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Butler v. Myers

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

July 21, 2018

DEIONDRA R. BUTLER, # 281018, Petitioner,
v.
WALTER MYERS, et al., Respondents.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          GRAY M. BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This case is before the court on a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 filed by Alabama inmate Deiondra R. Butler on June 13, 2016. Doc. 1. Butler challenges his 2012 robbery conviction and resulting 50-year sentence entered by the Circuit Court of Montgomery County. The respondents argue that Butler's petition is time-barred by the one-year federal limitation period for § 2254 petitions. Doc. 7 at 5-9. After reviewing the pleadings and other submissions, the court concludes that no evidentiary hearing is required and that Butler's petition should be denied as untimely.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On November 28, 2012, a Montgomery County jury found Butler guilty of first-degree robbery, in violation of Alabama Code § 13A-8-41. Doc. 7-1 at 17. On that same date, the trial court sentenced Butler to 50 years in prison. Doc. 7-3 at 87. Butler appealed, [1]and on March 15, 2013 the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence by memorandum opinion. Doc. 7-6. Butler took no further action on direct review, and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals issued a certificate of judgment on April 3, 2013. Doc. 7-7.

         On September 30, 2013, Butler filed a pro se petition in the trial court seeking post-conviction relief under Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure.[2] See Doc. 7-8 at 9. The trial court denied the Rule 32 petition on March 31, 2014, and Butler appealed. On August 22, 2014, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court's denial of the Rule 32 petition. Doc. 7-11. Butler took no further action in his Rule 32 appeal, and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals issued a certificate of judgment on September 10, 2014. Doc. 7-12.

         Butler, acting pro se, filed this § 2254 petition on June 13, 2016. Doc. 1. He claims that (1) the trial court erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal; (2) his trial counsel was ineffective during plea bargain negotiations; and (3) the limitation period in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) unconstitutionally deprives him of the right to federal habeas review. Doc. 1 at 5-9 & 16-18.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. AEDPA's One-Year Limitation Period

         Title 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) of AEDPA provides the statute of limitations for § 2254 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 the ...

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