Walker v. Jackson
OPINION AND ORDER Dismissing Petition for Habeas Corpus Without Prejudice. Signed by District Judge Laurie J. Michelson. (KJac)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
LONNIE WALKER, JR.,
Case No. 16-12611
Honorable Laurie J. Michelson
OPINION AND ORDER
DISMISSING PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS WITHOUT PREJUDICE
In 2014, Lonnie Walker, Jr., was convicted in a Michigan court of first-degree criminal
sexual conduct, home invasion, and felonious assault. He was sentenced to 36 to 80 years in
prison for the sexual misconduct conviction. Walker seeks a writ of habeas corpus from this
In a prior order, the Court noted that while Walker only raised two claims of error on
direct appeal, his petition for the writ raised four claims. (R. 6, PID 115.) It thus appeared that
two of Walker’s claims were unexhausted. (R. 6, PID 116.) As such, the Court asked Walker
how he wished to procced: dismiss the two unexhausted claims and have this Court adjudicate
the two exhausted ones, “ask the Court to . . . dismiss his entire habeas petition without
prejudice,” or “ask the Court to . . . hold his habeas petition in abeyance while he pursue[d]
state remedies for his unexhausted claims.” (R. 6, PID 116.)
Walker has elected the third route. He “ask[s] the Court to stay the petition and hold it in
abeyance while the petitioner . . . returns to state court to raise [the] unexhausted claims[.]” (R. 7,
It used to be the case that federal district courts had to dismiss a mixed petition
(exhausted and unexhausted claims) such as Walker’s. See Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509 (1982).
But in Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269 (2005), the Supreme Court recognized that because of the
one-year statute of limitations on habeas corpus petitions imposed by the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (a time bar that did not exist when Lundy was decided),
outright dismissal might prejudice the habeas petitioner. The Court provided the following
example: “[I]f a district court dismisses a mixed petition close to the end of the 1-year period, the
petitioner’s chances of exhausting his claims in state court and refiling his petition in federal
court before the limitations period runs are slim.” Id. at 275. As such, the Court in Rhines held
that district courts had discretion to decide whether to dismiss or hold in abeyance a mixed
petition. See id. at 277–78.
The concern identified in Rhines is not present in this case. The Michigan Supreme Court
denied Walker leave to appeal on March 8, 2016. See People v. Walker, 875 N.W.2d 221 (Mich.
2016). Walker did not seek certiorari from the United States Supreme Court. (R. 1, PID 60.)
Walker’s state-court conviction and sentence thus became “final” (as that term is used in
AEDPA’s statute-of-limitations provision, 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)) 90 days after the Michigan
Supreme Court’s decision, on June 6, 2016. See Gonzalez v. Thaler, — U.S. —, 132 S. Ct. 641,
653, 181 L. Ed. 2d 619 (2012); U.S. Sup. Ct. R. 13.1. It follows that AEDPA’s one-year clock
will expire, at earliest, on June 6, 2017. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). In other words, AEDPA’s
clock still has six months of time left on it. And the clock will be paused as long as “a properly
filed application for State post-conviction” relief remains pending. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2).
Thus, if Walker files his motion for relief from judgment in state court within, say, two months,
he would have four months on AEDPA’s clock to refile a federal petition for habeas corpus after
the state-court proceedings are complete. As this is ample time, Walker’s “chances of exhausting
his claims in state court and refiling his petition in federal court before the limitations period runs
are [not] slim,” Rhines, 544 U.S. at 275.
And there is another reason the Court declines to hold Walker’s petition in abeyance. In
Rhines, the Supreme Court stated: “Because granting a stay effectively excuses a petitioner’s
failure to present his claims first to the state courts, stay and abeyance is only appropriate when
the district court determines there was good cause for the petitioner’s failure to exhaust his
claims first in state court.” 544 U.S. at 277. Walker provides no explanation for why he did not
exhaust the two unexhausted claims in his petition before filing here. (See generally R. 7.) So the
“good cause” that the Supreme Court indicated is required for a stay is lacking.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court DISMISSES Walker’s petition for habeas corpus
s/Laurie J. Michelson
LAURIE J. MICHELSON
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: January 9, 2017
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record
and any unrepresented parties via the Court=s ECF System to their respective email or First Class
U.S. mail addresses disclosed on the Notice of Electronic Filing on January 9, 2017.
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