Reno v. Thomas et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION as more fully set out in order. Signed by Judge C Lynwood Smith, Jr on 03/25/14. (SPT )
2014 Mar-25 AM 11:41
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
LARRY EARL RENO,
WARDEN WILLIE THOMAS, and
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF
THE STATE OF ALABAMA,
Case No: CV 12-S-2575-W
This case is before the court on the Report and Recommendation of the
magistrate judge (doc. 15) and petitioner’s objections thereto (doc. 17). The court
will briefly address petitioner’s objections.
It is undisputed that petitioner’s conviction became final on September 12,
2008. (Doc. 15 at 4). Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act,
petitioner had until September 11, 2009, to file his federal habeas petition. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2244(d). He did not file a federal petition or any other state post-conviction appeal
or motion during that time period that would toll the running of the statute of
limitations. Petitioner filed his first post-conviction challenge on June 24, 2011, with
the filing of an application for writ of habeas corpus in Bibb County.1 (Doc. 11 at 2).
In his objections, petitioner argues that the one-year limitations period should not
start running until the Alabama Supreme Court denied his Petition for Writ of
Mandamus on May 2, 2012. (Doc. 17 at 10). However, “[w]hile a Rule 32 petition
is a tolling motion under § 2244(d)(2), it cannot toll the one-year limitations period
if that period has expired prior to filing the Rule 32 petition.” McCloud v. Hooks, 560
F.3d 1223, 1227 (11th Cir. 2009). In other words, because all of petitioner’s postconviction pleadings were filed outside of the federal limitations period, they did not
act to toll the statute of limitations.
In his objections, petitioner also appears to argue that the limitations period
should be tolled because he is ignorant of the law, had limited access to a law library,
and only recently learned that there was a statute of limitations in federal habeas
corpus proceedings. (Doc. 17 at 2). To the extent petitioner argues that the
limitations period should be equitably tolled on these grounds, the objection is not
well taken. “Generally, a litigant seeking equitable tolling bears the burden of
establishing two elements: (1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2)
While petitioner’s Reply seems to concede that this was the first post-judgment motion he
filed (doc. 11 at 2), the exhibit attached to that response references a “Petition for the Issuance of
Writ of Habeas Corpus § 15-21-24 through § 15-21-34” that was filed with the Jefferson County
Court on August 19, 2010, and which the state argued should be regarded as a motion seeking Rule
32 relief. (Doc. 11 at 11-13). However, this fact does not alter the outcome of this case – the one
year statute of limitations for filing a § 2254 habeas petition ran on September 11, 2009, well before
the August 19, 2010 petition was filed.
that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way.” Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544
U.S. 408, 418 (2005). Petitioner has simply not made the requisite showing. Perez
v. Florida, 519 F. App’x 995, 997 (11th Cir. 2013) (“We have not accepted a lack of
a legal education and related confusion or ignorance about the law as excuses for a
failure to file in a timely fashion. . . . As with any litigant, pro se litigants ‘are
deemed to know of the one-year statute of limitations.’”).
Finally, in his objections, petitioner objects to the magistrate judge’s statement
that “Petitioner has not asserted that he is actually innocent.” (Doc. 17 at 11-12).
However, petitioner still fails to argue that he was innocent of the underlying crime
or to offer any evidence in support of that innocence.
In light of the above, it is clear that Reno’s application for a writ of habeas
corpus is barred by the one-year limitations period set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).2
The court has considered the entire file in this action together with the
Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation (doc. 15) and has reached an
independent conclusion that the Report and Recommendation is due to be adopted
The court hereby adopts and approves the findings and
recommendation of the magistrate judge as the findings and conclusions of the court.
In accordance with the recommendation, this petition for writ of habeas corpus is due
In addition to considering petitioner’s objections related to the timeliness of his petition,
the court has also considered his other objections concerning whether his claims are procedurally
barred. The court finds that those objections are not well taken.
to be dismissed with prejudice. An appropriate order will be entered.
The court further finds that petitioner has failed to make a substantial showing
of the denial of a constitutional right. Accordingly, the court DECLINES to issue
a Certificate of Appealability. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).
The Clerk is DIRECTED to mail a copy of this Memorandum Opinion to
petitioner and counsel for the respondents.
DONE this 25th day of March, 2014.
United States District Judge
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