Taylor v. Thaler
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS that the Court DISMISS as Time-Barred Taylor's 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by William Charles Taylor and DENY the issuance of a COA. Signed by Judge Andrew W. Austin. (klw, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
WILLIAM CHARLES TAYLOR
Director, Texas Dept. of Criminal JusticeCorrectional Institutions Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
THE HONORABLE LEE YEAKEL
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.
Before the Court is Petitioner’s Application for Habeas Corpus Relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. 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 dismissed.
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 331st Judicial District Court of Travis County, Texas, in cause number D-1-DC-300708.
Petitioner was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 23 years
in prison on September 12, 2007. Petitioner indicates his appeal was dismissed on November 13,
2007. Petitioner did not timely file a petition for discretionary review.
Petitioner also challenged his conviction in at least four state applications for habeas corpus
relief. Petitioner asserts he filed his first state application on May 6 or May 13, 2009. The Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals denied Petitioner’s first application without written order on the findings
of the trial court without a hearing on July 28, 2010. Ex parte Taylor, Appl. No. 58,904-06.
Petitioner indicates he filed his second state application on September 27, 2010. The Texas Court
of Criminal Appeals dismissed the application as successive on November 10, 2010. Ex parte
Taylor, Appl. No. 58,904-07. Petitioner does not make clear the date he filed his third application.
Nevertheless, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the third application as successive on
April 6, 2011. Ex parte Taylor, Appl. No. 58,904-08. Petitioner indicates he filed his fourth state
application on May 2, 2011. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals dismissed the fourth application
as successive on July 13, 2011. Ex parte Taylor, Appl. No. 58,904-09.
Petitioner’s Grounds for Relief
Petitioner raises the following grounds for relief:
The trial court failed to appoint counsel for an appeal;
The trial court failed to appoint counsel for a motion for new trial;
He received ineffective assistance of counsel; and
He is actually innocent of being a habitual felony offender.
II. DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Statute of Limitations
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 December 13, 2007, at the conclusion
of time during which he could have timely filed a petition for discretionary review with the Texas
Court of Criminal Appeals, which according to Tex. R. App. R. 68.2, is 30 days following the court
of appeals’ judgment affirming his conviction. Gonzalez v. Thaler, 623 F.3d 222 (5th Cir. 2010)
(holding a conviction becomes final when the time for seeking further direct review in the state court
expires). Therefore, Petitioner had until December 13, 2008, to timely file his federal application
for habeas corpus relief. Petitioner did not execute his federal application until February 16, 2012,
after the limitations period had expired. Petitioner’s state applications did not operate to toll the
limitations period, because they were all filed after the limitations period had already expired. Scott
v. Johnson, 227 F.3d 260, 263 (5th Cir. 2000).
Petitioner appears to recognize his application is untimely and suggests his application may
be reviewed under the actual-innocence exception. The one-year limitations period established by
§ 2244(d) contains no explicit exemption for petitioners claiming actual innocence of the crimes of
which they have been convicted. As a consequence, a petitioner’s claim of actual innocence is
relevant to the timeliness of his petition if the claim justifies equitable tolling of the limitations
period. Cousin v. Lensing, 310 F.3d 843, 849 (5th Cir. 2002). The Fifth Circuit has previously held
that such claims do not. Felder v. Johnson, 204 F.3d 168, 171 (5th Cir. 2000) (petitioner’s
unsupported actual innocence claim does not constitute grounds for equitable tolling “given that
many prisoners maintain they are innocent”); Molo v. Johnson, 207 F.3d 773, 775 (5th Cir. 2000)
(petitioner who fails to show factual innocence has not shown how the limitations period made the
habeas corpus remedy inadequate or ineffective for him, since nothing prevented him from filing a
petition before the limitations period expired).
Moreover, a habeas petitioner who seeks to surmount a procedural default through a showing
of “actual innocence” must support his allegations with “new, reliable evidence” that was not
presented at trial and must show that it was more likely than not that, in light of the new evidence,
no juror, acting reasonably, would have voted to find the petitioner guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
See Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 326–27, 115 S. Ct. 851 (1995); see also House v. Bell, 547 U.S.
518, 126 S. Ct. 2064 (2006) (discussing at length the evidence presented by the petitioner in support
of an actual-innocence exception to the doctrine of procedural default under Schlup). “Actual
innocence” in this context refers to factual innocence and not mere legal sufficiency. Bousely v.
United States, 523 U.S. 614, 623–624, 118 S. Ct. 1604 (1998). In this case, Petitioner has made no
attempt to show he was actually innocent.
In addition, 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 dismissed 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 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 5th day of March, 2012.
ANDREW W. AUSTIN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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