habitual Felony Offender Act, § 13A-5-9, or obtain the certifications required to
prove the prior convictions, see Ala. Code § 13A-5-10.1. (Doc. # 11, at 2.) He
contends, therefore, that he received an unlawful sentence and that his petition sets
forth a “jurisdictional issue[ ]” that is not barred by the statute of limitations. (Doc.
# 13, at 1.)
Last year, the Supreme Court held that a federal habeas petitioner, who is
filing his first petition, can overcome the one-year statute of limitations in
§ 2244(d)(1) upon a showing of “actual innocence” under the standard in Schlup v.
Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 329 (1995). McQuiggin v. Perkins, 133 S. Ct. 1924, 1933
(2013). The passage through the “actual-innocence gateway” is narrow, however,
as the petitioner must demonstrate “new evidence” that shows that “‘it is more
likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted [the petitioner].’” Id.
(quoting Schlup, 513 U.S. at 329). Additionally, “‘actual innocence’ means factual
innocence, not mere legal insufficiency.” Bousely v. United States, 523 U.S. 614,
623–24 (1998). Moreover, in McKay v. United States, 657 F.3d 1190 (11th Cir.
2011), the Eleventh Circuit observed that it had not yet decided whether the actualinnocence exception “extend[s] to the noncapital sentencing context.” Id. at 1199.
The court held, however, that “[e]ven assuming that this exception does extend
beyond the capital sentencing context,” the exception does not “extend . . . to
claims of legal innocence of a predicate offense justifying an enhanced sentence.”
Applying the foregoing principles, the court finds that Petitioner presents no
new evidence that satisfies Schlup’s rigorous standard. See 513 U.S. at 329.
Rather, he makes a purely legal argument that focuses on the prosecution’s
procedural failings under Alabama’s habitual felony offender statute. He does not
contend that he did not actually commit the prior felony offenses. “In other words,
he makes no claim of factual innocence of the predicate offense[s].” McKay, 657
F.3d at 1199. On this record, the actual-innocence exception cannot save his
claims from the statute-of-limitations bar.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Petitioner’s objections (Doc. # 13) are
OVERRULED, that the Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (Doc. # 12) is
ADOPTED, and that this action is DISMISSED with prejudice pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2244(d).
A final judgment will be entered separately.
DONE this 1st day of December, 2014.
/s/ W. Keith Watkins
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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