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Cruz-Rivera v. Palmer

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

May 19, 2017

MIGUEL ANGEL CRUZ-RIVERA, #768420, Petitioner,
v.
CARMEN PALMER, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING THE HABEAS PETITION, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL

          Denise Page Hood Chief Judge, United States District Court.

         I. Introduction

         Michigan prisoner Miguel Angel Cruz-Rivera (“Petitioner”) has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was convicted of first-degree murder and felony firearm following a jury trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court and sentenced to consecutive terms of life imprisonment without parole and two years imprisonment in 2010. In his petition, he raises claims concerning the trial court's denial of a request to view the crime scene, the trial court's denial of the jury's request for transcripts, the composition of the jury, the jury instructions, and the effectiveness of trial and appellate counsel.

         Upon conducting an initial review of the petition, the Court ordered Petitioner to show cause why his petition should not be dismissed as untimely under the one-year statute of limitations applicable to federal habeas actions. Petitioner filed a timely response to the Court's show cause order asserting that the one-year period should be equitably tolled because he is a Spanish speaker who does not understand the English language and he had difficulty obtaining legal assistance or help from other prisoners. Having further reviewed the matter, the Court concludes that the habeas petition is untimely and must be dismissed. 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 was convicted and sentenced in 2010. Following sentencing, he filed an appeal of right with the Michigan Court of Appeals raising claims concerning the effectiveness of trial counsel relative to the trial court's denial of a request to view the crime scene and the trial court's denial of the jury's request for transcripts. The court denied relief on those claims and affirmed his convictions. People v. Cruz-Rivera, No. 298786, 2011 WL 6186835 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 13, 2011) (unpublished). Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, which was denied. People v. Cruz-Rivera, 493 Mich. 879, 821 N.W.2d 783 (Oct. 31, 2012).

         On October 30, 2013, Petitioner filed a motion for relief from judgment with the state trial court raising claims concerning the composition of the jury, the jury instructions, and the effectiveness of trial and appellate counsel. See Petition, p. 4. The trial court denied the motion on April 30, 2014. See Register of Actions, People v. Cruz-Rivera, Case No. 09-029738-01-FC (Wayne Co. Cir. Ct.). Petitioner then filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals, which was denied pursuant to Michigan Court Rule 6.508(D)(3)(a) and (b). People v. Cruz-Rivera, No. 324335 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 19, 2014) (unpublished). Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, which was similarly denied. People v. Cruz-Rivera, 498 Mich. 919, 871 N.W.2d 171 (Nov. 24, 2015).

         Petitioner dated his federal habeas petition on October 25, 2016 and it was filed by the Court on November 10, 2016. The Court issued its show cause order on December 29, 2016. Petitioner dated his reply on January 9, 2017 and it was filed by the Court on January 17, 2017.

         III. Discussion

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), codified at 28 U.S.C. § 2241 et seq., 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 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 ...

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