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Orbison v. Hooks

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

October 23, 2019

JASON DURRELL ORBISON, Petitioner,
v.
ERIK A. HOOKS, et al. Respondents.

          ORDER

          Robert J. Conrad, Jr. United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Respondents' Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 4), and Petitioner's Response, (Doc. No. 6). For the following reasons, the Court will grant the motion and dismiss the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, (Doc. No. 1), as time-barred.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner Jason Orbison is a prisoner at North Carolina's Piedmont Correctional Institute, within the Western District of North Carolina. (Doc. No. 1: Petition at 6).[1] He pled guilty to second-degree murder in Union County Superior Court on October 28, 2014. (Id.; Doc. No. 1-18: Plea Hr'g Tr.; Doc. No. 1-19: Transcript of Plea). The judge imposed a sentence, consistent with the plea arrangement, of 125 to 162 months' imprisonment and entered the Judgment on the same date. (Doc. No. 1-2: Judgment; No. 1-18: Plea Hr'g Tr. at 26-27; Doc. No. 1-19: Transcript of Plea at 3).

         Petitioner did not file a direct appeal, but rather filed a Motion for Appropriate Relief through counsel in the Union County Superior Court on May 5, 2017, claiming trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate his case, review discovery with him, and properly advise him of the burden of proof, elements of the crimes, and defenses should he proceed to trial. (Doc. No. 1-3). A judge denied the motion by Order entered November 15, 2017, finding, among other things, that Petitioner's assertions of ineffective assistance of counsel directly conflicted with his written and sworn responses during the plea hearing and did not overcome the strong presumption of verity that attaches to the entry and acceptance of a guilty plea. (Doc. No. 1-5 at 3). On June 12, 2018, the North Carolina Court of Appeals denied his Petition for Writ of Certiorari. (Doc. No. 1-8: Order).

         Petitioner filed in the instant matter through counsel on July 11, 2018, alleging trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective in preparing his defense, plea, and sentencing. (Doc. No. 1). Respondents filed an Answer, (Doc. No. 3), and Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 4), with Supporting Brief, (Doc. No. 5), asserting Petitioner's claim is time-barred. With the filing of Petitioner's Response, (Doc. No. 6), claiming actual innocence and equitable tolling, this matter is ripe for disposition.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate in those cases where there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, and it appears that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2); United States v. Lee, 943 F.2d 366, 368 (4th Cir. 1991). Any permissible inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986). Where, however, the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, disposition by summary judgment is appropriate. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).

         B. Section 2254 Standard

         In addition to the motion for summary judgment standard set forth above, this Court must also consider the petition for writ of habeas corpus under the requirements set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), which provides:

         An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim-

         (1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or

         (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence ...


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