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Weaver v. Superintendent

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

January 26, 2017

RONALD L. WEAVER, Petitioner,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Philip P. Simon Chief Judge United States District Court

         Ronald L. Weaver, a pro se prisoner, filed a habeas corpus petition challenging his guilty plea and the 40-year sentence for manufacturing methamphetamine entered on June 14, 2012, by the Elkhart Superior Court under cause number 20D03-0906-FA-32. Because habeas corpus petitions are subject to a strict one-year statute of limitations, this petition is untimely.

(1) 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 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.
(2) 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 under this subsection.

28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).

         Weaver pleaded guilty and was sentenced on June 14, 2012, and did not take a direct appeal. The deadline for doing so expired on July 16, 2012. See Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 9.A. (1) and 25.A. In the absence of any state post-conviction proceedings, the first day of the federal 1-year period of limitation began on July 17, 2012, and expired a year later on July 17, 2013. Weaver later filed an Indiana post-conviction relief petition on October 15, 2013. Had he filed that petition on or before July 17, 2013, it would have tolled the 1-year period of limitation. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2). Because it was filed after the expiration of the federal limitations period, it had no such effect.

         On Weaver's form habeas petition, in response to question 16 asking him to explain why the petition is timely (which includes the text of the statute quoted above), Weaver wrote, “State Post Conviction Appeal was exhausted December 15, 2016, beginning limitation.” (DE 1 at 5.) But the state post-conviction proceedings began too late to toll the federal period. Contrary to Weaver's belief, once the federal deadline expired, filing the Indiana post-conviction relief petition late did not “restart” the federal clock, nor did it “open a new window for federal collateral review.” De Jesus v. Acevedo, 567 F.3d 941, 943 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Nothing in Weaver's response - nor anything else in the petition - indicates that State action impeded him from filing his petition sooner or that his claims are based on a newly recognized constitutional right or newly discovered facts. Therefore the 1-year federal period of limitation began on “the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A). Because this habeas corpus petition is untimely, it must be dismissed. Though this might seem harsh, even petitions that are one day late are time-barred.

Foreclosing litigants from bringing their claim because they missed the filing deadline by one day may seem harsh, but courts have to draw lines somewhere, statutes of limitation protect important social interests, and limitation periods work both ways - you can be sure [the petitioner] would not be pooh-poohing the prosecution's tardiness if [he] had been indicted one day after the statute of limitations expired for [his] crimes.

United States v. Marcello, 212 F.3d 1005, 1010 (7th Cir. 2000) (citation omitted). See alsoSimms v. Acevedo, 595 F.3d ...


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