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Reeves v. Shaw

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

June 26, 2019

EDMOND DENTON REEVES PETITIONER
v.
FRANK SHAW RESPONDENT

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOHN C. GARGIULO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         BEFORE THE COURT is a Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody, filed by Petitioner Edmond Denton Reeves in January 2019. The Petition challenges Reeves' 2013 convictions for second degree murder, first degree arson, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Respondent Frank Shaw has filed a Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 6), asserting that Reeves' Petition is barred by the one-year statute of limitations in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Having considered the submissions of the parties, the record, and relevant legal authority, the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge concludes that Reeves' Petition is barred by the one-year statute of limitations and recommends that Respondent's Motion to Dismiss be granted and Petitioner's request for relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Reeves is a postconviction inmate in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC). In October 2012, a grand jury in George County, Mississippi, indicted Reeves for deliberate design murder, first degree, arson, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. (ECF No. 6-1). In October 2013, Reeves pleaded guilty to second degree murder, first degree arson, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Reeves admitted that that he shot his father in the chest with a shotgun and in the head with a rifle. (ECF No. 7-2, at 17). Reeves admitted that he then burned the body and residence of the victim. Id. at 17-18. Reeves had previously been convicted in the State of Louisiana of vehicular manslaughter and acknowledged he was unlawfully in the possession of firearms. Id. at 17-18.

         The George County Circuit Court sentenced Reeves to serve forty years without parole in the custody of MDOC for second degree murder, with fifteen years suspended and five years of post-release supervision. (ECF No. 6-3). The Circuit Court sentenced Reeves to serve fifteen years for arson and ten years for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, with all sentences to run concurrently. Id.

         Reeves filed a motion for postconviction relief in George County Circuit Court in October 2016. The Circuit Court denied the motion for postconviction relief in November 2016. Reeves appealed. The Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed the Circuit Court's decision in March 2018. Reeves' requests for rehearing and certiorari review were denied. See Reeves v. State, 256 So.3d 632 (Miss. Ct. App. 2018), reh'g denied, Aug. 7, 2018, cert. denied, Nov. 8, 2018.

         Reeves filed the instant § 2254 Petition for federal habeas relief in January 2019. Respondent asserts that Reeves' Petition must be dismissed because it is barred by a one-year statute of limitations and neither statutory nor equitable tolling applies. Reeves contends that that the statute of limitations was tolled because he filed a motion for postconviction relief in Circuit Court that was not fully exhausted until November 2018. Alternatively, Reeves contends that equitable tolling applies because his mental incompetency prevented him from timely filing a petition for federal habeas corpus relief.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Before considering the merits of a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a writ of habeas corpus, the Court must first determine if all procedural steps necessary to preserve each issue for federal review have been taken. The first consideration is whether the petition was timely filed. Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), a state prisoner is subject to a one-year period of limitations for filing a § 2254 application:

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 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 ...

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