United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
JUSTIN D. LOINES, Petitioner,
DARREN SETTLES, Respondent.
REEVES, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pro se prisoner's petition for habeas corpus relief
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Respondent has filed a
motion to dismiss the petition as time-barred [Doc. 7] and a
memorandum in support thereof [Doc. 8], as well as the state
court record [Doc. 6]. Petitioner filed a response in
opposition [Doc. 9]. For the following reasons,
Respondent's motion to dismiss the § 2254 petition
[Doc. 7] will be GRANTED and this action
will be DISMISSED.
14, 2010, pursuant to Petitioner's guilty pleas, the
criminal court of Hamilton County, Tennessee entered criminal
judgments against Petitioner for one count of voluntary
manslaughter and one count of facilitation of aggravated
child neglect [Doc. 6-1 p. 7-8. Petitioner did not appeal these
convictions, but on July 5, 2016, Petitioner submitted a pro
se petition for post-conviction relief [Id. at 9-52]
to the state court and the state court denied the petition on
September 30, 2017 [Id. at 55-62]. On June 29, 2018,
the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the denial
of post-conviction relief, and on October 10, 2018, the
Tennessee Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application
for permission to appeal. Loines v. State, No.
E2017-02088-CCA-R3-PC, 2018 WL 3203118 (Tenn. Crim. App. June
29, 2018), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Oct. 10, 2018).
On April 19, 2019, Petitioner filed the instant § 2254
petition [Doc. 1 p. 20].
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 . . . .
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
August 14, 2010, the day on which Petitioner's time to
file an appeal of the judgments against him expired.
See, e.g., Feenin v. Myers, 110
Fed.Appx. 669 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Tenn. R. App. P. 4(a))
(providing that where the Tennessee petitioner did not pursue
a direct appeal, his state court conviction was deemed
“final” upon the expiration of the thirty-day
time-period in which he could have done so). Thus, the clock
began to run on that date and expired on August 15,
2011. While, as set forth above, Petitioner
filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief with the
state court in 2016, this filing did not revive the AEDPA
clock. See Vroman v. Brigano, 346 F.3d 598, 602 (6th
Cir. 2003) (holding that “[t]he tolling provision does
not . . . ‘revive' the limitations period (i.e.,
restart the clock at zero); it can only serve to pause a
clock that has not yet fully run”).
Petitioner's § 2254 petition, which he filed on
April 22, 2019, is untimely. The AEDPA statute of limitations
is not jurisdictional, however, and is subject to equitable
tolling. Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 645
(2010). Equitable tolling is warranted where a petitioner
shows that he has diligently pursued his rights, but an
extraordinary circumstance prevented him from timely filing
the petition. Holland, 560 U.S. at 649. A petitioner
bears the burden of demonstrating that he is entitled to
equitable tolling, Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S.
408, 418 (2005), and federal courts should grant equitable
tolling sparingly. Souter v. Jones, 395 F.3d 577,
588 (6th Cir. 2005); see also Graham-Humphreys v. Memphis
Brooks Museum of Art. Inc., 209 F.3d 552, 561 (6th Cir.
2000) (providing that “[a]bsent compelling equitable
considerations, a court should not extend limitations by even
a single day”).
arguments that he is entitled to equitable tolling are that
he is untrained in the law, had no knowledge of the AEDPA
statute of limitations, and did not realize that he entered
his guilty plea involuntarily, unintelligently, and
unknowingly due to ineffective assistance of counsel until
his family hired legal assistance to investigate his case in
April 2019, which was the first time that his family had the
financial means to do so [Doc. 9 p. 3-4]. Petitioner's
lack of knowledge regarding the statute of limitations and/or
the law is insufficient to entitle him to equitable tolling,
however. See Griffin v. Rogers, 399 F.3d 626, 637
(6th Cir. 2005) (holding that “ignorance of the law
alone is not sufficient to warrant equitable tolling”).
Accordingly, Petitioner has failed to establish that he is
entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations,
his § 2254 petition is time-barred, and this action will