Stewart v. Unnamed
OPINION AND ORDER: The 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is DENIED pursuant to RULE 4 OF THE RULES GOVERNING SECTION 2254 CASES. The Petitioner is DENIED a certificate of appealability. Signed by Judge William C Lee on 2/12/2018. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(lns)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
SOUTH BEND DIVISION
CAUSE NO. 1:18-CV-21 WL
OPINION AND ORDER
Tyquan Stewart, a pro se prisoner, filed a habeas corpus petition attempting to
challenge his conviction and sentence for possessing an open alcoholic beverage
container during the operation of a motor vehicle imposed by the Allen County
Superior Court on September 2, 2016. ECF 1. However, habeas corpus petitions are
subject to a strict one year statute of limitations. There are four possible dates from
which the limitation period begins to run.
(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).
Question 9 asked Stewart to explain why this petition is timely. In response, he
wrote, “I am mentally ill.” ECF 1 at 5. Neither this answer nor the claims raised in the
petition indicate that they are based on newly discovered evidence or a newly
recognized constitutional right. Neither is there any indication that a state-created
impediment prevented him from filing his federal petition on time. Accordingly,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A), the 1-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 was found guilty and sentenced on September 2, 2016. ECF 1 at 1.
He did not file a direct appeal. Id. The deadline for doing so expired on October 3, 2016.
See Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 9.A.(1) and 25.A. Therefore the 1-year period
of limitation began on October 4, 2016, and ended one year later. Because his habeas
corpus petition was not signed until almost four months later on January 31, 2018, it is
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 demonstrate cause to excuse procedural default.
So too, there is no exemption to the 1-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 the petitioner. To obtain a certificate of appealability, the 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 quote marks and citation omitted). As explained, the
petition was not timely filed – and if it were – the claims are unexhausted. Nothing
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 he is challenging an “infraction” imposed on September 2, 2016. It does not
appear he was given any term of imprisonment. https://public.courts.in.gov/mycase/#/vw/Case
(last visited Feb. 8, 2018). At the time Stewart filed this petition, it does not appear that he was
incarcerated on any charge, much less this one.
before the court suggests that jurists of reason could debate the correctness of this
procedural ruling or find a reason to encourage this case to proceed further.
Accordingly, the court declines to issue a certificate of appealability.
For these reasons, the petition (ECF 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/William C. Lee
Judge William C. Lee
United States District Court
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