United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
DEVADNEY S. LAUDERDALE, Petitioner,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on the “Government's
Motion to Dismiss Lauderdale's Motion to Vacate Pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255.” (Doc. 8). In its motion, the
Government asserts that Mr. Lauderdale's motion to vacate
is untimely because he did not file it within one year of
“‘the date on which judgment of conviction
[became] final.'” (Doc. 8 at 2) (citing 28 U.S.C.
§ 2255(h)(1)). The Government asserts that Mr.
Lauderdale had until December 27, 2016 to file his
habeas motion, but that he did not file it until January 12,
court ordered Mr. Lauderdale to show cause in writing why the
court should not grant the Government's motion to dismiss
his motion to vacate based on his untimeliness. The court
instructed Mr. Lauderdale to include any information
regarding whether the court should apply the doctrine of
equitable tolling and to give each and every fact to
support that he pursued his rights with reasonable diligence
and that extraordinary circumstances beyond his control
caused his untimeliness. (Doc. 10).
Lauderdale responded to the Show Cause Order on July 21,
2017, explaining that he had “already filed a [timely]
‘2255' around ‘May and June 2016,
'” but the court did not accept that filing because
he did not sign the petition as required. (Doc. 12). He also
claimed that the prison “lockdowns” and his lack
of knowledge of the law prevented him from filing his current
§ 2255 petition on time.
following reasons, the court finds that the doctrine of
equitable tolling does not apply in this case and that the
Government's motion to dismiss Mr. Lauderdale's
habeas motion as untimely is due to be granted.
Law on Equitable Tolling
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 imposes
a one-year statute of limitations for filing a habeas motion
under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, which begins to run “the
date on which the judgment of conviction becomes
final.” See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(1).
“[P]ro se litigants, like all others, are deemed to
know of the one-year statute of limitations.”
Outler v. United States, 485 F.3d 1273, 1282 n. 4
(11th Cir. 2007).
petitioner files a § 2255 motion outside of the statue
of limitations period, the court may still review the motion
if the petitioner shows that the doctrine of
equitable tolling applies. San Martin v. McNeil, 633
F.3d 1257, 1267 (11th Cir. 2011). Under the equitable tolling
doctrine, the petitioner has the burden of proving that the
circumstances warrant application of the doctrine.
Id. at 1268 (citing Drew v. Dept. of
Corrects., 297 F.3d 1278, 1286 (11th Cir. 2002)).
tolling is a “rare and extraordinary remedy” and
applies only if Mr. Lauderdale shows “(1) that he has
been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that
some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and
prevented timely filing.” See San Martin, 633
F.3d at 1267, 1271 (quoting Holland v. Florida, 130
S.Ct. 2549, 2562 (2010)) (emphasis added). Under the first
requirement of equitable tolling, the petitioner must pursue
his rights with “reasonable diligence, ” rather
than “maximum feasible diligence.”
Holland, 130 S.Ct. at 2565. Furthermore, under the
second requirement, the petitioner must show that an
extraordinary circumstance beyond his control
prevented him from filing the petition timely. San
Martin, 633 F.3d at 1267.
Lauderdale's First Habeas Action
Lauderdale filed his first Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or
Correct Sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on June
17, 2016. (Doc. 1 in 1:16-cv-8109-KOB). However, he failed to
sign or verify his § 2255 motion as required by 28
U.S.C. § 2242. On July 1, 2016, the court ordered Mr.
Lauderdale to file a habeas petition within twenty-one days
that complied with 28 U.S.C. § 2242. (Doc. 3 in
1:16-cv-8109-KOB). The court warned Mr. Lauderdale in that
Order that failure to submit a proper habeas motion would
result in dismissal of the action without further notice. The
Clerk sent a copy of that Order to Mr. Lauderdale at his
address on file at the time at USP McCreary.
13, 2016, the postal service returned that mailing marked
“Undeliver-able” because Mr. Lauderdale was no
longer at that address. The court discovered that the Bureau
of Prisons had moved Mr. Lauderdale to USP Canaan and ordered
the Clerk on July 19, 2016 to send a copy of its July 1, 2016
Order to Mr. Lauderdale at his new address. (Doc. 5 in
1:16-cv-8109-KOB). The court also gave Mr. Lauderdale an
additional fourteen days from the date of that Order to file
a habeas petition in compliance with the law. (Doc. 6 in
1:16-cv-8109-KOB). However, Mr. Lauderdale failed to file a
habeas petition that complied with 28 U.S.C. § 2242 as
ordered. Therefore, the court dismissed without prejudice his
first habeas action for failure to prosecute on September 16,
2016. (Doc. 8 in 1:16-cv-8109-KOB).
four months after the court dismissed his first habeas
action, Mr. Lauderdale filed this habeas action on January
12, 2017. Mr. Lauderdale has failed to show that, between
September 16, 2016 when the court dismissed his first habeas
action without prejudice and December 27, 2016, the deadline
for filing a timely habeas motion, he exercised reasonable
diligence or that any extraordinary circumstances beyond his
control existed for failing to file a timely habeas motion.