Gibson v. Thaler
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS; RECOMMENDS that Petitioner's application for writ of habeas corpus 1 be denied in part and dismissed in part with prejudice as time-barred. Signed by Judge Robert Pitman. (td)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
QUINCEY LAKEITH GIBSON,
Director, Texas Dept. of Criminal JusticeCorrectional Institutions
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
The Honorable Sam Sparks, United States District Judge
The Magistrate Judge submits this Report and Recommendation to the District Court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b) and Rule 1(e) of Appendix C of the Local Court Rules of the United
States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Local Rules for the Assignment of Duties to
United States Magistrates, as amended, effective December 1, 2002.
Before the Court is Petitioner’s Application for Habeas Corpus Relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 (Document 1). Petitioner, proceeding pro se, has been granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned finds that Petitioner’s application for writ
of habeas corpus should be denied in part and dismissed in part.
I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Petitioner’s Criminal History
According to Petitioner, the Director has custody of him pursuant to a judgment and sentence
of the 277th Judicial District Court of Williamson County, Texas. Petitioner asserts he was convicted
of possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Petitioner admits
he did not appeal his conviction. He did, however, challenge his conviction in a state application
for habeas corpus relief. Petitioner indicates he filed his application on September 9, 2010. On
February 9, 2011, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied the application without written order
on the trial court’s findings without a hearing.
Petitioner’s Grounds for Relief
Petitioner raises the following grounds for relief:
The trial court erred when it considered trial counsel’s affidavit filed in response to
Petitioner’s state application for habeas corpus relief;
His sentence is void, because the evidence was insufficient to prove his prior
convictions were not state jail felonies;
He received ineffective assistance of counsel; and
The evidence was insufficient to show that Petitioner possessed 4-200 grams of
II. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Infirmities in State Habeas Proceedings
To the extent Petitioner complains the trial court improperly considered counsel’s affidavit
in the state habeas proceedings his application should be denied. Infirmities in state habeas corpus
proceedings do not constitute grounds for federal habeas corpus relief. Wheat v. Johnson, 238 F.3d
357, 361 (5th Cir. 2001); Vail v. Procunier, 747 F.2d 277 (5th Cir. 1984).
Statute of Limitations
Petitioner’s remaining claims are time-barred and should be dismissed with prejudice. The
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) establishes a one-year statute
of limitations for state inmates seeking federal habeas corpus relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). That
section provides, in relevant part:
(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 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;
(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 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 subsection.
Petitioner’s conviction became final, at the latest, on March 13, 2009, at the conclusion of
time during which he could have appealed his conviction. See TEX . R. APP . P. 26.2(a). Therefore,
Petitioner had until March 13, 2010, to timely file his federal application. Petitioner did not execute
his federal application until March 3, 2011, nearly a year after the limitations period had expired.
Petitioner’s state application did not operate to toll the limitations period, because it was filed on
September 9, 2010, after the limitations period had already expired. Scott v. Johnson, 227 F.3d 260,
263 (5th Cir. 2000).
The record does not reflect that any unconstitutional state action impeded Petitioner from
filing for federal habeas corpus relief prior to the end of the limitations period. Furthermore,
Petitioner has not shown that he did not know the factual predicate of his claims earlier. Finally, the
claims do not concern a constitutional right recognized by the Supreme Court within the last year
and made retroactive to cases on collateral review.
It is recommended that Petitioner’s application for writ of habeas corpus be denied in part
and dismissed in part with prejudice as time-barred.
IV. CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
An appeal may not be taken to the court of appeals from a final order in a habeas corpus
proceeding “unless a circuit justice or judge issues a certificate of appealability.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c) (1)(A). Pursuant to Rule 11 of the Federal Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, effective
December 1, 2009, the district court must issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters
a final order adverse to the applicant.
A certificate of appealability may issue only if a petitioner has made a substantial showing
of the denial of a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). The Supreme Court fully explained
the requirement associated with a “substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right” in
Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484, 120 S. Ct. 1595 (2000). In cases where a district court
rejected a petitioner’s constitutional claims on the merits, “the petitioner must demonstrate that
reasonable jurists would find the district court’s assessment of the constitutional claims debatable
or wrong.” Id. “When a district court denies a habeas petition on procedural grounds without
reaching the petitioner’s underlying constitutional claim, a COA should issue when the petitioner
shows, at least, that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim
of the denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the
district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Id.
In this case, reasonable jurists could not debate the denial or dismissal of the Petitioner’s
section 2254 petition on substantive or procedural grounds, nor find that the issues presented are
adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed. Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 327, 123 S. Ct.
1029 (2003) (citing Slack, 529 U.S. at 484). Accordingly, it is respectfully recommended that the
Court shall not issue a certificate of appealability.
The parties may file objections to this Report and Recommendation. A party filing
objections must specifically identify those findings or recommendations to which objections are
being made. The District Court need not consider frivolous, conclusive, or general objections.
Battles v. United States Parole Comm’n, 834 F.2d 419, 421 (5th Cir. 1987).
A party’s failure to file written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations
contained in this Report within fourteen (14) days after the party is served with a copy of the Report
shall bar that party from de novo review by the district court of the proposed findings and
recommendations in the Report and, except upon grounds of plain error, shall bar the party from
appellate review of unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal conclusions accepted by the
district court. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150-153, 106 S. Ct.
466, 472-74 (1985); Douglass v. United Servs. Auto. Assoc., 79 F.3d 1415 (5th Cir. 1996)(en banc).
To the extent that a party has not been served by the Clerk with this Report and
Recommendation electronically, pursuant to the CM/ECF procedures of this District, the Clerk is
ORDERED to mail such party a copy of this Report and Recommendation by certified mail, return
SIGNED this 8th day of April, 2011.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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