United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND
DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
Eric Stone-Dunlap (“Stone Dunlap”) is serving a
20-year sentence for his 2012 Marion County, Indiana,
conviction for aiding murder. Although he asserts that he is
bringing this action based on Article I Section 9 Paragraph 2
of the United States Constitution and not pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254. A petition for “a writ of habeas
corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the
judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in
custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties
of the United States” is brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. For the reasons that follow, Stone-Dunlap's
petition for a writ of habeas corpus is
denied and the action dismissed with
prejudice. In addition, a certificate of
appealability should not issue.
Factual and Procedural Background
October 10, 2012, pursuant to a plea agreement, Stone-Dunlap
pleaded guilty to aiding murder. He was subsequently
sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Stone-Dunlap did not
appeal his conviction.
April 14, 2015, Stone-Dunlap filed a motion for modification
of placement which was denied on April 16, 2015.
December 11, 2017, Stone-Dunlap filed a petition for
post-conviction relief. After a hearing, the post-conviction
court denied relief on May 2, 2018. Stone-Dunlap has not
appealed the denial of his post-conviction petition.
prior to the post-conviction hearing, on March 13, 2018,
Stone-Dunlap filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in
this Court, challenging the propriety of his post-conviction
proceedings, and seeking release from prison.
in the habeas petitioner's obligation to exhaust his
state court remedies before seeking relief in habeas corpus,
see 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A), is the duty to
fairly present his federal claims to the state courts.”
Lewis v. Sternes, 390 F.3d 1019, 1025 (7th Cir.
2004). To meet this requirement, a petitioner “must
raise the issue at each and every level in the state court
system, including levels at which review is discretionary
rather than mandatory.” Id. at 1025-26. In
Indiana, that means presenting his arguments to the Indiana
Supreme Court. Hough v. Anderson, 272 F.3d 878, 892
(7th Cir. 2001). A federal claim is not fairly presented
unless the petitioner “put[s] forward operative facts
and controlling legal principles.” Simpson v.
Battaglia, 458 F.3d 585, 594 (7th Cir. 2006) (citation
and quotation marks omitted). Procedural default
“occurs when a claim could have been but was not
presented to the state court and cannot, at the time that the
federal court reviews the habeas petition, be presented to
the state court.” Resnover v. Pearson, 965
F.2d 1453, 1458 (7th Cir. 1992).
alleges that the State violated Indiana Trial Rule 15 during
his post-conviction proceeding. However, this argument has
never been presented to the Indiana Court of Appeals or the
Indiana Supreme Court. Before presenting the claim to a
federal court, Stone-Dunlap must have presented the claim to
the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court.
See Hough, 272 F.3d at 892.
petitioner has not fairly presented his claims to the state
courts, a petitioner may nevertheless circumvent his failure
to exhaust state remedies if either (1) no state corrective
process is available to address his claims, or (2)
circumstances exist that render such process ineffective to
protect his rights. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(B);
Castille v. Peoples, 489 U.S. 346, 349 n. 1 (1989);
Duckworth v. Serrano, 454 U.S. 1, 3 (1981);
Sceifers v. Trigg, 46 F.3d 701, 703 (7th Cir. 1995).
Stone-Dunlap has not presented any such arguments. Rather, he
merely asserts, incorrectly, that he does not have to exhaust
any state remedies or abide by the requirements of the
Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA). See Dkt. No. 10 at 1. Because Stone-Dunlap
has failed to exhaust his state court remedies, which is his
burden to prove, Baldwin v. Lewis, 442 F.2d 29 (7th
Cir. 1971), his petition must be dismissed.
even if Stone-Dunlap had exhausted his state remedies, his
petition is untimely. In an attempt to “curb delays, to
prevent ‘retrials' on federal habeas, and to give
effect to state convictions to the extent possible under law,
” Congress, as part of AEDPA, revised several statutes
governing federal habeas relief. Williams v. Taylor,
529 U.S. 362, 404 (2000). Along with triggering dates not
applicable here, “[u]nder 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1)(A), a state prisoner seeking federal habeas relief
has just one year after his conviction becomes final in state
court to file his federal petition.” Gladney v.
Pollard, 799 F.3d 889, 894 (7th Cir. 2015).
conviction and sentence became final when his 30-day deadline
to seek direct appeal from the trial court's judgment
expired. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A). Because he pleaded
guilty and was sentenced on October 10, 2012, his conviction
became final on November 9, 2012. Ind.App. R. 9. Any petition
for a writ of habeas corpus, therefore, was due one year
later, on November 9, 2013.
a pending petition for post-conviction relief may toll the
statute of limitations, Stone-Dunlap failed to file a
petition for post-conviction relief until December 11, 2017,
more than four years after the AEDPA statute of limitations
expired. His petition for post-conviction relief therefore
does not toll the statute of limitations because ...