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Pearson v. State

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

December 21, 2018

MARVIN PEARSON
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI and ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI RESPONDENTS

          ORDER OF DISMISSAL

          NEAL B. BIGGERS, JR. SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner Marvin Pearson, an inmate housed at the Marshall County Correctional Facility, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his pleas and sentences for three counts of armed robbery and his parole ineligibility attendant to those convictions.

         I. Background

         In July 2011, Pearson pleaded guilty to three counts of armed robbery in the Circuit Court of Tunica County and was sentenced to a term of fifteen years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections without the possibility of parole. Docs. #8-1 and #8-2. After filing unsuccessful post-conviction actions in the circuit court, Pearson filed the instant petition for federal habeas relief. See Doc. #1. After being directed to respond to the petition, Respondents subsequently moved to for dismissal. See Doc. #8. Pearson has failed to timely respond to Respondents' motion, and this matter is now ripe for consideration.

         II. Timeliness

         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 Respondents' motion should be granted turns on the statute'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. Felder v. Johnson, 204 F.3d 168, 170-71 (5th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).

         By statute, there is no direct appeal from a guilty plea. See Miss. Code Ann. § 99-35-101. Therefore, Pearson's convictions became final on July 5, 2011, the date on which he was sentenced on his guilty plea. See Doc. #8-2; Roberts v. Cockrell, 319 F.3d 690 (5th Cir. 2003) (holding that a judgment becomes final “by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review”). Therefore, unless Pearson properly filed a post-conviction application as contemplated by 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2) on or before July 5, 2012, his federal habeas petition is untimely.

         The records submitted by Respondents demonstrate that Pearson has filed two motions for post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court of Tunica County, Mississippi, but that neither were filed prior to July 7, 2012. The first motion for post-conviction relief was signed by Pearson on March 5, 2014 and stamped as “filed” by the circuit court on March 12, 2014. See Doc. #8-3 (Cause No. 2014-0046). That motion was ultimately dismissed for lack of merit by Order filed September 15, 2014. See Doc. #8-4. Thereafter, Pearson signed a second motion for post-conviction relief on July 8, 2015, which was stamped “filed” by the circuit court on November 13, 2015. See Doc. #8-6 (Cause No. 2015-0138). The post-conviction motion was denied as untimely, successive, and for lack of merit. See Doc. #8-7. Pearson appealed this decision to the Mississippi Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal as untimely on March 29, 2018. See Doc. #8-8. Pearson sought both rehearing and certiorari review of that decision, but those motions were likewise either denied or dismissed. See Doc. #8-9. Therefore, because ...


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