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Thomas v. King

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

September 24, 2014

WILLIE L. THOMAS, Petitioner,
v.
RON KING, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

NEAL B. BIGGERS, Jr., District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on the pro se petition of Willie L. Thomas, Mississippi prisoner K4667, for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Respondent has moved to dismiss the petition as time-barred pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244, and Petitioner has responded to the motion. The matter is now ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, Respondent's motion is granted, and the instant petition will be dismissed with prejudice.

Facts and Procedural History

In the Circuit Court of Bolivar County, Mississippi, Petitioner was convicted of attempted sexual battery of a nineteen year-old intellectually disabled female and was sentenced on November 10, 2000, to serve a term of fifteen years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. (Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. A). The Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction and sentence on August 20, 2002. Thomas v. State, 824 So.2d 648 (Miss. Ct. App. 2002) (Cause No. 2000-KA-01962-COA); (Mot. to Dismiss. Ex. B). Petitioner filed an motion for rehearing that was denied as untimely by Order filed on November 26, 2002. (Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. C).

Thereafter, Petitioner signed an application for State post-conviction relief that was notarized by prison officials on October 3, 2003, and was stamped as "filed" with the Mississippi Supreme Court on November 5, 2003. (Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. D). This application was denied by Order filed February 4, 2004, and Petitioner's subsequent motion for rehearing was denied by Order filed April 7, 2004. (Mot. to Dismiss, Exs. E and F). Petitioner filed a second State postconviction application in January 2014. (Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. G). That application was denied by Order filed February 20, 2014. (Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. H). Petitioner then filed for the instant petition for federal habeas relief, dating the petition "April 2014." (ECF No. 2, p.18). The petition was mailed on May 1, 2014, and it was stamped as "filed" in this Court on May 5, 2014. (ECF No. 2, pp.1 and 26).

On August 18, 2014, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the instant action, arguing that the petition is untimely. In response, Petitioner filed a "Motion to Reconsider" the motion to dismiss, asserting that his claims are jurisdictional and require the Court's consideration despite the timing of his federal habeas petition.

Legal Standard

The instant petition for writ of habeas corpus is subject to the statute of limitations of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). Egerton v. Cockrell, 334 F.3d 433, 436 (5th Cir. 2003). The issue of whether Respondent's motion should be granted turns on the statue's limitation period, 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 the exercise of due diligence.

28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). The federal limitations period is tolled while a "properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review" is pending. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2). In "rare and exceptional circumstances, " the limitations period may be equitably tolled. ...


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