United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
M. LAWSON United States District Judge
Dantoine Brown was convicted on a plea of guilty to charges
of manslaughter and armed robbery and sentenced to lengthy
prison sentences. He challenges his convictions and sentences
in a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his petition, Brown argues
that the trial court failed to obtain a sufficient factual
basis for his guilty plea and that he received ineffective
assistance of counsel. After reviewing the petition and the
state's response, the Court finds that one issue is fatal
to Brown's request for relief: the untimeliness of his
petition. Because Brown 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 statutory or equitable tolling, the Court must
dismiss the petition and deny relief.
petitioner's convictions arise from an armed robbery and
the strangling death of Jeanne Hank in March 2011. The
petitioner was charged with felony murder, armed robbery,
open murder, and unlawfully driving away an automobile. On
February 7, 2012, the prosecutor moved to amend the open
murder charge to a charge of manslaughter. The trial court
allowed the amendment. The petitioner then pleaded guilty to
manslaughter and armed robbery, pursuant to a plea agreement
calling for the dismissal of the remaining charges, a minimum
sentence of ten years, no consecutive sentencing, and
requiring the petitioner to testify as needed by the
March 19, 2012, the petitioner was sentenced in accordance
with the terms of the plea agreement to 10 to 15 years in
prison for manslaughter and 10 to 50 years for armed robbery.
The petitioner did not file an application for leave to
appeal the judgment of conviction to the Michigan Court of
Appeals. Instead, on December 7, 2012, the petitioner,
through counsel, filed a motion for relief from judgment in
the trial court, claiming that an insufficient factual basis
supported his plea and that his trial attorney was
ineffective for failing to raise this issue at the time of
the plea. The trial court denied the motion on May 3, 2013.
The petitioner filed a delayed application for leave to
appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals, raising the same
claims raised in his motion for relief from judgment. The
Michigan Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal “for
lack of merit in the grounds presented.” People v.
Brown, No. 318719 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 21, 2014). The
Michigan Supreme Court also denied leave to appeal.
People v. Brown, 496 Mich. 867 (July 29, 2014).
petitioner filed his habeas petition on July 27, 2015,
raising the same claims that he raised on collateral review
in state court. The respondent filed an answer in opposition
arguing that the petition was not timely filed, the
sufficiency of the evidence claim is not cognizable on habeas
review, and both claims are meritless.
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
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 the
exercise of due diligence.
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). A habeas petition filed outside
the prescribed time period must be dismissed. See Akrawi
v. Booker, 572 F.3d 252, 260 (6th Cir. 2009); Wilson
v. Birkett, 192 F.Supp.2d 763, 765 (E.D. Mich. 2002).
petitioner was sentenced on March 19, 2012. He had six months
from that date to file a delayed application for leave to
appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals. See Mich.
Ct. R. 7.205(G)(3), but he did not pursue any direct appeal.
His convictions thus became final on September 19, 2012, when
the time for filing an application for leave to appeal to the
Michigan Court of Appeals expired. See Williams v.
Birkett, 670 F.3d 729, 731 (6th Cir. 2012)
(petitioner's conviction became final when the time for
seeking review under state court rule expired); see
alsoGonzalez v. Thaler, --- U.S. ---, 132
S.Ct. 641, 656 (2012) (when a petitioner does not seek review
in a state's highest court, the judgment becomes final
when the time for seeking such review expires). The one-year
limitations period commenced on the following day, September
20, 2012.See Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a) (excluding the
“day of the event that triggers the period” when
calculating a period of time); Bronaugh v. Ohio, 235
F.3d 280, 284-85 (6th Cir. 2000). The one-year limitations
period continued to run until December 10, 2012, when the
petitioner filed a motion for relief from judgment. The
motion for relief from judgment tolled the limitations period
with 284 days remaining. See 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(2) (“The time during which a properly filed
application for State post-conviction or other collateral
review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is
pending shall not be counted toward any period of
limitation.”). The limitations period continued to be
tolled until July 29, 2014, when the Michigan Supreme court
denied the ...