United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
JAMES R. RUCKER, Petitioner,
KEVIN GENOVESE, Warden, Respondent.
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
R. Rucker, an inmate of the Turney Center Industrial Complex
in Only, Tennessee, filed a pro se petition for a writ of
habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his
conviction and sentence in the Davidson County Criminal Court
for second-degree murder for which Petitioner is serving a
sentence of 32 years in the Tennessee Department of
Correction. (Doc. No. 1).
has filed a motion to dismiss the petition as time-barred
(Doc. No. 13), and Petitioner has responded to the motion in
opposition. (Doc. No. 17). The petition is ripe for review,
and this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
April 27, 2009, Petitioner was indicted in the Davidson
County Criminal Court for first-degree premeditated murder
and employing a firearm during the commission of a dangerous
felony. (Doc. No. 12, Attach. 1, PageID# 45-48; Attach. 6,
PageID# 87). On May 29, 2009, Petitioner pled guilty to the
lesser-included offense of second degree murder. The trial
court sentenced Petitioner to 32 years as a Range II multiple
offender, and the judgment of conviction was entered on July
2, 2009. (Doc. No. 12, Attach. 1, PageID# 52-56; Attach. 6,
PageID# 87, 89).
March 26, 2010, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of error
coram nobis in the trial court under Tenn. Code Ann. §
40-26-105, challenging his sentencing as a Range II multiple
offender. (Doc. No. 12, Attach. 4, PageID# 79-83; Attach. 6,
PageID# 89). On December 18, 2012, the trial court dismissed
the error coram nobis petition at Petitioner's request.
(Doc. No. 12, Attach. 6, PageID# 89, 91).
October 16, 2018, Petitioner filed a second petition for writ
of error coram nobis in the trial court, seeking a new trial
based upon documents disclosed to him by the Davidson County
district attorney general's office on April 23, 2018,
pursuant to a public records request. Petitioner acknowledged
that his petition was untimely and sought tolling of the
one-year statute of limitations, arguing that the delay in
receiving evidence from the district attorney general was not
his fault. (Doc. No. 12, Attach. 1, PageID# 57-62; Attach. 6,
PageID# 89). By order filed on January 2, 2019, and in an
amended order filed on January 9, 2019, the trial court
denied the petition; the court concluded that Petitioner
failed to show his entitlement to due process tolling of the
one-year statute of limitations and, applying Frazier v.
State, 495 S.W.3d 246 (Tenn. 2016), concluded that
Petitioner could not collaterally challenge his conviction in
an error coram nobis petition. (Doc. No. 12, Attach. 1,
PageID# 69-72; Attach. 6, PageID# 89).
initially appealed the trial court's decision. (Doc. No.
12, Attach. 6, PageID# 89). However, on March 25, 2019,
Petitioner moved for a voluntarily dismissed of the appeal,
acknowledging the Tennessee Supreme Court's decision in
Nunley v. State, 552 S.W.3d 800 (Tenn. 2018), in
which the court concluded that a claim of suppressed evidence
raised under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963),
may not be litigated in a petition for writ of error coram
nobis. (Doc. No. 12, Attach. 2, PageID# 76-77). The Tennessee
Court of Criminal Appeals granted the motion and dismissed
the appeal by order filed on March 27, 2019. (Doc. No. 12,
Attach. 2, PageID# 78).
March 14, 2019,  Petitioner filed a petition for writ of
habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. No. 1 at
16). By Order entered on April 29, 2019, the Court ordered
Respondent to file an answer, plead or otherwise respond to
the petition. (Doc. No. 7). Respondent filed a motion to
dismiss the habeas corpus petition on May 10, 2019 (Doc. No.
13), and Petitioner filed a response in opposition to the
motion (Doc. No. 17). That motion is now before the Court.
Standard of Review Rule 8(a) of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases permits the Court to examine the petition,
the answer, and the state court record to determine whether
an evidentiary hearing is warranted. If no hearing is
warranted, the Court may dismiss the petition on the merits
without a hearing. Habeas Rule 8(a).
fully considered the record, the Court finds that an
evidentiary hearing is not needed.
motion to dismiss, Respondent contends that the instant
petition is time-barred and must be dismissed. (Doc. No. 17).
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA),
Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (codified, inter
alia, at 28 U.S.C. §§ 2244, et seq.),
prisoners have one year within which to file a petition for
habeas corpus relief that runs from the latest of four
circumstances. The relevant circumstance here is “the
date on which the [state court] judgment became final by the
conclusion of ...