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Ramey v. Giles

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

January 14, 2015

ABRAHAM RAMEY, #160238, Petitioner,
v.
J. C. GILES, et al., Respondents.

RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

WALLACE CAPEL, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This cause of action is before the court on a first and second 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition for habeas corpus relief filed by Abraham Ramey ["Ramey"], a state inmate, on December 28, 2011.[1] In this habeas action, Ramey challenges the life sentence imposed for a first degree theft of property conviction entered against him by the Circuit Court of Barbour County, Alabama pursuant to his guilty plea on February 21, 1996.[2] Ramey did not file a direct appeal of this conviction or sentence. Consequently, the conviction and concomitant sentence became final on April 3, 1996.

Pursuant to the orders of this court, the respondents filed a supplemental answer in which they argue that the instant petition for federal habeas relief is barred by the limitation period applicable to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petitions, see 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1), [3] as Ramey failed to file the petition within the one-year period of limitation mandated by federal law. Specifically, under governing case law, because Ramey's 1996 conviction for theft of property became final on April 3, 1996, a few weeks before the effective date of the AEDPA, the federal limitation period began to run on April 24, 1996. Wilcox v. Fla. Dep't of Corr., 158 F.3d 1209, 1211 (11th Cir. 1998); Goodman v. United States, 151 F.3d 1335, 1337 (11th Cir. 1998). Consequently, federal law requires that Ramey must have filed his § 2254 petition on or before April 24, 1997, exclusive of the time that any properly filed state post-conviction petition related to the theft conviction remained pending in the state courts. The respondents acknowledge that Ramey filed state post-conviction petitions under Rule 32, Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, in June of 1997 and April of 2010 challenging his 1996 theft conviction and sentence.[4] However, the respondents maintain that under governing case law these Rule 32 petitions failed to toll the applicable period of limitation because Ramey did not file the petitions until after expiration of the limitation period on April 24, 1997 and, therefore, the state petitions were not "pending" as required by the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2) for purposes of tolling the federal limitation period. Respondents' Supplemental Answer - Doc. No. 15 at 4; Alexander v. Sec'y, Dep't of Corr., 523 F.3d 1291, 1294 (11th Cir. 2008); Webster v. Moore, 199 F.3d 1256, 1259 (11th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 991 (2000) ("[E]ven properly filed' state-court petitions must be pending' [during the one-year period of limitation] in order to toll the limitations period. A state court petition... that is filed following the expiration of the limitations period cannot toll that period because there is no period remaining to be tolled."); Moore v. Crosby, 321 F.3d 1377, 1381 (11th Cir. 2003) ("While a properly filed' application for post-conviction relief tolls the statute of limitations, it does not reset or restart the statute of limitations once the limitations period has expired. In other words, the tolling provision does not operate to revive the one-year limitations period if such period has expired."); Tinker v. Moore, 255 F.3d 1331, 1335 n.4 (11th Cir. 2001) ("[A] properly filed petition in state court only tolls the time remaining within the federal limitation period."). The respondents further argue that there is no basis for equitable tolling of the limitation period for the fourteen plus years necessary to render Ramey's habeas petition timely filed.

After a thorough review of the record and the arguments presented by the respondents, the court determined that Ramey had failed to demonstrate a basis for either statutory or equitable tolling of the limitation period and, therefore, his federal habeas petition was filed over fourteen (14) years after expiration of the applicable one-year grace period. Based on the foregoing, the court entered an order advising Ramey he failed to file his habeas petition within the requisite one-year grace period directed by federal law. Order of March 15, 2012 - Doc. No. 16. This order also provided Ramey an opportunity to show cause why his habeas petition should not be barred from review by this court as untimely filed. Id. at 7. Ramey filed no response to this order.

Upon review of the pleadings filed by the parties, the undisputed state court record and applicable federal law, the court finds that no evidentiary hearing is required, Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in United States District Courts, and concludes that the present habeas petition is due to be denied as Ramey failed to file the petition within the applicable period of limitation set forth by federal law. Wilcox, 158 F.3d at 1211; Goodman, 151 F.3d at 1337.

II. DISCUSSION

A. The Federal Period of Limitation

The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 became effective on April 24, 1996 and amended the habeas corpus statute to include a one-year period of limitation on petitions filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. This limitation period is codified at 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) and provides that:

(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 ...

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