United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
MARIO D. JONES, Petitioner,
JAMES HOLLOWAY, Respondent.
RONNIE GREER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pro se prisoner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 [Doc. 1]. Now before the
Court are Respondent's motion to dismiss the petition as
time-barred [Doc. 16], to which Petitioner has filed two
responses [Docs. 19 and 20] and Petitioner's motion to
compel discovery [Doc. 18]. For the following reasons,
Respondent's motion to dismiss [Doc. 12] will be
GRANTED, Petitioner's motion to compel
discovery [Doc. 18] will be DENIED as moot,
and this action will be DISMISSED.
December 8, 2009, a Bradley County jury found Petitioner
guilty of possession of more than fifty grams of schedule II
hydromorphone with intent to sell or deliver [Doc. 15-1 at
135]. On September 26, 2012, the Tennessee Court of Criminal
Appeals (“TCCA”) affirmed Petitioner's
conviction and sentence. State v. Jones, No.
M2004-000077-CCA-R3-CD, 2012 WL 4392643 (Tenn. Crim. App.
Sept. 26, 2012). Petitioner did not seek to appeal this
affirmance to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Id. On
September 25, 2013, Petitioner filed a petition for
post-conviction relief with the Bradley County Criminal Court
[Doc. 15-10 at 1-10], which the court denied on November 25,
2014 [Id. at 122-28], after having a hearing [Doc.
15-11]. On August 7, 2015, the TCCA affirmed this denial
[Doc. 15-15]. Jones v. State, No.
E2014-02460-CCA-R3-PC, 2015 WL 4710394 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug.
7, 2015), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Dec. 11, 2015).
On September 10, 2018, Petitioner filed his petition for a
writ of habeas corpus [Doc. 1] and memorandum in support
thereof [Doc. 2] which the United States District Court for
the Middle District of Tennessee transferred to this Court
December 7, 2018, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss this
petition as time-barred [Doc. 16], and the state court record
[Doc. 15]. On January 4, 2019, Petitioner filed a response in
opposition to the motion to dismiss [Doc. 19], and on January
9, 2019, the Court received what appears to be a supplement
thereto [Doc. 20]. In his response, Petitioner sets forth
allegations of criminal or otherwise improper acts by various
individuals, including but not limited to officers, the
judge, witnesses, and lawyers involved in his underlying
state criminal prosecution and alleges that his petition is
timely because of “the serious nature of public
corruption that continues to exist” and his allegation
that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”)
has started an investigation regarding this corruption which
is not yet final [Doc. 19 at 1-13]. Petitioner also asserts
that he has been diligently pursuing his rights by reporting
the alleged corruption to authorities [Id. at 11].
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”), codified in 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
et seq., provides a one-year statute of limitations
for the filing of an application for a federal writ of habeas
corpus. The statute provides, in relevant part:
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
(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). The time “during which a
properly filed application for State post-conviction or other
collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or
claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of
limitation. . . ., ” however. 28 U.S.C. §
AEDPA purposes, Petitioner's convictions became final on
November 25, 2012, sixty days after the TCCA affirmed his
convictions, as that is the day on which Petitioner's
time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the
Tennessee Supreme Court expired. Tenn. R. App. P. 11(b).
Thus, Petitioner's AEDPA clock began to run on November
26, 2012, and ran until Petitioner filed his post-conviction
petition on September 25, 2013, at which point
Petitioner's AEDPA clock paused and did not begin to run
again until December 12, 2015, the day after the Tennessee
Supreme Court denied his petition for a writ of certiorari
regarding the denial of his petition for post-conviction
relief. Bronaugh v. Ohio, 235 F.3d 280, 284-85 (6th
Cir. 2000) (providing that under Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(a), the first
day for counting purposes does not include the day of the act
or event from which the designated period of time begins to
run). As Petitioner did not file his § 2254 petition
with this Court until nearly three years later on September
10, 2018, however, it is clearly time-barred, unless
Petitioner can establish that he is entitled to equitable
tolling of the statute of limitations.
Supreme Court has held that equitable tolling of a statute of
limitations is available “in appropriate cases.”
Holland v. Florida, 130 S.Ct. 2549, 2560 (2010).
Petitioners have the burden of demonstrating that they are
entitled to equitable tolling. Allen v. Yukins, 366
F.3d 396, 401 (6th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). “A
habeas petitioner is entitled to equitable tolling only if
two requirements are met. First, the petitioner must
establish ‘that he has been pursuing his rights
diligently.' And second, the petitioner must show
‘that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way
and prevented timely filing.'” Hall v.
Warden, 662 F.3d 745, 749 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting
Holland v. Florida, 130 S.Ct. at 2562). “The
doctrine of equitable tolling is applied sparingly by federal
courts, ” and is typically used “only when a
litigant's failure to meet a legally-mandated deadline
unavoidably arose from circumstances beyond that
litigant's control.” Vroman, 346 F.3d 598,
604 (6th Cir. 2003) (citations and internal quotations marks
only apparent arguments for equitable tolling in his response
to the motion to dismiss are allegations of public corruption
that he states he has diligently reported to law enforcement
authorities, including the FBI, whom Petitioner asserts is
investigating his corruption claims. Even if this is true,
however, nothing in the record establishes that Petitioner
was diligently pursuing his right to relief under § 2254
or that any corruption or any other extraordinary
circumstance prevented Petitioner from timely ...