United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
M. LAWSON United States District Judge
Thaddeus Williams was convicted of second-degree murder and
firearms offenses by a Wayne County, Michigan jury and
sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. He challenges his
convictions and sentences in a pro se petition and
amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Although he has raised 12 claims addressing a
variety of alleged constitutional violations, one issue is
fatal to his quest for relief: the untimeliness of his
petition. Because Williams did not comply with the one-year
statute of limitations applicable to federal habeas actions,
see 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1), and the petition is
not saved by equitable tolling, the Court must dismiss the
petition and deny relief.
petitioner shot Rufus Marshall to death during an argument in
an apartment hallway in Detroit, Michigan on March 16, 2007.
The Michigan Court of Appeals summarized the relevant facts
Defendant was convicted of the second-degree murder of Rufus
Marshall while he and Marshall were visiting an apartment in
Detroit on March 16, 2007. Defendant and Marshall got into an
argument about a rivalry between two neighborhoods in
Detroit, and also about a debt owed to defendant. Defendant
challenged Marshall to “knuckle it up, ” and
Marshall placed two telephone calls asking someone to bring
him his gun. Both men left the apartment and went into the
hallway, where Marshall was fatally shot in the chest.
Defendant contended that Marshall produced a gun during the
confrontation in the hallway, and that the gun discharged
when defendant grabbed Marshall in an attempt to disarm him.
The prosecutor maintained that the physical evidence and
other circumstances surrounding the shooting refuted
defendant's claim of self-defense.
People v. Williams, No. 279974, 2008 WL 4958547, *1
(Mich. Ct. App. Nov. 20, 2008). These facts are presumed to
be correct, see 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1);
Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009),
although they have little bearing on the main issue discussed
his convictions and sentencing, the petitioner filed a direct
appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals raising claims
concerning the reference to his weapons conviction and denial
of a mistrial motion, the sufficiency of the evidence, the
submission of first-degree and second-degree murder charges
to the jury, the conduct of the prosecutor and the trial
court, and the jury instructions. The court denied relief on
those claims and affirmed his convictions. The petitioner
filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan
Supreme Court, which was denied in a standard order on May
27, 2009. People v. Williams, 483 Mich. 1019, 765
N.W.2d 317 (2009). That court denied reconsideration on
August 6, 2009. People v. Williams, 484 Mich. 874,
769 N.W.2d 232 (2009).
October 5, 2009, the petitioner filed a motion to vacate his
convictions in the state trial court raising a claim
concerning his notice and trial on the first-degree murder
charge. The trial court denied relief in a summary order.
People v. Williams, No. 07-007377-01 (Wayne Co. Cir.
Ct. Nov. 24, 2009). The petitioner filed a delayed
application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Court of
Appeals, which was denied “for failure to meet the
burden of establishing entitlement to relief under MCR
6.508(D).” In denying the application, the court noted
that the petitioner's convictions were no longer
reviewable under the direct appeal rules, Mich. Ct. R. 7.200
or 7.300, and were only reviewable under the post-conviction
rules, Mich. Ct. R. 6.500, et seq. People v.
Williams, No. 295546 (Mich. Ct. App. May 24, 2010). The
court also denied reconsideration. People v.
Williams, No. 295546 (Mich. Ct. App. July 1, 2010). The
petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the
Michigan Supreme Court, which was denied in a standard order
on September 9, 2010, People v. Williams, 488 Mich.
858, 787 N.W.2d 124 (2010), and reconsideration was denied on
December 20, 2010. People v. Williams, 488 Mich.
998, 791 N.W.2d 445 (2010).
March 8, 2011, the petitioner filed a motion for relief from
judgment in the state trial court raising claims concerning
his notice for the first-degree murder charge, his right to a
public trial during jury voir dire, the jury instructions,
the failure to preserve evidence, and the ineffectiveness of
trial and appellate counsel. The court denied relief on those
claims citing Michigan Court Rule 6.508(D)(3). People v.
Williams, No. 07-007377 (Wayne Co. Cir. Ct. June 2,
2011). The petitioner filed an application for leave to
appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals, which was denied
“for failure to meet the burden of establishing
entitlement to relief under MCR 6.508(D).” People
v. Williams, No. 306161 (Mich. Ct. App. March 23, 2012).
The petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in
the Michigan Supreme Court, which was denied on June 25, 2012
because the motion for relief from judgment was
“prohibited by MCR 6.502(G).” People v.
Williams, 491 Mich. 947, 815 N.W.2d 450 (2012). The
court also denied reconsideration on November 20, 2012.
People v. Williams, 493 Mich. 898, 822 N.W.2d 577
petitioner, through counsel, filed an initial habeas petition
in this Court on November 7, 2013. The petitioner, on his
own, subsequently filed an amended petition raising the 12
claims that he raised on direct appeal and collateral review
in the state courts. The Court accepted the amended petition
as the operative petition in this case. The respondent filed
an answer to the amended petition contending that the
petition is untimely, that certain claims are barred by
procedural default, and that all of the claims lack merit.
The petitioner, through counsel, has filed a reply to that
answer asserting that his petition is timely.
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”) became effective on April 24, 1996 and
governs the filing date for this action because the
petitioner filed his petition after the AEDPA's effective
date. See Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 336 (1997).
The AEDPA amended 28 U.S.C. § 2244 to include a one-year
period of limitations for habeas petitions brought by
prisoners challenging state court judgments. Vroman v.
Brigano, 346 F.3d 598, 601 (6th Cir. 2003). The one-year
statute of limitations 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