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Noble v. Haas

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 5, 2017

WILLARD JEREMY NOBLE, #374042, Petitioner,
v.
RANDALL HAAS, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DENYING MOTION FOR CAUSE AND ENTITLEMENT TO EQUITABLE TOLLING, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL

          VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         This is a habeas case brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Michigan prisoner Willard Jeremy Noble (“Petitioner”) pleaded guilty to four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court and was sentenced to concurrent terms of 17 ½ to 40 years imprisonment pursuant to a plea agreement in 2001. In his pleadings, Petitioner raises claims concerning the effectiveness of appellate counsel and the validity of his plea.

         On January 26, 2016, the Court ordered Petitioner to show cause why this case should not be dismissed as untimely under the one-year statute of limitations applicable to federal habeas actions. In response, Petitioner filed a Motion for Cause and Entitlement to Equitable Tolling with a supporting brief asserting that he is entitled to equitable tolling of the one-year period due to a lack of legal representation, mental health issues, and actual innocence.

         After further review, the Court concludes that the Petition is untimely and must be dismissed, and that Petitioner's Motion must be denied. The Court also concludes that a Certificate of Appealability and leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal must be denied.

         II. Procedural History

         Petitioner states that he tendered his guilty plea on July 25, 2001. He moved to withdraw his plea at the time of sentencing, but the trial court denied the motion and sentenced him on September 27, 2001. Petitioner then filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals, which was denied. People v. Noble, No. 243237 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 24, 2002). Petitioner also filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, which was denied. People v. Noble, 468 Mich. 857, 658 N.W.2d 488 (Feb. 28, 2003).

         Petitioner filed a motion for relief from judgment with the state trial court on July 31, 2014. See Register of Actions, Nos. 01-592-FC, 01-689-FC (Washtenaw Co. Cir. Ct.). The trial court denied the motion, stating that “it is plainly apparent that Defendant is not entitled to the relief sought.” People v. Noble, Nos. 01-592-FC, 01-689-FC (Washtenaw Co. Cir. Ct. Sept. 29, 2014) (opinion attached to Petition). Petitioner filed a delayed application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals, which was denied for failing “to meet the burden of establishing entitlement to relief under MCR 6.508(D).” People v. Noble, No. 324738 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 21, 2015). Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, which was similarly denied. People v. Noble, 499 Mich. 854, 873 N.W.2d 561 (Feb. 2, 2016).

         The Petition before the Court is dated October 6, 2016. The Court ordered Petitioner to show cause regarding the timeliness of this case.

         III. Discussion

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), codified at 28 U.S.C. § 2241 et seq., became effective on April 24, 1996. The AEDPA includes a one-year period of limitations for habeas petitions brought by prisoners challenging state court judgments. The statute provides:

(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run 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 ...

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