Morgan v. Jones
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Terry Jo Morgan stating it is recommended that the instant petition bedismissed as time barred under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death PenaltyAct's one-year limitations provision contained in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Objections to R&R due by 9/25/2008. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A) Signed by Magistrate Judge William E. Cassady on 9/5/08. Copies to parties.(mpp)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA SOUTHERN DIVISION TERRY JO MORGAN, AIS 183385, Petitioner, : vs. : KENNETH JONES, : Respondent. REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION Terry Jo Morgan, a state prisoner presently in the custody of the respondent, has petitioned this Court for federal habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. This matter has been referred to the undersigned for the entry of a report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 72.2(c)(4). It is recommended that the instant petition be dismissed as time barred under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act's one-year limitations provision contained in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). FINDINGS OF FACT 1. Morgan was convicted in the Circuit Court of Baldwin County, CA 08-0341-KD-C : :
Alabama on April 10, 1998 of first-degree assault and theft of property in the
second degree. (See Docket Sheet in CC-98-065.00, Attached Hereto as part of Exhibit A) On May 27, 1998, petitioner was sentenced under Alabama's Habitual Felony Offender Act to life imprisonment for first-degree assault and to a concurrent twenty-year term of imprisonment with respect to his seconddegree theft conviction. Morgan v. State, 733 So.2d 940 (Ala. Crim. App. 1999). Morgan's convictions and sentences were affirmed on appeal. See id. Petitioner's application for rehearing was denied on March 26, 1999. Id. However, Morgan did not seek certiorari review. (Doc. 1, at 3) The certificate of final judgment of affirmance was issued to the trial court on April 13, 1999. (Doc. 7, May 23, 2008 MEMORANDUM, at 2) 2. While Morgan alleges in his complaint that sometime in 1999 he
filed a Rule 32 petition in the Circuit Court of Baldwin County, Alabama, collaterally attacking his convictions and sentences (Doc. 1, Exhibit B, at 4), the docket sheet this Court received, on request, from the Baldwin County Circuit Court clearly establishes that Morgan did not file his first collateral attack on his convictions and sentences until September 18, 2000.1 It appears that this first state collateral attack filed by Morgan remained pending until
This Court should not have been placed in the position of procuring from the Circuit Court of Baldwin County, Alabama Morgan's docket sheets. However, the need to do so became obvious and apparent given the State's wholesale failure to properly reply to the petition as well as Morgan's failure to reply to the undersigned's show cause order. 2
September 29, 2005, when it was denied after a hearing. (See Docket Sheet CC-98-065.60, Attached Hereto as Part of Exhibit A) 3. Thereafter, Morgan filed two more Rule 32 petitions in the
Circuit Court of Baldwin County, Alabama, one in 2005 and another in 2007. (Compare Doc. 7, at 3 n.1 ("Morgan subsequently filed a second and third post-conviction petition in 2005 that were denied in 2007.") with Doc. 7, MEMORANDUM dated May 23, 2008 (showing an 07 case number); see also Docket Sheets, CC-98-065.61 & 98-065.62, Attached Hereto as Part of Exhibit A) The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying the petitions. (Doc. 7, MEMORANDUM) 4. On June 12, 2008, Morgan filed the instant petition in this Court
attacking his convictions and sentences. (Doc. 1, COMPLAINT, at 13) 5. On August 6, 2008, the undersigned entered an order that
petitioner show cause, on or before August 29, 2008, why his petition should not be dismissed on the basis that it is barred by the one-year statute of limitations set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A). (Doc. 8) To date, Morgan has not filed a response to the undersigned's show cause order. (See Docket Sheet) CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
("AEDPA") was enacted on April 24, 1996 and, pertinent to this case, added a new subdivision to 28 U.S.C. § 2244 providing for a one-year period of limitations within which state prisoners must file their habeas corpus petitions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Wilcox v. Florida Dept. of Corrections, 158 F.3d 1209, 1210 (11th Cir. 1998). (d)(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the latest of-- (A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review; (B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action; (C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or (D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence. (2) The time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted
toward any period of limitation under this subsection. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) 2. Subsections (B), (C), and (D) of § 2244(d)(1) clearly do not
apply to petitioner's case and therefore, the timeliness of Morgan's petition must be calculated under § 2244(d)(1)(A) based upon the date on which his conviction became final. "For prisoners whose convictions became final prior to the effective date of the AEDPA, the one-year statute of limitations instituted by the AEDPA began to run on its effective date, i.e., April 24, 1996." Guenther v. Holt, 173 F.3d 1328, 1331 (11th Cir. 1999) (citations omitted), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 1085, 120 S.Ct. 811, 145 L.Ed.2d 683 (2000). This rule from Guenther is not applicable in this case since Morgan's convictions became final in 1999. 3. Section 2244(d)(1)(A) specifically provides that the one-year
limitations period will run from "the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of time for seeking such review[.]" On direct appeal, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Morgan's convictions and sentences on January 15, 1999 and denied his application for rehearing on March 26, 1999. Morgan v. State, 733 So.2d 940
(1999). Morgan did not seek certiorari review in the Alabama Supreme Court.2 The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals issued a certificate of judgment of final affirmance on April 13, 1999 (Doc. 7, May 23, 2008 MEMORANDUM, at 2); therefore, Morgan's convictions became final on that date. Brown v. Hooks, 176 Fed. Appx. 949, 951 (11th Cir. 2006) ("On March 23, 2001, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction. Brown did not petition for certiorari review in the Alabama Supreme Court, and his conviction became final on April 10, 2001, when the Certificate of Judgment issued."); see also Ala.R.Crim.P. 41(a) ("The certificate of judgment of the court shall issue 18 days after the entry of judgment" unless a timely application for rehearing is filed.); see Bridges v. Johnson, 284 F.3d 1201, 1202 (11th Cir. 2002) ("Bridges pled guilty to terroristic threats, aggravated assault and stalking charges, and was sentenced to 26 years' imprisonment on November 12, 1996. He did not appeal his convictions and sentences, but he
Morgan's failure to seek certiorari review by the Alabama Supreme Court prevented the court of last resort in Alabama from considering his direct appeal; therefore, the Supreme Court of the United States would have been unable to consider petitioner's case on direct review. See Pugh v. Smith, 465 F.3d 1295, 1299 (11th Cir. 2006) ("The Supreme Court of the United States may grant a writ of certiorari to review the final judgment of `the highest court of a State in which a decision could be had.' . . . A defendant has 90 days from the judgment of the state court of last resort to file a petition for a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States. . . . In the absence of a clear statutory or constitutional bar to higher state court review . . . the Supreme Court requires petitioners to seek review in the state's highest court before filing a petition for writ of certiorari."). 6
did request that his sentence be reviewed by a sentence review panel, pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6. . . . As provided in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A), his judgment became final on the date that the time for seeking direct review expired; this date was not affected by his application for sentence review, because an application for sentence review is not a part of the direct appeal process under Georgia law. . . . Accordingly, Bridges' judgment of conviction became final on December 21, 1996, the date on which his 30-day right to appeal the November 21, 1996 judgment expired."); Tinker v. Moore, 255 F.3d 1331, 1332 & 1333 (11th Cir. 2001) ("Tinker was convicted on the robbery charge, and on January 29, 1997, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed his conviction. . . . The mandate issued on February 14, 1997. . . . Under Florida law, a judgment against a criminal defendant becomes final upon issuance of the mandate on his direct appeal. . . . Tinker's mandate issued on February 14, 1997, and thus he had until February 13, 1998, to file his § 2254 petition, absent tolling of the limitations period."), cert. denied, 534 U.S. 1144, 122 S.Ct. 1101, 151 L.Ed.2d 997 (2002).3
This Court recognizes that AEDPA's one-year statute of limitations "allows a prisoner the time to seek direct review in the Supreme Court of the United States." Pugh, supra, 465 F.3d at 1299; see also Bond v. Moore, 309 F.3d 770, 774 (11th Cir. 2002) ("Appellant was entitled to file a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court within 90 days of the entry of the judgment against him by the Florida Supreme Court. Sup.Ct.R. 13.1. The statute of limitations under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) should not have begun to run until this 90-day 7
Morgan's one-year period of limitations under AEDPA began
to run on April 13, 1999 and expired on April 13, 2000. Morgan is unable to take advantage of the tolling provision built into § 2244(d), 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2) ("The time during which a properly filed application for State postconviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of limitation under this section."); Guenther, supra, 173 F.3d at 1331 ("`The time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review
window had expired. Appellant's state judgment became final on December 13, 1996, when the Florida Supreme Court denied Appellant's motion for a rehearing. The statute of limitations should have begun to run, therefore, on March 17, 1997."). However, in those instances, as here, where a petitioner is not entitled to seek review in the Supreme Court of the United States, he is not entitled to benefit of the 90-day period for filing a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court, Sup. Ct. R. 13.1 ("Unless otherwise provided by law, a petition for writ of certiorari to review a judgment in any case, civil or criminal, entered by a state court of last resort . . . is timely when it is filed with the Clerk of this Court within 90 days after the entry of the judgment. A petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of a judgment of a lower state court that is subject to discretionary review by the state court of last resort is timely when it is filed with the Clerk within 90 days after entry of the order denying discretionary review."); 28 U.S.C. § 1257(a) ("Final judgments or decrees rendered by the highest court of a State in which a decision could be had, may be reviewed by the Supreme Court by writ of certiorari where . . . any title, right, privilege, or immunity is specially set up or claimed under the Constitution or the treaties or statutes of, or any commission held or authority exercised under, the United States."). See Pugh, 465 F.3d at 1299-1300. As previously established, Morgan did not seek direct review of his convictions and sentences in the state court of last resort, that is, the Alabama Supreme Court; therefore, he was not entitled to seek direct review in the United States Supreme Court. See id. Morgan's convictions became final when the certificate of judgment issued from the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on April 13, 1999, Brown, supra, and this Court need not add to that final judgment date the 90 days contemplated in Supreme Court Rule 13.1, compare Pugh, 465 F.3d at 1299-1300 with Tinker, supra, 255 F.3d at 1332 & 1333. 8
with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of limitation in [subsection (d)].'"); cf. Coates v. Byrd, 211 F.3d 1225, 1227 (11th Cir. 2000) ("We agree with the Tenth and Fifth Circuits that the time during which a petition for writ of certiorari is pending, or could have been filed, following the denial of collateral relief in the state courts, is not to be subtracted from the running of time for 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1) statute of limitations purposes."), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1166, 121 S.Ct. 1129, 148 L.Ed.2d 995 (2001), because the first collateral attack on his convictions and sentences which he undertook on September 18, 2000 was filed well after the one-year statute of limitations expired under § 2244(d)(1).4 Cf. Webster v. Moore, 199 F.3d 1256, 1259 (11th Cir.) ("Under § 2244(d)(2), even `properly filed' state-court petitions must be `pending' in order to toll the limitations period."), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 991, 121 S.Ct. 481, 148 L.Ed.2d 454 (2000). "A state court filing after the federal habeas filing deadline does not revive it." Sibley v. Culliver, 377 F.3d 1196, 1204 (11th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). 5. While petitioner makes no equitable tolling argument (see Doc.
1), the undersigned nevertheless considers the possible application of the doctrine to the facts of this case. Recent decisions of the Eleventh Circuit have
Morgan's first Rule 32 attack was filed some five months after the one-year statute of limitations expired. 9
clearly embraced the doctrine of equitable tolling with regard to the one-year limitations period at issue: "Equitable tolling is to be applied when
`"extraordinary circumstances" have worked to prevent an otherwise diligent petitioner from timely filing his petition.' . . . Thus, the petitioner must show both extraordinary circumstances and due diligence in order to be entitled to equitable tolling." Diaz v. Secretary for the Dept. of Corrections, 362 F.3d 698, 700-701 (11th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). "Section 2244 is a statute of limitations, not a jurisdictional bar. Therefore, it permits equitable tolling `when a movant untimely files because of extraordinary circumstances that are both beyond his control and unavoidable even with diligence.'" Steed v. Head, 219 F.3d 1298, 1300 (11th Cir.2000) (citation omitted). Thus, the one-year limitations provision need not be equitably tolled unless there is evidence that "extraordinary circumstances" beyond petitioner's control made it impossible for him to file his petition on time. See Miller v. New Jersey State Dept. of Corrections, 145 F.3d 616, 618-619 (3rd Cir. 1998) ("[E]quitable tolling is proper only when the `principles of equity would make [the] rigid application [of a limitation period] unfair.' . . . Generally, this will occur when the petitioner has `in some extraordinary way . . . been prevented from asserting his or her rights.' . . . The petitioner must show that he or she `exercised
reasonable diligence in investigating and bringing [the] claims.' . . . Mere excusable neglect is not sufficient."); Calderon v. United States District Court for the Central District of California, 128 F.3d 1283, 1288 (9th Cir. 1997) ("Equitable tolling will not be available in most cases, as extensions of time will only be granted if `extraordinary circumstances' beyond a prisoner's control make it impossible to file a petition on time."), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 1099, 118 S.Ct. 899, 139 L.Ed.2d 884 (1998) and cert. denied sub nom. Beeler v. Calderon, 523 U.S. 1061, 118 S.Ct. 1389, 140 L.Ed.2d 648 (1998). 6. In this case, petitioner has not established that the instant habeas
corpus petition was timely filed nor has he established that extraordinary circumstances and due diligence counsel equitable tolling of the limitations period. See Spottsville v. Terry, 476 F.3d 1241, 1245 (11th Cir. 2007) ("`The burden of establishing entitlement to this extraordinary remedy plainly rests with the petitioner[.]'"). Petitioner makes no argument that he was ignorant of the one-year limitations period. It is apparent to the undersigned that nothing other than petitioner's own lack of due diligence is responsible for the untimeliness of the filing of the instant petition. This is simply not one of those rare cases in which principles of equitable tolling can save petitioner from AEDPA's one-year limitations period.
CONCLUSION The Magistrate Judge recommends that the instant petition be dismissed as time-barred pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). The instructions which follow the undersigned's signature contain important information regarding objections to the report and recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. DONE this the 5th day of September, 2008. s/WILLIAM E. CASSADY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S EXPLANATION OF PROCEDURAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOLLOWING RECOMMENDATION, AND FINDINGS CONCERNING NEED FOR TRANSCRIPT l. Objection. Any party who objects to this recommendation or anything in it must, within ten days of the date of service of this document, file specific written objections with the Clerk of this court. Failure to do so will bar a de novo determination by the district judge of anything in the recommendation and will bar an attack, on appeal, of the factual findings of the Magistrate Judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Lewis v. Smith, 855 F.2d 736, 738 (11th Cir. 1988); Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404 (5th Cir. Unit B, 1982)(en banc). The procedure for challenging the findings and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge is set out in more detail in SD ALA LR 72.4 (June 1, 1997), which provides that: A party may object to a recommendation entered by a magistrate judge in a dispositive matter, that is, a matter excepted by 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A), by filing a `Statement of Objection to Magistrate Judge's Recommendation' within ten days after being served with a copy of the recommendation, unless a different time is established by order. The statement of objection shall specify those portions of the recommendation to which objection is made and the basis for the objection. The objecting party shall submit to the district judge, at the time of filing the objection, a brief setting forth the party's arguments that the magistrate judge's recommendation should be reviewed de novo and a different disposition made. It is insufficient to submit only a copy of the original brief submitted to the magistrate judge, although a copy of the original brief may be submitted or referred to and incorporated into the brief in support of the objection. Failure to submit a brief in support of the objection may be deemed an abandonment of the objection. A magistrate judge's recommendation cannot be appealed to a Court of Appeals; only the district judge's order or judgment can be appealed. 2. Transcript (applicable Where Proceedings Tape Recorded). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and FED.R.CIV.P. 72(b), the Magistrate Judge finds that the tapes and original records in this case are adequate for purposes of review. Any party planning to object to this recommendation, but unable to pay the fee for a transcript, is advised that a judicial determination that transcription is necessary is required before the United States will pay the cost of the transcript.
_s/WILLIAM E. CASSADY_____________ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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