GOODMAN v. NEW JERSEY STATE PRISON
OPINION. Signed by Judge John Michael Vazquez on 6/20/17. (sr, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
PATRICK A. NOGAN, et al.,
Civil Action No. 16-4591 (JMV)
East Jersey State Prison
Lock Bag R
Rahway, NJ 07065
Petitioner, pro se
LUCILLE M. ROSANO
Special Deputy Attorney General
Essex County Veterans Courthouse
50 West Market Street
Newark, NJ 07102
On behalf of Respondents.
VAZQUEZ, U.S. District Judge
Petitioner initiated this proceeding on July 29, 2016, by filing a petition for writ of habeas
corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (ECF No. 1 at 1.) Petitioner challenges his judgment of conviction
and sentence entered on February 5, 2007, in Superior Court, Essex County, New Jersey. (ECF
No. 7.) Before this Court is Respondents’ Motion to Dismiss Petitioner’s Petition for Writ of
Habeas Corpus as untimely. (“Mot. To Dismiss”) (ECF No. 10.) Petitioner filed a letter-brief in
opposition to the motion to dismiss. (ECF Nos. 12, 13.) For the reasons discussed below, the
Court denies Respondents’ motion to dismiss, and orders Respondents to file a full and complete
answer to the amended petition.
On September 12, 2006, a jury in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County, Law
Division, found Petitioner guilty of murder and weapons charges. (ECF No. 10-3 at 9, 11.) On
February 5, 2007, Petitioner was sentenced to a 30-year term of imprisonment, with a 30-year term
of parole ineligibility. (Id. at 11-12.) Petitioner filed a direct appeal, which was denied by the
Appellate Division on August 9, 2010. State v. Goodman, 415 N.J. Super. 210 (N.J. Super. Ct.
App. Div. Aug. 9, 2010). The New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on January 7, 2011.
State v. Goodman, 205 N.J. 78 (2011).
On April 7, 2011, Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief. State v. Goodman,
Ind. No. 04–11–3543, 2014 WL 113698, at *1 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Jan. 14, 2014). The
Appellate Division reversed and remanded to the PCR Court on January 14, 2014. Id. at *3. After
a holding a hearing, the PCR Court denied relief in a written decision on April 11, 2014. State v.
Goodman, Indictment No. 04–11–3543, 2015 WL 9947700, at *2 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Feb.
3, 2016). The Appellate Division affirmed the PCR Court on February 3, 2016. Id. at *4. On
May 19, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Goodman, 226 N.J.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) provides:
(d)(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
(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 postconviction 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.
After a petitioner seeks review from a State’s highest court, the judgment of conviction
becomes final and the limitations period begins to run after expiration of the 90-day period for
filing a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. Swartz v. Meyers, 204
F.3d 417, 419 (3d Cir. 2000). A properly filed application for State post-conviction review or
other collateral review tolls the habeas statute of limitations. Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408,
Respondents assert that 456 days passed between the date of Petitioner’s judgment of
conviction and the date this Court ordered Respondents to answer the amended habeas petition on
December 2, 2016, making the petition untimely. (ECF No. 10-1 at 5-6.) This calculation reflects
that Petitioner did not file a notice of appeal for direct review until October 31, 2007, months after
the deadline had passed. (Id.)
Petitioner contends that he signed his notice of appeal in court on the day of his sentencing.
(ECF No. 12 at 4.) According to Petitioner, the exhibit that Respondents submitted (Respondents’
Exhibit D, ECF No. 10-3 at 14) in support of their assertion that Petitioner’s notice of appeal was
not filed until October 31, 2007, is not the original notice of appeal that Petitioner signed. (Id.)
Petitioner asserts his direct appeal was timely. (Id.)
The issue before the Court is when Petitioner’s judgment became final pursuant to §
2244(d)(1), triggering the start of the one-year statute of limitations. In Kapral v. United States,
the Third Circuit Court of Appeals addressed when a criminal conviction becomes “final” within
the meaning of the limitations provision of 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Kapral v. U.S., 166 F.3d 565, 566
(3d Cir. 1999). The court noted that its holding applied to the definition of “final” judgments under
both § 2255 and under § 2244(d)(1)(A) for state prisoners. Id. at 574-75 (“we see no principled
reason to treat state and federal habeas petitioners differently.”) The court held:
a “judgment of conviction becomes final” within the meaning of §
2255 on the later of (1) the date on which the Supreme Court affirms
the conviction and sentence on the merits or denies the defendant's
timely filed petition for certiorari, or (2) the date on which the
defendant's time for filing a timely petition for certiorari review
expires. If a defendant does not pursue a timely direct appeal to the
court of appeals, his or her conviction and sentence become final,
and the statute of limitation begins to run, on the date on which the
time for filing such an appeal expired.
In this case, the Appellate Division’s opinion on direct appeal does not address whether
Petitioner’s notice of appeal was timely. State v. Goodman, 415 N.J. Super. 210, 236 (N.J. Super.
Ct. App. Div. Aug. 9, 2010). The Appellate Division decided Petitioner’s claims on the merits,
suggesting that Petitioner’s appeal was not untimely. But even if the Appellate Division had found
Petitioner’s notice of appeal untimely and permitted Petitioner to appeal out-of-time, his judgment
of conviction was not final for purposes of § 2244(d)(1)(A) until direct review concluded. See
Jimenez v. Quarterman, 555 U.S. 113, 121 (2009) (“[w]e hold that, where a state court grants a
criminal defendant the right to file an out-of-time direct appeal during state collateral review, but
before the defendant has first sought federal habeas relief, his judgment is not yet “final” for
purposes of § 2244(d)(1)(A).”)
After the Appellate Division affirmed Petitioner’s judgment of conviction, the New Jersey
Supreme Court denied certification on January 11, 2011. Petitioner then had ninety days to file a
petition for certiorari review. Therefore, Petitioner’s judgment of conviction became final on April
7, 2011, pursuant to Kapral. On the same day, Petitioner filed his petition for post-conviction
relief. Thus, the statute of limitations was tolled immediately.
Petitioner’s post-conviction proceedings concluded on May 19, 2016. See Lawrence v.
Florida, 549 U.S. 327, 332 (2007) (“State review ends when the state courts have finally resolved
an application for state postconviction relief . . . after the State’s highest court has issued its
mandate or denied review . . .”) Petitioner filed his habeas petition in this Court on July 29, 2016,
well within the one-year statute of limitations. Although the Court administratively terminated the
petition because Petitioner did not pay the filing fee, administrative termination is not a dismissal
for purposes of the statute of limitations. (Opinion, ECF No. 3 at 2, n. 1.) The petition was timely
filed on July 29, 2016. The case was reopened, and Petitioner filed an amended habeas petition
on November 23, 2016. (ECF No. 7.)
For the reasons discussed above, the Court denies Respondent’s motion to dismiss the
petition as untimely.
An appropriate Order follows.
Date: June 20, 2017
At Newark, New Jersey
s/ John Michael Vazquez
JOHN MICHAEL VAZQUEZ
United States District Judge
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