Stewart v. Warden
OPINION AND ORDER The Petition re 1 is DENIED pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. The Petitioner is DENIED a certificate of appealability. Signed by Chief Judge Theresa L Springmann on 02/12/2018. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(sct)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
FORT WAYNE DIVISION
CAUSE NO.: 1:18-CV-20-TLS
OPINION AND ORDER
Tyquan Stewart, a pro se prisoner, filed a Habeas Corpus Petition [ECF No. 1] attempting
to challenge his conviction and two year sentence for theft imposed by the Allen County
Superior Court on January 20, 2015. However, habeas corpus petitions are subject to a strict oneyear statute of limitations. There are four possible dates from which the limitation period begins
(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
(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
(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
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).
Question 9 on the Petition asked Stewart to explain why the Petition is timely. In response, he
I am mentally ill and after my release I contacted several lawyers pertaining to
this. I even filed a lawsuit in federal court. I was indigent and couldn’t afford
counsel. The lawyer told me $10,000 for post conviction.
(Pet. 5, ECF No. 1.) Neither this answer nor the claims raised in the Petition indicate that the
claims are based on newly discovered evidence or a newly recognized constitutional right.
Neither is there any indication that a state-created impediment prevented Stewart from filing his
federal Petition on time. Accordingly, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A), the one-year
period of limitation began on the date when the judgment became final upon the expiration of the
time for seeking direct review of his conviction and sentence.
Here, Stewart pled guilty and was sentenced on January 30, 2015. He did not file a direct
appeal. The deadline for doing so expired on March 2, 2015. See Indiana Rules of Appellate
Procedure 9.A.(1) and 25.A. Therefore the one-year period of limitation began to run on March
3, 2015, and ended one year later. Because his habeas corpus Petition was not signed until almost
two years later, on January 31, 2018, it is untimely.
Stewart argues that he is mentally ill, but “it is well established in this Circuit that
circumstances such as youth, lack of education, and illiteracy are not external impediments
within the context of excusing procedural default.” Harris v. McAdory, 334 F.3d 665, 669 (7th
Cir. 2003). Harris went on to hold that neither mental retardation, mental deficiencies, nor
mental illness alone demonstrate cause to excuse procedural default. So too, there is no
exemption to the one-year period of limitation for mental illness.
Additionally, even if the Petition were timely, Stewart has not exhausted his claims in the
state courts. To exhaust a claim, “the petitioner must raise the issue at each and every level in the
state court system, including levels at which review is discretionary rather than mandatory.”
Lewis v. Sternes, 390 F.3d 1019, 1025-1026 (7th Cir. 2004). Here, he has not presented any of
his claims to the Indiana Supreme Court. Therefore his claims are unexhausted.1
Pursuant to Rule 11 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 cases, the Court must either
issue or deny a certificate of appealability in all cases where it enters a final order adverse to a
petitioner. To obtain a certificate of appealability, a petitioner must make a substantial showing
of the denial of a constitutional right by establishing “that reasonable jurists could debate
whether (or, for that matter, agree that) the petition should have been resolved in a different
manner or that the issues presented were adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.”
Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). As
explained, here, the Petition was not timely filed, and if it were, the claims are unexhausted.
Nothing before the Court suggests that jurists of reason could debate the correctness of this
There is yet even another obstacle for Stewart. To obtain habeas corpus relief, a petitioner must be “in
custody.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). This requires that the “habeas petitioner be ‘in custody’ under the
conviction or sentence under attack at the time his petition is filed.” Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 490–
491 (1989). Here, Stewart indicates that he is challenging a two year sentence imposed on January 30,
2015. But, at the time Stewart filed this Petition, it does not appear that he was incarcerated on any
charge, much less this one.
procedural ruling or find a reason to permit this case to proceed further. Accordingly, the Court
declines to issue a certificate of appealability.
For these reasons, the Petition [ECF No. 1] is DENIED, pursuant to RULE 4 OF THE
RULES GOVERNING SECTION 2254 CASES, and the Petitioner is DENIED a certificate of
SO ORDERED on February 12, 2018.
s/ Theresa L. Springmann
CHIEF JUDGE THERESA L. SPRINGMANN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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