JONES v. HOLT
MEMORANDUM OPINION accompanying final order issued separately this day. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 5/17/17.(ah)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
DAVID EARL JONES,
Case No. 16-cv-01087 (CRC)
In April 2001, a jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia convicted Jones of
first-degree murder while armed, second-degree murder while armed, and other weapons-related
offenses. See Jones v. Holt, 814 F. Supp. 2d 4, 5 (D.D.C. 2011). His convictions were affirmed in
June 2007, and he is currently serving a life sentence. Id. Claiming that he was denied effective
assistance of counsel on direct appeal, Jones now seeks a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. See Pet., ECF No. 1. The government has moved to dismiss the petition on the grounds
that it is barred by time and by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(i), which states that “[t]he ineffectiveness of or
incompetence of counsel during Federal or State collateral post-conviction proceedings shall not be
a ground for relief in a proceeding arising under section 2254.” Jones has not complied with the
Court’s Order to respond to the government’s motion, and the deadline to respond passed more than
three months ago. See Dec. 6, 2016 Minute Order.
For the reasons explained below, the Court agrees that this action is barred by the one-year
statute of limitations contained in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”). Therefore, it will not address the applicability of § 2254(i), which excludes as a
ground for relief claims raising the ineffectiveness of counsel only during collateral post-conviction
As a “would-be federal habeas petitioner,” a D.C. prisoner must “comply with the strictures
of AEDPA—the federal court’s ‘labyrinth’ collateral review procedure.” Head v. Wilson, 792 F.3d
102, 106 (D.C. Cir. 2015). This includes filing a federal habeas petition within one year from the
date a conviction becomes final “either by conclusion of direct review (i.e., denial of certiorari by
the U.S. Supreme Court) or by expiration of the time for seeking direct review.” Id. (citing 28
U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A)) (parenthesis in original). AEDPA’s statute of limitations is tolled during
the pendency of “a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review
with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2). But it is not tolled
“during the pendency of a petition [to the U.S. Supreme Court] for certiorari” based on a State
court’s denial of post-conviction relief. Lawrence v. Florida, 549 U.S. 327, 332 (2007). AEDPA’s
statute of limitations “is not a jurisdictional bar” though and is subject to equitable tolling. Head,
792 F.3d at 106.
The government argues that Jones’s convictions became final more than five years before he
filed this action in June 2016. See Resp’t’s Mot. 7-8 (calculating February 10, 2010 as the date of
finality). Per the Supreme Court’s guidance in Lawrence, the Court calculates the relevant date as
even earlier on November 18, 2009, when the D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of his first
post-conviction petition. See id., Ex. 3 (D.C. Court of Appeals Judgment). Jones therefore had
until November 18, 2010 to file the instant petition. Because Jones has not offered any reasons for
the Court to toll AEDPA’s statute of limitation, this action will be dismissed as time barred.
CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER
United States District Judge
Date: May 17, 2017
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