United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
SUSAN RUSS WALKER, Chief Magistrate Judge.
This case is before the court on a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by Alabama inmate Nathan Williams ("Williams") on January 3, 2013. Doc. No. 1. Williams challenges the Circuit Court of Houston County's denial of his application to proceed in forma pauperis on his state petition for post-conviction relief under Ala.R.Crim.P. 32, which is his third Rule 32 petition attacking his 2007 Houston County convictions for first-degree rape and first-degree sexual abuse. For the reasons that follow, the court finds that Williams's federal petition should be denied.
A. "Denial of Access to Courts"
Williams suggests that he was denied access to the courts when the Circuit Court of Houston County denied his application to proceed in forma pauperis on his state Rule 32 petition. Doc. No. 1 at 6. However, the proper vehicle for a state prisoner to assert a "denial of access to courts" claim is a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, not a habeas corpus action. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 499 (1973). Moreover, a determination by a state court that a petitioner seeking post-conviction relief should not be permitted to proceed in forma pauperis falls outside the purview of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), which restricts federal habeas relief to claims that a state prisoner is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a); 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c); see, e.g., Carroll v. Price, 2015 WL 225468, at *7 (N.D. Ala. Jan. 16, 2015) (unpublished); Tyler v. Crawford, 2008 WL 596218, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 4, 2008) (unpublished). Accordingly, to the extent that Williams' claims are viewed solely as challenges to the state court's denial of his in forma pauperis application (and not as challenges to the validity of his convictions), he fails to present a claim within the scope of federal habeas review.
B. Any Challenge by Williams to His Conviction and Sentence Is Untimely under the AEDPA
To the extent that Williams's instant habeas petition is considered as an attempt to challenge his 2007 Houston County convictions for first-degree rape and first-degree sexual abuse, his petition is time-barred under the AEDPA.
Title 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) of the AEDPA provides the statute of limitations for federal habeas petitions:
(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 ...