Tyler v. Collier
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION entered. Tyler's challenges to his 2004 conviction are DISMISSED as time-barred. This case is DISMISSED. Any remaining pending motions are DENIED as moot. The Court will not issue a certificate of appealability. (Signed by Judge Vanessa D Gilmore) Parties notified. (wbostic, 4)
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
March 31, 2017
David J. Bradley, Clerk
CIVIL ACTION NO. H-16-2328
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION
The petitioner, Michael Tyler, seeks habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging
a state-court conviction for capital murder. Because Tyler filed this suit too late, it must be
A jury found Tyler guilty of capital murder and, on May 26, 2004, imposed a life sentence.
(Cause Number 936600). The Fourteenth Court of Appeals of Texas affirmed Tyler's conviction
and sentence on June 21, 2005. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused Tyler's petition for
http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us/. Tyler filed an application for state habeas corpus relief on July
30,2012, which the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied without written order on August 21,
2013. Tyler filed a second application for state habeas corpus relief on December 11, 20 12, which
the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied without written order on findings of the trial court on
August 21, 2013. Tyler filed a third application for state habeas corpus relief on August 6, 2015,
which the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed as a successive application on November 4,
On August 2, 2016, this court received Tyler's federal petition. Tyler contends that his
conviction is void because he is actually innocent and counsel rendered ineffective assistance.
(Docket Entry No. 1, Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, p. 6; Docket Entry No.2, Petitioner's
Memorandum, pp. 1-5).
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), Pub. L. No. 104132, 110 Stat. 1214 (1996), set a one-year statute oflimitations for federal habeas corpus petitions
filed after April 24, 1996.
The statute provides:
A 1-year period oflimitation 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;
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
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
the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims
presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due
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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
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)-(2).
A district court may raise the time limit on its own and dismiss a petition before answer if
it "plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is
not entitled to relief in the district court." Kiser v. Johnson, 163 F.3d 326, 328 (5th Cir. 1999)
(quoting 28 U.S.C. foil.§ 2254 Rule 4). In an order entered on January 5, 2017, this court directed
Tyler to file a written statement by February 7, 2017, showing why this court should not dismiss his
petition as time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244( d). (Docket Entry No. 5). Tyler complied. (Docket
Entry No. 6).
Tyler's state-court conviction became final when the time for filing a petition for a writ of
certiorari expired, 90 days after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied review. Supreme Court
Rule 13.1 (West 2002).
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused Tyler's petition for
discretionary review on January 25, 2006. Tyler's deadline for filing a petition for a writ of certiorari
was April25, 2006. The limitations period ended one year later, on April25, 2007. Tyler did not
file this federal petition until August 2, 2016.
A properly filed application for state postconviction relief may extend the limitations period.
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2) (West 1997). Tyler's state habeas applications did not extend the April25,
The one-year statute oflimitations can be equitably tolled, but only in cases presenting "rare
and exceptional circumstances." Davis v. Johnson, 158 F.3d 806, 810-11 (5th Cir. 1998); Felder
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v. Johnson, 204 F.3d 168, 171-72 (5th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 1035 (2000). "'The
doctrine of equitable tolling preserves a plaintiff's claims when strict application of the statute of
limitations would be inequitable."' United States v. Patterson, 211 F .3d 927, 930-31 (5th Cir. 2000)
(quoting Davis, 158 F.3d at 810). A habeas petitioner has the burden of proving that he is entitled
to equitable tolling. Phillips, 216 F.3d at 511. '"Equitable tolling applies principally where the
plaintiff is actively misled by the defendant about the cause of action or is prevented in some
extraordinary way from asserting his rights."' Coleman v. Johnson, 184 F.3d 398, 402 (5th Cir.
1999) (quoting Rashidi v. American President Lines, 96 F.3d 124, 128 (5th Cir. 1996)), cert. denied,
529 U.S. 1057 (2000); see also Melancon v. Kaylo, 259 F.3d 401,408 (5th Cir. 2001). Neither "a
plaintiff's unfamiliarity with the legal process nor his lack of representation during the applicable
filing period merits equitable tolling." Turner v. Johnson, 177 F.3d 390, 392 (5th Cir.), cert. denied,
120 S. Ct. 504 (1999). "Equitable tolling is appropriate when, despite all due diligence, a plaintiff
is unable to discover essential information bearing on the existence of his claim." Fisher, at 715
Tyler asserts that his actual innocence precludes the dismissal of this § 2254 petition.
(Docket Entry No. 6, Petitioner's Response, p. 1). The one-year limitation period contains no
explicit exemption for litigants claiming actual innocence of the crimes of which they have been
convicted. In this respect, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has recognized that a petitioner's
claims of actual innocence are relevant to the timeliness ofhis petition if they justifY equitable tolling
of the limitation period. See Felder v. Johnson, 204 F.3d 168, 171 (5th Cir. 2000); accord Cousin
v. Lensing, 310 F.3d 843,849 (5th Cir. 2002).
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