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Saucier v. Winkel

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

March 4, 2015

EDDIE SAUCIER, Petitioner,
v.
EYDIE WINKEL, Respondent.

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

LOUIS GUIROLA, Jr., Chief District Judge.

BEFORE THE COURT is the Report and Recommendation [12] entered by United States Magistrate Judge John C. Gargiulo in which he recommends that Eddie Saucier's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254 should be dismissed as untimely. Saucier filed an Objection to the Report and Recommendation, and the respondent Eydie Winkel filed a Response in opposition to the Objection. After reviewing the submissions of the parties, the record in this matter, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the Report and Recommendation should be adopted as the opinion of this Court, and the Motion to Dismiss [9] filed by Winkel should be granted.

BACKGROUND

On March 17, 2005, Saucier was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. (Judgment, ECF No. 9-1). The Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed Saucier's conviction and sentence on February 27, 2007. Saucier v. Mississippi, 950 So.2d 262 (Miss. Ct. App. 2007). Saucier filed a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief on March 29, 2012, which was denied by the Mississippi Supreme Court on May 17, 2012. (Mot., ECF No. 9-3; Order, ECF No. 9-4). Saucier's Motion for Reconsideration of the denial of his Motion for Post-Conviction Relief was denied on July 5, 2012. (Order, ECF No. 9-5).

Saucier signed the present Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus on March 13, 2014. (Petition, ECF No. 1). Saucier claims that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance, because counsel failed to attack the credibility of one of the State's primary witnesses, Gregory Clayton. Saucier identifies two witnesses - Johnny Woodland and Billy R. Ford, Jr. - who would allegedly testify that Clayton had a drug addiction and that he attempted to rob them. Saucier also claims that Clayton had served as Saucier's "pro se attorney" or "writ writer, " because Clayton helped Saucier read his trial transcript. Saucier thus claims that Clayton's testimony at trial violated attorney-client privilege. Winkel has filed a Motion to Dismiss Saucier's Petition as untimely.

Magistrate Judge Gargiulo entered a Report and Recommendation proposing that the Motion to Dismiss should be granted. Saucier filed an Objection, asserting for the first time that there is a new witness who would testify that Clayton received a shorter sentence in exchange for testifying against Saucier. Saucier also presents new arguments that he is entitled to equitable tolling, because he cannot read well and he has been taking very strong psychiatric medication "du[r]ing the time he spent in jail an[d] in late years to effect he did not know what re[a]lly was going on." (Objection at 1-2, ECF No. 14). Winkel filed a Response contesting the new arguments contained in Saucier's Objection.

DISCUSSION

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) provides:

(d)(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for 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 postconviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted ...

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