Justia.com Opinion Summary:
In 2006, petitioner was convicted of three counts of delivery of cocaine and was sentenced as a habitual offender to three consecutive terms of 60 years. The state court of appeals affirmed and petitioner did not appeal. After the state court denied a subsequent petition seeking post-conviction relief, the state supreme court dismissed an appeal on November 13, 2008. He filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus on November 13, 2009, believing that the statute of limitations, 28 U.S.C. 2244(d), had not been triggered until his post-conviction appeal had been dismissed. The district court dismissed the petition as untimely. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. Direct review of the conviction was complete on December 26, 2007. The time period was tolled during the pendency of a post-conviction Rule 37 petition, from January 22, 2008, to November 13, 2008. On November 14, 2008, the statute of limitations resumed running. Petitioner cannot show that he had been pursuing his rights diligently.
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Prisoner case - habeas. Petition was filed after the expiration of the one- year statute of limitations found in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2244(d), and the district court did not err in dismissing the petition; King was not entitled to equitable tolling as he could not show that he had pursued his rights diligently or that some extraordinary circumstance stood in the way of a timely filing.
United States Court of Appeals
FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT
* Appeal from the United States
* District Court for the
* Eastern District of Arkansas.
Ray Hobbs, Director,
Arkansas Department of Correction,
Submitted: December 13, 2011
Filed: January 27, 2012
Before WOLLMAN, MELLOY, and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges.
WOLLMAN, Circuit Judge.
Stacy King appeals the dismissal of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. The
district court1 determined that the petition was filed after the expiration of the one-year
statute of limitations. See 28 U.S.C. Â§ 2244(d). We affirm.
The Honorable J. Leon Holmes, Chief Judge, United States District Court for
the Eastern District of Arkansas, adopting the report and recommendation of the
Honorable Joe J. Volpe, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of
On January 20, 2006, King was convicted of three counts of delivery of cocaine
in the Circuit Court of Union County, Arkansas. He was sentenced as a habitual
offender to three prison terms of sixty years, to be served consecutively. He appealed
to the Arkansas Court of Appeals, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to
support his convictions. The court of appeals affirmed on December 5, 2007, King
v. State, No. CACR06-0952 (Ark. Ct. App. Dec. 5, 2007), and issued its mandate on
December 27, 2007. King did not seek direct review from the Arkansas Supreme
On January 22, 2008, King filed a Rule 37 petition seeking post-conviction
relief from the circuit court. See Ark. R. Crim. P. 37. Following the circuit courtâ€™s
denial of relief, King appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court and moved for an
extension of time to file his appellate brief. The state supreme court concluded that
Kingâ€™s appeal could not be successful. King v. State, No. CR 08-628, 2008 WL
4890015 (Ark. 2008). On November 13, 2008, it dismissed the appeal and declared
that Kingâ€™s motion was moot. Id.
King filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus on November 13, 2009, believing
that the statute of limitations had not been triggered until his post-conviction appeal
had been dismissed. In a report and recommendation, the magistrate judge determined
that Kingâ€™s petition was filed after the applicable statute of limitations deadline. The
magistrate judge further concluded that King was not entitled to equitable tolling
because he had failed to diligently pursue his rights. The district court adopted the
report and recommendation in its entirety and dismissed Kingâ€™s petition with
prejudice. D. Ct. Order of Nov. 5, 2010, at 1. The district court granted a certificate
of appealability on the following issues: (1) whether Kingâ€™s petition is barred by the
period of limitations and (2) whether he should be granted relief from the limitations
by virtue of the doctrine of equitable tolling. Id. at 2.
Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA),
a one-year statute of limitations applies to a state prisonerâ€™s petition for federal habeas
corpus relief. 28 U.S.C. Â§ 2244(d)(1). The statute of limitations is tolled while state
post-conviction or other collateral review is pending. Â§ 2244(d)(2).
AEDPAâ€™s statute of limitations begins to run on â€œthe date on which the
judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time
for seeking such review.â€ Â§ 2244(d)(1)(A). â€œReview of a state criminal conviction
by the United States Supreme Court is considered direct review of the conviction.â€
Smith v. Bowersox, 159 F.3d 345, 347 (8th Cir. 1998). If the petitioner pursues direct
review to the Supreme Court, judgment becomes final at the â€œconclusion of direct
reviewâ€â€”that is, when the Supreme Court â€œaffirms [the] conviction on the merits or
denies [the] petition for certiorari.â€ Gonzalez v. Thaler, No. 10-895, 2012 WL 43513,
at *9 (U.S. Jan. 10, 2012).
For all other petitioners, judgment becomes final at the â€œexpiration of the time
for seeking such reviewâ€â€”that is, â€œwhen the time for pursuing direct review in [the
Supreme] Court, or in state court, expires.â€ Id. at *9. The Supreme Court may review
judgments of a â€œstate court of last resortâ€ or of a lower state court if the â€œstate court
of last resortâ€ has denied discretionary review. Id. at *11 (citing Sup. Ct. R. 13.1; 28
U.S.C. Â§ 1257(a)). If the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to review the direct appeal,
the judgment becomes final ninety days after the conclusion of the prisonerâ€™s direct
criminal appeals in the state system. See id.; Sup. Ct. R. 13.1. â€œ[F]or a state prisoner
who does not seek review in a Stateâ€™s highest court, the judgment becomes â€˜finalâ€™ on
the date that the time for seeking such review expires.â€ Gonzalez, 2012 WL 43513,
In Riddle v. Kemna, our en banc court concluded that the state supreme court
was Missouriâ€™s â€œstate court of last resort.â€ 523 F.3d 850, 855 (8th Cir. 2008) (en
banc). Riddle had not applied to transfer his case to the Missouri Supreme Court, and
thus we concluded that his conviction became final when the Missouri Court of
Appeals issued its mandate on direct appeal.2 We held that â€œbecause the United States
Supreme Court could not have reviewed Riddleâ€™s direct appeal, â€˜the expiration of time
for seeking [direct] reviewâ€™ does not include the 90-day period for filing for
certiorari.â€ Riddle, 523 F.3d at 855 (alteration in original). Riddle overruled the
holding of our earlier en banc decision in Nichols v. Bowersox, 172 F.3d 1068 (8th
Cir. 1999) (en banc), that AEDPAâ€™s statute of limitations did not begin to run until
ninety days after the Missouri Court of Appeals denied the direct appeal.
In Parmley v. Norris, 586 F.3d 1066 (8th Cir. 2009), a panel of our court
applied the analysis set forth in Riddle to determine when the statute of limitations
began to run for an Arkansas prisoner. After examining Arkansas court procedures,
we concluded that the Arkansas Court of Appeals was not the â€œstate court of last
resort.â€ Parmley, 586 F.3d at 1073.
King first argues that his petition was timely under the law that applied at the
time he filed his petition. He contends that the district court should have applied
Nichols and allowed him the ninety-day toll on the statute of limitations. On April 8,
2008â€”while Kingâ€™s state post-conviction proceedings were pendingâ€”Riddle
The Supreme Courtâ€™s decision in Gonzalez v. Thaler abrogated our
determination in Riddle, 523 F.3d at 856, that the direct-appeal mandate was the
conclusion of direct review in the petitionerâ€™s case. Gonzalez, 2012 WL 43513, at
*10-11. In Gonzalez, the Supreme Court instructed us that when a petitioner decides
to forgo state-court appeals, we must â€œlook to state-court filing deadlinesâ€ to
determine the â€œexpiration of the time for seeking [direct] review.â€ Id. at *10 (quoting
Â§ 2244(d)(1)) (alteration in original).
overruled Nichols. 523 F.3d at 857-58. Accordingly, when King filed his petition for
habeas relief, on November 13, 2009, Riddle was the law of the circuit. To the extent
King argues that Parmley announced a new rule, his argument is misplaced. As stated
above, Parmley applied the analytical framework set forth in Riddle.3
Under Riddle and as explained in Parmley, Kingâ€™s petition was untimely.
Direct review of Kingâ€™s conviction was complete on December 26, 2007.4 AEDPAâ€™s
statute of limitations thus began running on December 27, 2007. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
6(a)(1)(A) (excluding from the time computation the day of the event that triggers the
time period); Moore v. United States, 173 F.3d 1131, 1133-35 (8th Cir. 1999)
(applying Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(a) to AEDPA statutes of limitations).
The time period was tolled during the pendency of Kingâ€™s Rule 37 petition, from
January 22, 2008, to November 13, 2008. See Â§ 2244(d)(2). On November 14, 2008,
the statute of limitations resumed running. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a)(1)(A).
Accordingly, when King filed his federal habeas petition on November 13, 2009, more
than one year had passed, and the statute of limitations had run.
Parmley was filed on November 16, 2009, three days after King filed his
federal habeas petition.
The Arkansas Court of Appeals denied Kingâ€™s direct appeal on December 5,
2007. A petition to review a decision of the court of appeals â€œmust be filed within 18
calendar days from the date of the decision . . . .â€ Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 2-4(a). When the
last day for filing a petition for review â€œfalls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday,
the time for such action shall be extended to the next business day.â€ Ark. R. App. P.
Crim. R. 17. Eighteen days from December 5 is December 23. In 2007, December
23 fell on a Sunday. Because December 24 and 25 are legal holidays in Arkansas, see
Ark. Code Â§ 1-5-101(a)(9)-(10), the time for filing Kingâ€™s petition for review was
December 26, 2007.
Alternatively, King argues the statute of limitations should have been equitably
tolled. â€œ[Section] 2244(d) is subject to equitable tolling in appropriate cases.â€
Holland v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2549, 2560 (2010). â€œGenerally, a litigant seeking
equitable tolling bears the burden of establishing two elements: (1) that he has been
pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in
his way.â€ Riddle, 523 F.3d at 857 (quoting Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418
King cannot show that he had been pursuing his rights diligently. King argues
that his habeas attorney had studied the record, conducted research, and consulted
with another attorney to determine when Kingâ€™s statute of limitations would expire.
Kingâ€™s attorney, however, apparently was not aware of our en banc decision in Riddle.
After Riddle issued, his attorney was on notice that we would consider Arkansas
appellate court procedures to determine whether the Arkansas Court of Appeals was
the â€œstate court of last resort.â€ At least one published decision from the Eastern
District of Arkansas recognized that Nichols had been overruled and concluded that,
after Riddle, the Arkansas Court of Appeals is not the state court of last resort. BenYah v. Norris, 570 F. Supp. 2d 1086, 1089-95 (E.D. Ark. 2008) (decided during the
pendency of Kingâ€™s post-conviction proceedings and while the statute of limitations
was stayed). King has thus failed to satisfy the first requirement of equitable tolling.
See Beery v. Ault, 312 F.3d 948, 951 (8th Cir. 2002) (â€œIneffective assistance of
counsel generally does not warrant equitable tolling.â€); see also Irwin v. Depâ€™t of
Veterans Affairs, 498 U.S. 89, 96 (1990) (â€œ[T]he principles of equitable tolling . . . do
not extend to what is at best a garden variety claim of excusable neglect.â€); cf. Maples
v. Thomas, No.10-63, 2012 WL 125438, at *10 (U.S. Jan. 18, 2012) (â€œThus, when a
petitionerâ€™s postconviction attorney misses a filing deadline, the petitioner is bound
by the oversight and cannot rely on it to establish cause. We do not disturb that
general rule.â€ (citation omitted)).
King also cannot meet the second requirement of equitable tolling: that some
extraordinary circumstance stood in his way. Although â€œ[t]he abrogation of an en
banc precedent is an extraordinary circumstance,â€ Riddle, 523 F.3d at 857, our en
banc decision in Riddle did not stand in the way of Kingâ€™s petition being timely. As
set forth above, Riddle was decided while Kingâ€™s statute of limitations was stayed and
more than a year before Kingâ€™s petition was ultimately due. King thus could have
complied with the statute of limitations, as calculated after Riddle. Kingâ€™s case is thus
distinguishable from the cases in which Riddle rendered the prisonerâ€™s petition
untimely. See, e.g., Riddle, 523 F.3d at 857; Burns v. Prudden, 588 F.3d 1148, 115051 (8th Cir. 2009) (prisoner filed her petition the same day Riddle issued); Shelton v.
Purkett, 563 F.3d 404, 407 (8th Cir. 2009) (prisoner filed his petition before Riddle
issued); Streu v. Dormire, 557 F.3d 960, 968 (8th Cir. 2009) (same); Bishop v.
Dormire, 526 F.3d 382, 384 (8th Cir. 2008) (same). Given the amount of time
between the issuance of Riddle and Kingâ€™s AEDPA deadline, we cannot say that
Riddle stood in Kingâ€™s way of timely filing his petition.
The judgment is affirmed.