Goodwin v. State of Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment (Filing No. 13 ) is granted. Petitioner's habeas petition is dismissed with prejudice, and the court will not issue a certificate of appealability in this matter. Petitione r's Motion for Hearing (Filing No. 16 ) and Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Filing No. 17 ) are denied as moot. The court will enter a separate judgment in accordance with this order. Ordered by Senior Judge Richard G. Kopf. (Copy mailed to pro se party)(GJG)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
STATE OF NEBRASKA,
This matter is before the court on Petitioner Jordan Goodwin’s Petition for
Writ of Habeas Corpus (“habeas petition”). (Filing No. 1.) Respondent argues that
the habeas petition is barred by the limitations period set forth in 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d). (Filing No. 13; Filing No. 15.) The court agrees and will dismiss the
habeas petition with prejudice.
On August 11, 2008, in the District Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, a
jury found Petitioner guilty of second degree murder and use of a deadly weapon
to commit a felony. (Filing No. 14-3 at CM/ECF p. 1.) The state district court
sentenced Petitioner to 50 to 50 years for second degree murder and 10 to 10 years
for use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 2.)
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On November 20, 2009, the Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed Petitioner’s
convictions and sentences on direct appeal. (Filing No. 14-1 at CM/ECF p. 2.);
State v. Goodwin, 774 N.W.2d 733 (Neb. 2009).
On August 20, 2012, Petitioner filed a motion for postconviction relief in the
state district court. (Filing No. 14-4 at CM/ECF p. 1.) The district court denied
postconviction relief without an evidentiary hearing. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 31-38.)
On June 14, 2016, the Nebraska Court of Appeals affirmed the state district
court’s denial of postconviction relief in a memorandum opinion. (Filing No. 14-2
at CM/ECF p. 3.); State v. Goodwin, 2016 WL 3512052 (Neb. App. 2016). On
August 2, 2016, the Nebraska Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition for
further review. (Id.)
Petitioner filed his habeas petition on August 15, 2016. (Filing No. 1.)
Respondent filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, brief in support, and the
relevant state court records. (Filing No. 13; Filing No. 14; Filing No. 15.)
Petitioner filed a “Motion for evidentrary (sic) hearing” in response. (Filing No.
16.) Respondent notified the court that it did not intend to file a response. (Filing
No. 18.) This matter is now fully submitted for disposition.
A. Statute of Limitations
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”),
110 Stat. 1214, establishes a one-year limitation period for state prisoners to file
for federal habeas relief that runs from the latest of four specified dates:
(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
(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
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). However, the statute of limitations period is tolled while a
state post-conviction or other collateral review is pending. King v. Hobbs, 666 F.3d
1132, 1135 (8th Cir. 2012) (citing § 2244(d)(2)).
1. § 2244(d)(1)(A)
Petitioner did not file his habeas petition within one year of “the date on
which [his] judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the
expiration of the time for seeking such review.” § 2244(d)(1)(A). Petitioner’s
conviction became final on February 18, 2010, which is ninety days after the
Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and sentences on direct appeal.
See Gonzalez v. Thaler, 132 S.Ct. 641, 653–54 (2012) (holding that, for petitioners
who do not pursue direct review all the way to the United States Supreme Court, a
judgment becomes final “when the time for pursuing direct review in [the Supreme
Court], or in state court, expires.”); King v. Hobbs, supra (“If the Supreme Court
has jurisdiction to review the direct appeal, the judgment becomes final ninety days
after the conclusion of the prisoner's direct criminal appeals in the state system.”)
(citing Sup. Ct. R. 13.1). Thus, Petitioner had until February 18, 2011, to file his
habeas petition. He did not file it until August 15, 2016.
Petitioner’s filing of his motion for postconviction relief in state district
court on August 20, 2012, did not toll the statute of limitations because it had
already expired. See Painter v. Iowa, 247 F.3d 1255, 1256 (8th Cir. 2001) (holding
“the time between the date that direct review of a conviction is completed and the
date that an application for state post-conviction relief is filed counts against the
one-year period”). Petitioner’s habeas petition is untimely under § 2244(d)(1)(A).
2. § 2244(d)(1)(B)
In his “Motion for evidentrary (sic) hearing,” Petitioner asserts that he could
not file his habeas petition during the one-year limitations period because he did
not have “an adequate law library or legal help” during that time. (Filing No. 16 at
CM/ECF p. 1.) He states that he “made several attempts to file an appeal, but only
came to be made aware of the absence of such legal resources.” (Id.) He claims
that “there was no law library suited to accomadate (sic) the needs of such party
seeking to file an appeal pro se.” (Id. at CM/ECF p. 2.) Petitioner claims he was
“held in lim-bo (sic).” (Id.) The court liberally construes Petitioner’s argument to
be that a state-created impediment prevented Petitioner from filing a timely habeas
Under § 2244(d)(1)(B), the one-year limitations period is tolled until “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.” Petitioner’s conclusory
allegations about inadequate legal resources do not establish that Petitioner is
entitled to statutory tolling under § 2244(d)(1)(B). See Finch v. Miller, 491 F.3d
424, 427 (8th Cir. 2007) (no statutory tolling under § 2244(d)(1)(B) where prisoner
failed “to demonstrate that the alleged shortcomings in the library or legal
assistance program hindered his efforts to pursue a legal claim.”) (quoting Lewis v.
Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351 (1996)). In short, Petitioner fails to show that State
action prevented him from filing a timely habeas petition. Indeed, his allegations
suggest that Petitioner chose not to file it. Petitioner is not entitled to the benefit of
B. Equitable Tolling
The court, alternatively, liberally construes Petitioner’s argument to be that
he is entitled to equitable tolling. Generally, a litigant seeking equitable tolling
must establish two elements: “(1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently,
and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way.” Walker v. Norris,
436 F.3d 1026, 1032 (8th Cir. 2006). Equitable tolling is proper “only when
extraordinary circumstances beyond a prisoner’s control make it impossible to file
a petition on time .” Runyan v. Burt, 521 F.3d 942, 945 (8th Cir. 2008) (internal
quotation marks omitted). As such, “equitable tolling is an exceedingly narrow
window of relief.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). However, “[e]ven in the
case of an unrepresented prisoner alleging a lack of legal knowledge or legal
resources, equitable tolling has not been warranted.” Kreutzer v. Bowersox, 231
F.3d 460, 463 (8th Cir. 2000). Moreover, Petitioner’s conclusory allegations do not
establish that Petitioner is entitled to equitable tolling, and instead, filing his
habeas petition five years after the limitations period expired shows that he failed
to pursue his rights diligently.
III. CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
A petitioner cannot appeal an adverse ruling on his or her petition for writ of
habeas corpus under § 2254 unless he or she is granted a certificate of
appealability. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1); 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2); Fed. R. App. P.
22(b)(1). The standards for certificates (1) where the district court reaches the
merits or (2) where the district court rules on procedural grounds are set for in
Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484-485 (2000). The court has applied the
appropriate standard and determined Petitioner is not entitled to a certificate of
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
Respondent’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Filing No. 13) is
Petitioner’s habeas petition is dismissed with prejudice, and the court
will not issue a certificate of appealability in this matter.
Petitioner’s Motion for Hearing (Filing No. 16) and Motion for
Appointment of Counsel (Filing No. 17) are denied as moot.
The court will enter a separate judgment in accordance with this order.
Dated this 9th day of March, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge
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