Smith v. Chapadelain
PRISCS- RULING re 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. Signed by Judge Janet Bond Arterton on 6/28/2012. (Payton, R.)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
Case No. 3:12cv529(JBA)
RULING ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
Petitioner William Smith, an inmate confined at the Osborn
Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut, brings this
action pro se for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
On May 22, 2012, the court ordered the petitioner
to show why the petition should not be dismissed as time-barred.
In response, the petitioner states that he only recently
conducted a study of state statutory history and concluded that
the statute under which he was convicted was not constitutionally
valid at the time of his conviction.
Doc. #9 at 10.
petitioner characterizes this discovery as newly discovered
evidence and argues that the limitations period should be tolled.
The petitioner also argues that, as he first raised this issue in
his 2009 state habeas petition, any limitations period should not
commence until the final disposition date of that state habeas
The one year limitations period, set forth in 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1), commences when the petitioner’s conviction becomes
That date is defined as the completion of the direct
appeal or the conclusion of the time within which an appeal could
have been filed and may be tolled for the period during which a
properly filed state habeas petition is pending.
See 28 U.S.C. §
2244; Williams v. Artuz, 237 F.3d 147, 151 (2d Cir.), cert.
denied, 534 U.S. 924 (2001).
Where, as here, the conviction
became final before April 24, 1996, the enactment date of the
statute imposing the limitations period, the petitioner is
afforded one year from the enactment date to file his federal
See Ross v. Artuz, 150 F.3d 97, 102-03 (2d Cir. 1998).
Thus, the limitations period in this case commenced on April 24,
1996, and concluded on April 24, 1997, not when the petitioner
finished addressing his claim in the state courts.
As the court explained in the prior order, none of the
petitioner’s state habeas actions were pending during the
Thus, the only way the petitioner can show
that his petition is timely filed is if he can show that the
limitations period should be equitably tolled for nearly all of
the intervening fifteen years.
Equitable tolling may be applied in habeas cases only in
extraordinary and rare circumstances and requires the petitioner
to show that he has been pursuing his rights diligently but
extraordinary circumstances prevented him from timely filing his
Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005); Diaz v.
Kelly, 515 F.3d 149, 153 (2d Cir.), cert. denied sub nom. Diaz v.
Conway, 129 S. Ct. 168 (2008).
The threshold for the petitioner
to establish equitable tolling is very high.
See Smith v.
McGinnis, 208 F.3d 13, 17 (2d Cir.) (acknowledging high threshold
for establishing equitable tolling), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 840
The court must determine whether “the petitioner act[ed]
as diligently as reasonably could have been expected under the
Baldayaque v. United States, 338 F.3d 145, 153
(2d Cir. 2003) (emphasis in original).
The petitioner must have
acted with reasonable diligence throughout the entire period he
seeks to toll, that is, during the period after the extraordinary
See id. at 150.
The plaintiff argues that his new-found knowledge of “a
statutory requirement regarding an enactment clause” and “its
constitutional requirement under Art. III, Sec. (1) of the
Connecticut Constitution” are newly discovered evidence that
warrant equitable tolling.
Article Third, section 1 of the
Connecticut Constitution describes the two houses of the state
legislature and states:
“The style of their laws shall be: Be it
enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General
This provision has been included in the same
article and section of the constitutions of 1818 and 1955 as well
as in the current 1965 constitution.
Since this language has
been in the state constitution for nearly two hundred years, it
is not new evidence.
The petitioner identifies no interference
with his ability to learn of the provision.
His recent awareness
of the language does not constitute cause to toll the limitations
Further, to the extent that the petitioner is arguing
that the State’s Attorney had an obligation to inform him of this
provision, the court is aware of no requirement that the State’s
Attorney inform the petitioner of this long-standing state
Thus, the court concludes that the
petition is time-barred.1
The petition for writ of habeas corpus [Doc. #1] is
DISMISSED as time-barred.
Because reasonable jurists would not
find it debatable that the petition is untimely filed, a
certificate of appealability will not issue.
The Clerk is
directed to enter judgment and close this case.
SO ORDERED this 28th day of June 2012, at New Haven,
Janet Bond Arterton
United States District Judge
The court notes further that the claims presented here, a
challenge to the absence of language required under the state
constitution in published versions, as opposed to the enacted
version, of state statutes, is an issue of state law and not a
claim cognizable in a federal habeas corpus action. See Estelle
v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 68 (1991) (holding that a claim that
state conviction was obtained in violation of state law not
cognizable in federal court).
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