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Strong v. State

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Delta Division

April 2, 2014

RONNIE RAY STRONG, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, ET AL., Respondents, RONNIE RAY STRONG, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, ET AL., Respondents.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

MICHAEL P. MILLS, Chief District Judge.

This matter comes before the court on the pro se petition of Ronnie Ray Strong for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The State has moved to dismiss the petition as untimely filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2). Strong has responded to the motion, and the State has replied. Strong has also filed a supplement to the petition in the form of a letter to the court. The matter is ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the State's motion to dismiss will be granted and the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus dismissed as untimely filed.

Facts and Procedural Posture

Strong was sentenced, as a habitual offender, to serve a term of fifteen years on Count I and ten years on Count II, in an order, which was entered nunc pro tunc for July 8, 2011, the date upon which Strong had been sentenced in open court. On May 8, 2012, the Panola County Circuit Court entered an "Order Clarifying Sentencing Order, " correcting a scrivener's error in the original judgment of the court. That order stated "on June 10, 2011, Strong entered a plea of guilty to the strong armed robbery and nolo contendere to felon in possession of a weapon..." and clarified that the original judgment should have listed Count II as felon in possession of a weapon, rather than a firearm - a distinction only as to the manner in which Strong carried out the crime, not the substance of the statute under which he was convicted. The statute in question, Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-5, operates the same as long as the weapon used is one of those listed. The statute prohibits convicted felons from possessing knives or firearms:

It shall be unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony under the laws of this state, any other state, or of the United States to possess any firearm or any bowie knife, dirk knife, butcher knife, switchblade knife, metallic knuckles, blackjack, or any muffler or silencer for any firearm unless such person has received a pardon for such felony, has received a relief from disability pursuant to Section 925(c) of Title 18 of the United States Code, or has received a certificate of rehabilitation pursuant to subsection (3) of this section.

Miss. Code Ann. § 97-37-5(1).

The Panola County Circuit Court Clerk's Office has no record that Strong has sought state post-conviction collateral relief. In his petition, Strong states that he has appealed to "the Supreme Court in New Orleans, " presumably the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and the Mississippi Supreme Court; however, there is no record of such a filing in either court.

One-Year Limitations Period

Decision in this case is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d), which 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 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 the 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 ...

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