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Johnson v. Sexton

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville Division

March 31, 2015

DAVID SEXTON, Warden, Respondent.


PAMELA L. REEVES, District Judge.

This is a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, brought by Tennessee inmate, James Paris Johnson ("Petitioner"). Petitioner alleges that he is being confined illegally, under an expired sentence, following his 2008 Campbell County, Tennessee conviction by a jury for aggravated assault and public intoxication [Doc. 1]. For these offenses, Petitioner received twelve years for the assault and thirty days for the public intoxication, to be served concurrently [Doc. 1]. Petitioner has also filed a Motion for Production of Documents [Doc. 18], asking the state to produce an opinion entered by the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals on December 29, 2010. Respondent has responded in opposition, arguing that no new opinion was filed on that date [Doc. 19].

Respondent[1]has filed a motion to dismiss the petition, arguing that Petitioner's petition is time-barred under § 2244(d)(1) [Doc. 11]. Respondent has filed copies of the state record, along with a brief in support of his motion [Addenda Nos. 1-2]. Petitioner has responded in opposition to Respondent's motion to dismiss, arguing that his petition should be deemed timely because he did not have legal representation when the state filed a petition to rehear to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals ("TCCA") and, as such, was never "personally notified" of the petition [Doc. 14]. Furthermore, Petitioner argues that he suffered from health issues, including a heart attack on October 7, 2013, which prevented him from timely filing his federal habeas petition [Doc. 2].

For the reasons provided below, Petitioner's motion for production of documents [Doc. 18] will be DENIED, and Respondent's motion to dismiss [Doc. 11] will be GRANTED. Petitioner's petition will be DISMISSED as time-barred.


On September 15, 2010, Petitioner's convictions were affirmed on direct appeal by the TCCA. State v. Johnson, No. E2008-02555-CCA-R3-CD, 2010 WL 3565761 (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 15, 2010). However, the TCCA remanded the case for re-sentencing on the aggravated assault conviction, finding error in Petitioner being sentenced as a Range III, persistent offender. Id . at * 18. The state filed a petition for rehearing on September 27, 2010, on the issue of Petitioner's sentencing [Doc. 19]. The TCCA granted the state's petition to rehear on October 5, 2010, and simultaneously entered an order vacating it's September 15, 2010 decision remanding the case for resentencing. State v. Johnson, No. E2008-02555-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 5, 2010) available at 27908&Number=True. The TCCA entered an Amended Judgment affirming the judgment of the trial court on October 15, 2010. On December 29, 2010, the TCCA issued a mandate in this case.

Petitioner did not file an application for permission to appeal to the Tennessee Supreme Court, and did not file a petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. Petitioner also did not seek state post-conviction review. Petitioner next filed this petition for federal habeas relief on December 27, 2013.


Petitioner's motion argues that he was informed that the TCCA's opinion remanding his case for re-sentencing was superseded by a new opinion entered on December 29, 2010 [Doc. 18]. Petitioner asserts that this opinion has not been furnished by Respondent [Doc. 18]. In response, Respondent states that no new opinion and judgment was entered on that date; rather, the only action taken on that date was to issue the mandate effectuating the judgment and terminating the appeal [Doc. 19].

The Court agrees with Respondent. Based on the TCCA's case overview, it does not appear that any new opinion was issued on December 29, 2010. Additionally, in light of the Court's decision to dismiss Petitioner's habeas petition as time-barred, the Court will deny petitioner's motion for production of documents.


The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), codified in 28 U.S.C. § 2241 et. seq., imposes a statute of limitations to govern the filing of an application for a federal writ of habeas corpus. The limitations statute provides, in relevant part, that:

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 ...

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