Campisi v. Superintendent et al
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS - ACCORDINGLY, this 17th day of May, 2012, upon consideration of Mag. Judge Blewitt's R&R 15 , & petnr.'s objs. thereto 16 are overruled. 2. Pur. to Judge Blewitt's Recommendation, the petn. for a writ of H/C 1 is DISMISSED as untimely. 3. The Clerk of Court shall close this file. (See order for complete details.) Signed by Honorable William W. Caldwell on 5/17/12. (am, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
: CIVIL NO. 1:11-CV-1681
SUPERINTENDENT, SCI-DALLAS, et al., :
The background of this order is as follows:
On April 13, 2012, Magistrate Judge Blewitt issued a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) (Doc. 15) addressing the timeliness of Petitioner Emanuel
Campisi’s Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1). Judge Blewitt concluded that
the petition was not filed within the applicable statute of limitations, and that equitable
tolling did not apply. He therefore recommended that the petition be dismissed as
untimely. Petitioner filed objections (Doc. 16) to the R&R on April 16, 2012. This
matter is now ripe for our review.
Petitioner’s first objection to the R&R is that it fails to accept all of
Petitioner’s factual allegations as true, and to draw all reasonable inferences
therefrom in Petitioner’s favor, in accordance with the standard that governs Rule
12(b)(6) motions to dismiss.1 Specifically, Petitioner argues that Judge Blewitt
improperly dismissed his allegations of mental incompetence. We do not agree that
Judge Blewitt dismissed any allegations. He simply applied the standards of timely
filing and equitable tolling and concluded that the pending petition is untimely.
At its essence, this objection arises from Petitioner’s belief that normal
standards of timeliness and equitable tolling should not apply to a mentally
incompetent individual. Variations on this contention appear throughout Petitioner’s
objections to the R&R. For instance, Petitioner argues that a mentally incompetent
person should not be “required to prove reasonable diligence or other aspects of
equitable tolling” (see Doc. 16 at 6; see also id. at 9). He also contends that, as a
result of his allegations of incompetency, he “is not subject to any deadlines” (id. at 7).
Petitioner fails to cite any legal authority directly supporting these arguments. The
court’s independent research reveals that Third Circuit case law does not support
For instance, in Nara v. Frank, 264 F.3d 310, 319 (3d Cir. 2001), a case
involving a mentally disabled petitioner, the Third Circuit recognized the petitioner’s
Petitioner cites Walker v. True, 399 F.3d 315, 319 n.1 (4th Cir. 2005), to
support the proposition that this standard ought to guide our inquiry. Walker is not
binding authority in this court, and moreover, it is easily distinguishable from this case.
The District Court in Walker was ruling on a motion to dismiss filed by the state. In the
instant case, Judge Blewitt raised the issue of timeliness sua sponte, as Third Circuit
case law permits him to do. See United States v. Bendolph, 409 F.3d 155, 161-62 (3d
Cir. 2005) (quoting Long v. Wilson, 393 F.3d 390, 404) (“[A] federal magistrate judge
may . . . raise sua sponte the AEDPA statute of limitations defense . . . .”). Thus,
Walker does not establish that the standards governing motions to dismiss ought to
guide our analysis. But even if we assume that this is correct, we would nevertheless
overrule Petitioner’s first objection, because we do not agree that Judge Blewitt
improperly dismissed any factual allegations.
obligation to exercise reasonable diligence. It also noted that “mental incompetence is
not a per se reason to toll a statute of limitations. . . . Rather, the alleged mental
incompetence must somehow have affected the petitioner’s ability to file a timely
habeas petition.” Id. at 320 (internal citations omitted). Hence, Petitioner’s allegations
of mental incompetence do not excuse him from showing diligence, nor do they entitle
him to equitable tolling, unless he can make the requisite showings.
We reject Petitioner’s contention that Judge Blewitt erroneously
assumed that Petitioner was competent. We likewise reject his arguments that the
R&R should have applied a different standard. We agree with the R&R’s approach,
under which Petitioner was required to show due diligence and other evidence
establishing the appropriateness of equitable tolling. We also agree with its
conclusion that Petitioner failed to do so. These objections are therefore overruled.
Petitioner’s second objection to the R&R is that it fails to “apply the
presumption in favor of equitable tolling” set forth in Holland v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2549
(2010), and “does not require the State to overcome” this presumption (Doc. 16 at 45). This argument misunderstands the holding of Holland. In Holland, the Supreme
Court joined all the courts of appeals in holding that the AEDPA’s provision on
timeliness is subject to equitable tolling in appropriate cases. In reaching this
conclusion, the Supreme Court noted that the AEDPA’s statute of limitations is not
jurisdictional, and that there is a “rebuttable presumption” that courts may normally
apply equitable tolling to a nonjurisdictional federal statute of limitations. 130 S. Ct. at
2560. Significantly, however, this is not a presumption that equitable tolling is
appropriate in any particular case. To the contrary, the Holland court reaffirmed that
“a petitioner is entitled to equitable tolling only if he shows (1) that he has been
pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his
way and prevented timely filing.” Id. at 2562 (quoting Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S.
408, 418 (2005)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, there was no burden on
the state to overcome a presumption that Petitioner was entitled to equitable tolling in
this case. No such presumption exists. Rather, Petitioner bears the burden of
establishing his entitlement to equitable tolling. This objection is therefore overruled.
Most of Petitioner’s remaining objections to the R&R relate to Petitioner’s
alleged mental illness or incompetence. We have already addressed this issue
above, and any further discussion would be redundant and unnecessary. Nor do any
of Petitioner’s other arguments warrant further discussion.
ACCORDINGLY, this 17th day of May, 2012, upon consideration of
Magistrate Judge Blewitt’s R&R (Doc. 15), and Petitioner’s objections thereto (Doc.
16), it is ORDERED that:
The R&R (Doc. 15) is APPROVED. Petitioner’s objections
thereto (Doc. 16) are overruled.
Pursuant to Judge Blewitt’s Recommendation, the petition for a
writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 1) is DISMISSED as untimely.
The Clerk of Court shall close this file.
/s/ William W. Caldwell
William W. Caldwell
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?