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Daniels v. Hooks

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

November 21, 2019

SYLVESTER DANIELS, Petitioner,
v.
ERIK HOOKS, Respondent.

          ORDER

          TERRENCE W. BOYLE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On June 20, 2019, Sylvester Daniels ("petitioner"), a state inmate, filed pro se a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Pet. [D.E. 1]. The court now conducts its preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 2243 and Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts and, for the following reasons, dismisses the petition as untimely.

         Discussion:

         Petitioner presently is serving a sentence pursuant to his April 10, 2006, conviction for Statutory Rape in Pitt County Superior Court. See N.C. Dep't Pub. Safety, Offender Pub. Info. https://webapps.doc.state.nc.us/opi/viewoffender.do?method=view&offenderID=0098412&searc hOffenderId=0098412&searchDOBRange=0&listurl=pagelistoffendersearchresults&listpage= 1 (last visited Nov. 21, 2019). Petitioner pleaded guilty and did not directly appeal. See Pet. [D.E. 1] at 2-3. On February 18, 2019, petitioner filed a motion for appropriate relief ("MAR") in Pitt County Superior Court. Id. at 3. This MAR was summarily denied on March 12, 2019. Id. On May 8, 2019, petitioner filed in the North Carolina Court of Appeals a petition for a Writ of Certiorari. Id. at 4. The petition was denied on May 10, 2019. Id. Petitioner then filed the instant habeas petition.

         Petitioner was convicted under North Carolina General Statute § 14-27.7A.[1] Id. at 1. Petitioner argues that this statute unconstitutionally 1) punishes older adults more severely than younger adults, and 2) permits only some adults to engage in sexual conduct with minors. Id. at 5-8. Petitioner further contends that, pursuant to Class v. United States, 138 S.Ct. 798 (2018) ("Class"). he now may challenge the constitutionality of this statute despite his guilty plea. Id. at 15.

         The court may sua sponte dismiss a section 2254 petition without notice if "it is indisputably clear from the materials presented to the district court that the petition is untimely and cannot be salvaged by equitable tolling principles or any of the circumstances enumerated in [section] 2244(d)(1)." Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701, 707 (4th Cir. 2002).

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") requires an individual in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court to file any application for a writ of habeas corpus within one year of 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 exercise of due diligence.

28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).

         Because petitioner did not directly appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, his conviction became final on or about April 24, 2006, when the fourteen-day time period to serve notice of appeal expired. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A); N.C. R. App. P. 4(a)(2) (providing that notice of appeal may be filed within fourteen days of judgment); Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 150 (2012) ("the judgment becomes final at the 'expiration of the time for seeking such review'-when the time for pursuing direct review in this Court, or in state court, expires."). AEDPA's one-year limitation period then ran uninterrupted for 365 days until it expired on or about April 24, 2007. Petitioner's state post-conviction filings more than a decade later did not reopen his time for filing a federal habeas petition. See Minter v. Beck, 230 F.3d 663, 665 (4th Cir. 2000).

         Although petitioner contends that, pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in Class, his petition is timely under § 2244(d)(1)(C), this claim also fails. The one-year limitation period under section 2244(d)(1) is tolled during the time in which "a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending." 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2); see Taylor v. Lee, 186 F.3d 557, 560-61 (4th Cir. 1999). An application for post-conviction or other collateral review is pending from initial filing in state court until final disposition in the highest state court. See Taylor, 186 F.3d at 560-61. Once the state's highest court orders a final disposition in the state postconviction proceedings, the prior limitations ...


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