United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Stetler, a pro se prisoner, filed a habeas corpus
petition attempting to challenge his conviction and 90-year
sentence for child molestation by the Adams Circuit Court on
December 27, 2011, under cause number
01C01-1007-FA-0008. ECF 1 at 1. Habeas corpus petitions are
subject to a strict one-year statute of
limitations. There are four possible dates from which
the limitation period can begin to run. Nothing in
Stetler's petition indicates that State action impeded
him from filing a habeas corpus petition sooner or that his
claims are based on a newly recognized constitutional right
or newly discovered facts. Therefore 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1)(B), (C), and (D) are not applicable here. Thus,
the limitation period began to run pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2244(d)(1)(A) when the conviction became final upon
the expiration of time to pursue direct review.
Stetler took his direct appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court,
which denied his petition to transfer on October 11, 2012.
ECF 1 at 1. His limitation period to file in federal court
began to run on October 12, 2012, but was tolled 225 days
later, upon his filing of a post-conviction relief petition
in State court on May 24, 2013. ECF 1 at 2. He pursued his
post-conviction relief petition all the way to the Indiana
Supreme Court, which denied his petition to transfer on
December 15, 2016. Id. The limitations period to
file in federal court began to run again on December 16, 2016
and expired on May 4, 2017. However, Stetler did not sign his
habeas corpus petition until August 17, 2017. ECF 1 at 11.
Thus, it was more than three months late.
response to question 9 (which asked him to explain why the
petition is timely), Stetler argues that his habeas petition
is timely because he has “always had something in the
courts until now, therefore starting up the clock (time
frame) to conduct this paper work.” ECF 1 at 11.
Stetler is mistaken. While he did pursue his State court
remedies, he had large gaps of time between (1) the
conclusion of his petition to transfer his direct appeal and
his filing of his post-conviction relief petition; and (2)
the conclusion of his petition to transfer his
post-conviction relief petition and the filing of his federal
habeas corpus action. During those gaps, his time to file in
federal court accrued and eventually expired. Thus, his
petition is untimely.
to Section 2254 Habeas Corpus Rule 11, I must consider
whether to grant or deny a certificate of appealability. To
obtain a certificate of appealability when a petition is
dismissed on procedural grounds, the petitioner must show
that reasonable jurists would find it debatable (1) whether
the court was correct in its procedural ruling and (2)
whether the petition states a valid claim for denial of a
constitutional right. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S.
473, 484 (2000). Here, there is no basis for finding that
jurists of reason would debate the correctness of this
procedural ruling. Therefore, there is no basis for
encouraging petitioner to proceed further. Thus, a
certificate of appealability must be denied. For the same
reasons, he may not appeal in forma pauperis because
an appeal could not be taken in good faith.
petition (ECF 1) is DENIED pursuant to
Section 2254 Habeas Corpus Rule 4 because it is untimely;
Andrew Stetler is DENIED a certificate of
appealability pursuant to Section 2254 Habeas Corpus Rule 11;
Andrew Stetler is DENIED leave to appeal
in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
clerk is DIRECTED to close this case.
Stetler's sentence was increased
due to a finding that he is a habitual offender. ECF 1 ...