United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a pro se prisoner’s petition for a writ of habeas
corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Respondent
has filed a motion to dismiss the petition as time-barred
[Doc. 11] and a memorandum in support thereof [Doc. 12], as
well as the state court record [Doc. 10]. Petitioner filed a
response in opposition to the motion to dismiss [Doc. 14].
For the reasons set forth below, Respondent’s motion to
dismiss the petition as time-barred [Doc. 11] will be
GRANTED and this action will be
February 2, 2012, Petitioner pled guilty to one count of
second-degree murder [Doc. 10-1 p. 36–45]. Petitioner
did not appeal this conviction.
January 25, 2013, Petitioner placed a pro se petition for
post-conviction relief in the state court in the hands of
prison authorities for filing [Id. at 10] and the
state court received it on January 28, 2013 [Id. at
4]. On March 9, 2017, the post-conviction court entered an
order denying Petitioner relief and dismissing the petition
[Id. at 77–90]. On July 2, 2018, the Tennessee
Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the post-conviction
court’s denial of relief to Petitioner, and on November
15, 2018, the Tennessee Supreme Court denied
Petitioner’s application for permission to appeal.
Womac v. State of Tennessee, No.
E2017-00660-CCA-R3-PC, 2018 WL 3217733 (Tenn. Crim. App. July
2, 2018), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Nov. 15, 2018).
February 21, 2019, Petitioner filed the instant § 2254
petition [Doc. 1 p. 16].
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 conviction became final on
March 5, 2012,  the day on which Petitioner’s time
to file an appeal of the judgment against her expired.
See, e.g., Feenin v. Myers, 110 F.
App’x 669 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Tenn. R. App. P.
4(a)) (providing that where the Tennessee habeas petitioner
did not pursue a direct appeal, his state court conviction
was deemed “final” when the thirty-day
time-period in which he could have done so expired). Thus,
the AEDPA statute of limitations clock began to run on March
6, 2012, and ran for three-hundred and twenty-five days until
it paused on January 25, 2013, the day on which Petitioner
placed her post-conviction petition in the hands of prison
officials for filing. The clock remained paused until November
16, 2018, the day after the Tennessee Supreme Court denied
Petitioner’s application for discretionary appeal, at
which point it began to run again. Robinson v.
Easterling, 424 Fed. App’x 439, 442 (6th Cir.
2011) (providing that the AEDPA “clock began to run
again” after the Tennessee Supreme Court declined
jurisdiction over a habeas petitioner’s post-conviction
appeal). The clock expired forty days later, on Wednesday,
December 26, 2018.
Petitioner’s § 2254 petition, which she filed on
February 21, 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 she has diligently pursued her rights, but an
extraordinary circumstance prevented her from timely filing
the petition. Holland, 560 U.S. at 649. A petitioner
bears the burden of demonstrating that she 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”).
response to the motion to dismiss, Petitioner states that she
“calculated 249 days between the denial of her
post-conviction [petition] until the filing of her T.R.A.P.
Rule 11 Application to Appeal” and that she had no
control over the progression of her state post-conviction
proceeding [Doc. 14]. As set forth above, however, the Court
has not counted any of the days during which
Petitioner’s petition for post-conviction relief was