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Christmann v. Schutte

United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division

May 13, 2015

LORI ANNE CHRISTMANN, Petitioner,
v.
WILLIAM SCHUTTE, Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, GRANTING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS, AND GRANTING PERMISSION TO PROCEE ON APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

ROBERT H. CLELAND, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This is a habeas case brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner Loh Anne Christmann was sentenced to 25-to-75 years in prison after she pleaded guilty but mentally ill to second-degree murder in the Oceana Circuit Court. Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.317. Her habeas petition raises four claims: 1) Petitioner's trial attorney did not show her documents related to her case after her guilty plea or allow her adequate time to decide whether to file a direct appeal, 2) Petitioner was denied the effective assistance of trial counsel regarding his advice whether to appeal, 3) the trial court relied on false information when it imposed sentence, and 4) Petitioner was prejudiced by the loss of her direct appeal.

On March 31, 2015, the court ordered Petitioner to show cause why the petition should not be dismissed for failure to comply with 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)'s one-year statute of limitations. (Dkt. # 4.) Petitioner filed two responses to the show cause order. In her first response. Petitioner asserts that her mental illness excuses her late filing. (Dkt. # 5.) In her second response, she assures the court that she would have the resources necessary to be a law abiding citizen if she were released. For the reasons stated below, the petition will be dismissed for failure to comply with the statute of limitations. Petitioner will, however, be granted a certificate of appealability and permission to proceed in forma pauperis.

I. Background

In 2005, Petitioner was convicted of second degree murder after pleading guilty but mentally ill. (Dkt. # 1 Pg. ID 1.) On January 20, 2006, she was sentenced to twenty-five to seventy-five years of imprisonment. (Id.) According to the petition, Petitioner did not file a direct appeal. On August 13, 2013, she filed a motion for relief from judgment in the trial court, and the trial court denied the motion by order dated August 23, 2013. (Id. at 12.) Petitioner appealed this decision, but the Michigan Court of Appeals denied relief because Petitioner “failed to establish both good cause for failing to previously raise the issues and actual prejudice from the irregularities alleged, and has not established that good cause should be waived. Mich. Ct. R. 6.508(D)(3)(a) and (b).” (Id. at 13.) Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal this decision, which was denied by the Michigan Supreme Court on October 28, 2014. (Id. at 11.) Petitioner filed the present habeas action, as well as an application to proceed without prepaying fees or costs, on December 15, 2014. (Dkt. ## 1, 2.)

II. Standard of Review

Upon the filing of a habeas corpus petition, the court must promptly examine the petition to determine “[i]f it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief . . . .” Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. If the Court determines that the petitioner is not entitled to relief, the court shall summarily dismiss the petition. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994) (“Federal courts are authorized to dismiss summarily any habeas petition that appears legally insufficient on its face.”). A preliminary question in a habeas case brought by a state prisoner is whether the petitioner complied with 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)’s one-year statute of limitations. “[D]istrict courts are permitted . . . to consider, sua sponte, the timeliness of a state prisoner’s habeas petition. Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 198, 209 (2006).

III. Discussion

Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), a one-year statute of limitations applies to an application for writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to a judgment of a state court. The one-year limitations period runs from the latest of:

(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through ...

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