Sallie (DEATH PENALTY) v. Humphrey
ORDER DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE 4 Motion to Dismiss Petitioner's Habeas Petition as Untimely; DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE 52 Motion for an Order Ruling that Petitioner's Habeas Petition is Timely. Ordered by Judge Marc Thomas Treadwell on 9/6/2012. (tlh)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
WILLIAM CARY SALLIE,
CARL HUMPHREY, Warden,
CIVIL ACTION NO.: 5:11-CV-75 (MTT)
Sallie filed his petition for writ of habeas corpus in this Court on February 28, 2011.
(Doc. 1). Prior to filing an answer, Respondent moved to dismiss the petition as
untimely. (Doc. 4). Following briefing and a hearing, this Court found that Sallie did not
timely file his petition, but that “further development of the record is necessary to resolve
Sallie’s claim that he is entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations.” (Doc. 21
The Court ordered Sallie to supplement his petition to state with particularity the
facts upon which he based his claim of equitable tolling pursuant to Chavez v. Sec’y, Fla.
Dep’t of Corr.,647 F.3d 1057 (11th Cir. 2011). (Doc. 28). Sallie filed his supplemental
petition, including numerous affidavits, in support of his claim of equitable tolling and
Respondent filed a response. (Doc. 39 to 51, Doc. 55). On October 28, 2011, Sallie
filed a motion requesting a ruling that his petition was timely filed due to equitable tolling,
or in the alternative, allowing an evidentiary hearing on the issue of equitable tolling.
On November 1, 2011, the Court entered an order announcing it was withholding
ruling on both Respondent’s motion to dismiss Sallie’s habeas petition and Sallie’s motion
to rule his habeas petition was timely. (Doc. 57, 58). The Court ordered Sallie to
amend his habeas petition to include every unalleged constitutional error or deprivation
entitling him to federal habeas corpus relief and ordered Respondent to answer and
comply with Rule 5 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts. (Doc. 57). Sallie was also ordered to brief all claims, issues, and
arguments that he wished the Court to consider, including any need for discovery or an
evidentiary hearing, exhaustion, procedural default, and the merits of each claim.
Respondent was ordered to file a brief in response, and Sallie was allowed the
opportunity to reply. (Doc. 57). The parties have now complied with the Court’s
November 11, 2011, scheduling order.
Sallie raises significant issues regarding whether the one year limitations period
should be equitably tolled, issues that almost certainly require an evidentiary hearing to
resolve. However, because the statute of limitations is not a jurisdictional bar to habeas
review, a federal court can, in the interest of judicial economy, proceed to the merits of the
habeas petition. Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 198, 205 (2006); Lambrix v. Singletary,
520 U.S. 518, 523-24 (1997) (explaining that procedural bars should normally be
resolved first, but judicial economy may dictate ruling on the merits first if the procedural
bar involves complicated issues).
A review of the record in this case leads the Court to conclude that it would be
judicially efficient to review the merits of Sallie’s claims, including any exhaustion or
procedural default issues, before attempting to determine the timeliness issue. Should
the Court be able to deny Sallie’s habeas petition on the merits, there would be no need to
address the timeliness issue. Alternatively, if the Court finds Sallie’s petition meritorious,
it can then address the apparently more complicated equitable tolling issue.
Therefore, the Court DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE Respondent’s motion to
dismiss Sallie’s habeas petition as untimely. (Doc. 4). The Court DENIES WITHOUT
PREJUDICE Sallie’s motion for an order ruling that his habeas petition is timely. (Doc.
52). The Court will address the merits of the claims prior to determining whether
equitable tolling is appropriate.
SO ORDERED, this 6th day of September, 2012.
S/ Marc T. Treadwell
MARC T. TREADWELL, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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