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Troxel v. State

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 6, 2018

JEDIDIAH DEAN TROXEL, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF MINNESOTA, Respondent.

          Jedidiah D. Troxel, pro se petitioner.

          Matthew Frank, for defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE

         On October 27, 2016, Petitioner Jedidiah Dean Troxel filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Pet., Oct. 27, 2016, Docket No. 1.) Troxel is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after a Minnesota jury convicted him of first-degree murder while committing criminal sexual conduct. (Id. at 1.) He was sentenced on November 5, 2013, and never filed a direct appeal. (Id. at 1, 7.) He filed a petition for postconviction relief on December 22, 2014, which the state district court denied. (R&R at 1, Oct. 18, 2017, Docket No. 17.); Troxel v. State, 875 N.W.2d 302, 305-06 (Minn. 2016). Troxel appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which affirmed the district court's decision on February 17, 2016. Id. at 316.

         Troxel's § 2254 petition seeks relief on three grounds: (1) the trial judge should have been disqualified from presiding over his trial based on an appearance of partiality; (2) the trial court erred in denying his request for a lesser-included-offense jury instruction on second-degree intentional murder; and (3) the trial court erred in denying his request to introduce evidence of an alternative perpetrator. (Pet. at 3.)

         United States Magistrate Judge David T. Schultz issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that the Court deny Troxel's habeas petition as untimely and dismiss the action with prejudice. (R&R at 4.) Troxel filed Objections on January 31, 2018.[1] (Objs., Jan. 31, 2018, Docket No. 28.) Because Troxel's § 2254 petition is time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1), the Court will overrule his objection, adopt the R&R, and deny his petition.

         DISCUSSION

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Upon the filing of an R&R by a magistrate judge, “a party may serve and file specific written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2); accord D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(1). “The district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3); accord D. Minn. LR 72.2(b)(3). Because Troxel's objections were proper, the Court will review the R&R de novo.

         II. THE AEDPA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) imposes a one-year statute of limitations on habeas petitions filed by state prisoners. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). The one-year period begins on the date that the petitioner's “judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review.”[2] Id. § 2244(d)(1)(A). AEDPA tolls the one-year period while a petition for postconviction relief is pending. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2).

         In this case, Troxel filed his habeas petition 208 days late. He was sentenced on November 5, 2013, and his 90-day deadline for filing for direct review was February 3, 2014. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 29.03, subd. 3. As such, the one-year period for filing a habeas petition began on February 4, 2014. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A). The clock ran for 321 days before being tolled when Troxel filed his petition for postconviction relief on December 22, 2014. See Id. § 2244(d)(2). The clock began to run again on February 18, 2016, the day after the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Troxel's state petition for postconviction relief. Id. The one-year limitation period expired 45 days later, on April 2, 2016.[3] Troxel's federal habeas petition was filed on October 27, 2016, which was 208 days after the expiration of AEDPA's limitation period.

         Troxel mistakenly argues that Section 2244(d)(2) of AEDPA resets the limitations period, rather than merely tolling it. Under this assumption, he would have had one year from the denial of his petition for postconviction relief to file a habeas petition, making his filing timely. “Section 2244(d)(2) only stops, but does not reset, the [statute of limitations] clock from ticking and cannot revive a time period that has already expired.” Cordle v. Guarino, 428 F.3d 46, 48 n.4 (1st Cir. 2005) (quoting Dunker v. Bissonnette, 154 F.Supp.2d 95, 103 (D. Mass. 2001)). Nothing in AEDPA suggests that the one-year limitations period is reset at the conclusion of a state postconviction review proceeding.

         III. ...


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