United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
A. SANDERS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on the petition by Kenneth
Williams for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. The State has moved to dismiss the petition as
untimely filed. The petitioner has not replied, and the
deadline to do so has expired. The matter is ripe for
resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned
recommends that the State's motion to dismiss be granted,
and the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus
should be dismissed as untimely filed.
Corpus Relief Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
writ of habeas corpus, a challenge to the legal
authority under which a person may be detained, is ancient.
Duker, The English Origins of the Writ of Habeas Corpus: A
Peculiar Path to Fame, 53 N.Y.U.L.Rev. 983 (1978); Glass,
Historical Aspects of Habeas Corpus, 9 St. John's L.Rev.
55 (1934). It is “perhaps the most important writ known
to the constitutional law of England, ” Secretary
of State for Home Affairs v. O'Brien, A.C. 603, 609
(1923), and it is equally significant in the United States.
Article I, § 9, of the Constitution ensures that the
right of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be
suspended, except when, in the case of rebellion or invasion,
public safety may require it. Habeas Corpus, 20 Fed.
Prac. & Proc. Deskbook § 56. Its use by the federal
courts was authorized in Section14 of the Judiciary Act of
1789. Habeas corpus principles developed over time
in both English and American common law have since been
The statutory provisions on habeas corpus appear as
sections 2241 to 2255 of the 1948 Judicial Code. The
recodification of that year set out important procedural
limitations and additional procedural changes were added in
1966. The scope of the writ, insofar as the statutory
language is concerned, remained essentially the same,
however, until 1996, when Congress enacted the Antiterrorism
and Effective Death Penalty Act, placing severe restrictions
on the issuance of the writ for state prisoners and setting
out special, new habeas corpus procedures for
capital cases. The changes made by the 1996 legislation are
the end product of decades of debate about habeas
Id. Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a federal court may
issue the writ when a person is held in violation of the
federal Constitution or laws, permitting a federal
court to order the discharge of any person held by a
state in violation of the supreme law of the land.
Frank v. Mangum, 237 U.S. 309, 311, 35 S.Ct. 582,
588, 59 L.Ed. 969 (1915).
and Procedural Posture
Kenneth Williams is in the custody of the Mississippi
Department of Corrections and is currently housed at the
Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi. Mr.
Williams was convicted of murder in the Circuit Court of
Lowndes County, Mississippi and sentenced on November 20,
1991, to serve a term of life in the custody of the
Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). See
Exhibit A. The Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed
Williams' conviction and sentence on March 7, 1995.
See Williams v. State, 662 So.2d 194 (Miss. Ct. App.
1995) (Mem) (Cause No. 91-KA-01179). It appears that that Mr.
Williams did not seek rehearing from the court of
appeals' decision. As such, the court has calculated
Williams' judgment as “final” fourteen (14)
days after the Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed his
conviction and sentence, i.e., March 21, 1995 (March
7, 1995, plus fourteen (14) days). See Roberts v.
Cockrell, supra; Ott v. Johnson, 192 F.3d 510, 513
records of the Mississippi Supreme Court reflect that
Williams has filed numerous applications for leave to seek
post-conviction relief in that court, as well as a motion for
post-conviction relief that was improperly filed in the trial
court and dismissed on appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
However, as will be discussed below, none of these pleadings
were filed prior to the April 24, 1997, deadline for seeking
federal habeas corpus relief.
first of Williams' post-conviction filings was signed on
January 13, 1998, and stamped as “filed” in the
Mississippi Supreme Court on January 15, 1998. See
SCR, Cause No. 98-M-00041. Williams' application was
denied by Order of the Mississippi Supreme Court filed April
20, 1998. See Exhibit C.
October 21, 2001, Mr. Williams signed an application for
leave to proceed with state post-conviction collateral relief
that was stamped as “filed” in the Mississippi
Supreme Court on October 26, 2001. See SCR, Cause
No. 2001-M-01665. Mr. Williams' application was dismissed
in part and denied in part by Order of the Mississippi
Supreme Court filed November 7, 2001. See Exhibit D.
In its Order, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that all
claims in the application, with the exception of
Williams' claim of an illegal sentence, were procedurally
barred as a successive writ and should be dismissed.
Id. With regard to Williams' claim of an illegal
sentence, the court denied the claim for want of merit.
February 18, 2003, Mr. Williams signed an application for
leave to seek post-conviction collateral relief, which was as
“filed” in the Mississippi Supreme Court on
February 21, 2003. See SCR, Cause No. 2003-M-00324.
The application was dismissed as a successive writ by Order
of the Mississippi Supreme Court filed April 2, 2003.
See Exhibit E.
little over four years later, on July 24, 2007, Mr. Williams
signed an application for leave to seek post-conviction
relief, which was stamped as “filed” in the
Mississippi Supreme Court on July 26, 2007. SCR, Cause No.
2006-M-00238. The Mississippi Supreme Court dismissed
Williams' application as a successive writ by Order filed
May 19, 2008. See Exhibit F.
on June 1, 2012, Mr. Williams signed another application for
leave to seek post-conviction relief, which was stamped
“filed” in the Mississippi Supreme Court on June
5, 2012. See SCR, Cause No. 2012-M-00888. The
application was dismissed as both untimely filed and as a
successive petition, as well as for lack of merit, by Order
filed July 11, 2012. See Exhibit G. Mr. Williams
signed an additional application for leave to seek
post-conviction relief on April 2, 2014, which was docketed
in the same cause number and stamped as “filed”