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Paschall v. Warden

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

August 1, 2018

WARDEN,[1] Respondent.


          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge.

         Petitioner Terrence Paschall is serving a twenty-year sentence for his 2011 Marion County, Indiana, conviction for rape. He brings this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 alleging that the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) has failed to properly calculate his sentence. For the reasons that follow, Mr. Paschall's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied and the action dismissed with prejudice. In addition, the Court finds that a certificate of appealability should not issue.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On May 4, 2012, pursuant to a plea agreement, Mr. Paschall was sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment for rape. He did not file an appeal of his sentence at that time. On September 9, 2013, Mr. Paschall filed a petition for “Jail Time Credit.” On September 16, 2013, the trial court modified Petitioner's sentence to include 326 days of credit as opposed to 298 days in the original sentence. On June 25, 2014, Mr. Paschall filed a motion to “Correct Erroneous Sentence.” The trial court denied the motion on July 3, 2014. Mr. Paschall filed a notice of appeal from the denial of his motion to correct erroneous sentence on July 15, 2014. However, the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed his appeal on November 26, 2014, due to his failure to file an appellant's brief. Mr. Paschall did not seek review from the Indiana Supreme Court.

         On April 3, 2017, Mr. Paschall filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

         II. Applicable Law

         A federal court may grant habeas relief only if the petitioner demonstrates that he is in custody “in violation of the Constitution or laws . . . of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Mr. Johnson's petition is governed by the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”); see Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 336 (1997).

         The Supreme Court has described AEDPA as “a formidable barrier to federal habeas relief for prisoners whose claims have been adjudicated in state court” and has emphasized that courts must not “lightly conclude that a State's criminal justice system has experienced the ‘extreme malfunction' for which federal habeas relief is the remedy.” Burt v. Titlow, 134 S.Ct. 10, 16 (2013) (quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011)); see also Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010) (“AEDPA . . . imposes a highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings, and demands that state court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt.”) (internal quotation marks, citations, and footnote omitted).

         III. Discussion

         Mr. Paschall asserts that the IDOC has failed to properly credit him with credit time earned towards his sentence. Dkt. 2 at 4. He asserts that the respondent has only credited him with 326 days when he should have been entitled to 652 days. See dkt. 2-2 at 1; dkt. 17 at 1; dkt. 21 at 1. The respondent asserts that Mr. Paschall's claim is barred by the statute of limitations, by procedural default, is not cognizable and is without merit. Dkt. 16. In reply, Mr. Paschall reasserts that his time has not been properly calculated. Dkt. 21 at 1.

         A. Statute of Limitations

         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). “Under 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). “The one-year clock is stopped, however, during the time the petitioner's ‘properly filed' application for state postconviction relief ‘is pending.'” Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 198, 201 (2006) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2)).

         The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed Mr. Paschall's appeal on November 26, 2014. Dkt. 16-2 at 3. Mr. Paschall did not seek further review by the Indiana Supreme Court, but he had until December 26, 2014 to do so. See Rule 57(C) of the Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure. His conviction became final on this date. Any petition for a writ of habeas corpus, therefore, was due one year later, on December 26, 2015. However, Mr. Paschall did not file this petition until April 3, 2017, over a year after the limitations period expired.

         Mr. Paschall might be able to overcome the passage of the statute of limitations if he can show that the deadline should be equitably tolled. A petitioner is entitled to equitable tolling if he can establish that he has “‘(1) . . . been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and prevented timely filing.'” Socha v. Boughton, 763 F.3d 674, 684 (7th Cir. 2015) (quoting Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 649 (2010)). Mr. Paschall does not argue that he should be entitled to equitable tolling, and instead argues that “actual innocence” is a gateway to overcome the limitations ...

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