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Morris v. Slatery

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

December 19, 2019

CARLOS MORRIS, Petitioner,
v.
HERBERT H. SLATERY III, Respondent.

          ORDER DIRECTING CLERK TO MODIFY RESPONDENT, GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS, DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          J. DANIEL BREEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner, Carlos Morris, filed a pro se habeas corpus petition (the “Petition”), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket Entry (“D.E.”) 1.) Respondent, Herbert Slatery III, [1] moved to dismiss the Petition as untimely. (D.E. 12.) For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED, and the Petition is DISMISSED.

         BACKGROUND

         In February 2000, Petitioner pleaded guilty in the Henderson County, Tennessee, Circuit Court to two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver, and he was sentenced to two concurrent eight-year terms of imprisonment. (D.E. 1-2 at PageID 25-26.) In October 2006, Morris pleaded guilty in the Madison County, Tennessee, Circuit Court to three drug offenses, as well as failure to obey a stop sign. (Id. at PageID 27-30.) On those convictions, he received an effective sentence of eight years, to run concurrently with his Henderson County sentences. (Id.) Judgment was entered on October 25, 2006. (Id.)

         In March 2016, Petitioner filed a motion in state court to correct his Madison County sentences, arguing that the sentences are illegal under state law. (D.E. 11-1 at PageID 59-65.) The trial court dismissed the action. (Id. at PageID 69-70.) The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision, and the Tennessee Supreme Court denied discretionary review. See State v. Morris, No. W2017-00129-CCA-R3-CD, 2017 WL 3836024, at *3 (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 31, 2017), perm. appeal denied (Tenn. Feb. 15, 2018).

         DISCUSSION

         The inmate filed his Petition in this Court on June 18, 2018, challenging his Madison County convictions. (D.E. 1 at PageID 1.) On April 18, 2019, Respondent moved to dismiss the Petition as untimely. (D.E. 12 at PageID 143.) Morris filed a reply opposing the motion. (D.E. 13.)

         A § 2254 petition is subject to a one-year limitations period, commencing from four possible dates:

(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral 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)(A)-(D).

         The one-year limitations period is tolled during the time “a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review . . . is pending[.]” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2). The time bar is also subject to equitable tolling where the petitioner demonstrates “that he has been pursuing his rights diligently” and “that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and prevented ...


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