United States District Court, D. Minnesota
March 5, 2015
Carl Lavin Ford, Petitioner,
State of Minnesota and County of Clay, Respondents.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BECKY R. THORSON, Magistrate Judge.
On July 18, 2012, Carl Lavin Ford received a one-year suspended sentence and two years of probation after he pleaded guilty in Minnesota to gross misdemeanor assault. (Doc. No. 1 at 1.) Ford did not appeal his conviction or sentence, nor did he file a state motion for post-conviction relief. ( Id. at 2-3.) Instead, on January 22, 2015,  he filed a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his statecourt conviction on grounds of judicial misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, and ineffective assistance of counsel. ( Id. at 1, 5-8, 15.) Upon preliminary review under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, this Court recommends that Ford's petition be summarily dismissed as time-barred under the applicable statute of limitations.
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") imposes a one-year statute of limitations for filing a federal habeas petition, which typically begins to run 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." 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). In his petition, Ford indicates that the sentence he seeks to challenge was entered on July 18, 2012. (Doc. No. 1 at 1.) Because Ford did not appeal his conviction or sentence, his criminal judgment became final on October 16, 2012, when the 90-day period for pursuing direct review expired. See Gonzalez v. Thaler, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 641, 654-55 (2012) (holding that when a petitioner does not pursue direct review in state court, the criminal judgment becomes final when the time for pursuing such review expires); Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.05, subd. 1 (imposing a 90-day deadline for appealing a criminal sentence). Ford thus had until October 16, 2013, to file his federal habeas petition. He did not, however, file his petition until January 22, 2015, more than a year after the statute of limitations had expired.
Ford does not contend that he is entitled to equitable tolling of the federal limitations period, and his petition does not otherwise set forth any facts suggesting that "he has been pursuing his rights diligently" and that "some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and prevented timely filing." See Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 649 (2010) (quotations omitted). Nor has Ford made a "convincing showing of actual innocence" based on new evidence, as needed to overcome AEDPA's time limitations. See McQuiggin v. Perkins, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 1924, 1928 (2013). Instead, Ford contends that his petition is not barred by AEDPA's limitations period because he is "still serving time on a sentence that came about illegally and unconstitutionally, " and because he "didn't know of any proceedings to go about getting this conviction dealt with legally until now." (Doc. No. 1 at 13-14.) Neither of those circumstances, however, exempts Ford from having to comply with AEDPA's filing deadline or provides a basis for equitably tolling that deadline for any period of time, much less for over a year. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(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.") (emphasis added); Perkins, ___ U.S. at ___, 133 S.Ct. at 1933 (explaining that AEDPA's time limitations apply to all but a "severely confined category" of cases in which new evidence establishes a credible claim of actual innocence); Shoemate v. Norris, 390 F.3d 595, 598 (8th Cir. 2004) (explaining that pro se status, lack of legal knowledge, or confusion about the federal limitations period are inadequate to warrant equitable tolling).
Because Ford's petition is plainly barred under AEDPA's one-year statute of limitations, this Court recommends summary dismissal under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. And because reasonable jurists would not find debatable the timeliness of Ford's petition, this Court further recommends that no certificate of appealability be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c); Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000) (explaining that where a habeas petition is denied on procedural grounds, a petitioner seeking a certificate of appealability must show both "that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling").
Based on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that:
1. Ford's petition for a writ of habeas corpus (Doc. No. 1) be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as time-barred; and
2. No certificate of appealability be granted in this matter.