Jerome Meraz v. Wendy Kelley, No. 16-1744 (8th Cir. 2016)

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Court Description: Per Curiam - Before Smith, Bowman and Benton, Circuit Judges] Prisoner case - Habeas. The district court did not err in finding Meraz's habeas petition was time barred and that there were no grounds for equitable tolling.
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United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 16-1744 ___________________________ Jerome M. Meraz lllllllllllllllllllll Plaintiff - Appellant v. Tony Rodgers; Wendy Kelley, Director, Arkansas Department of Correction; Mike Shelite; Dustin McDaniels lllllllllllllllllllll Defendants - Appellees ____________ Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas - Harrison ____________ Submitted: December 16, 2016 Filed: December 21, 2016 [Unpublished] ____________ Before SMITH, BOWMAN, and BENTON, Circuit Judges. ____________ PER CURIAM. Jerome Meraz—who pleaded guilty in Arkansas in 2008 to stalking, kidnapping, residential burglary, and misdemeanor theft—appeals from the judgment of the District Court1 denying his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition as time-barred. Following de novo review, we agree with the District Court that the petition is time-barred. Even if we were to assume that the one-year limitations period under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1) was tolled during the pendency of Meraz’s collateral challenges to his criminal conviction in state court, his federal petition was still untimely filed with no grounds for equitable tolling. See Camacho v. Hobbs, 774 F.3d 931, 934–35 (8th Cir.) (discussing the dismissal of a § 2254 petition as timebarred following an Arkansas plea proceeding), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 81 (2015); Burns v. Prudden, 588 F.3d 1148, 1150 (8th Cir. 2009) (standard of review for equitable tolling). We therefore affirm the judgment of the district court. We also grant counsel’s request to withdraw, and we deny as moot Meraz’s pending motion. ______________________________ 1 The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks, United States District Judge for the Western District of Arkansas, adopting the report and recommendations of the Honorable Mark E. Ford, United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Arkansas. -2-