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Alaniz v. United States

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

June 13, 2017

RAMON JESUS ALANIZ, JR., Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION TO TOLL AND DENYING MOTION TO VACATE AS

          THOMAS L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge

         On September 30, 2015, Petitioner Ramon Alaniz was sentenced to a term of 82 months of imprisonment after pleading guilty to robbery. ECF No. 27. Judgment was entered on October 6, 2015. ECF No. 27. On May 8, 2017, Alaniz filed a motion to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. ECF No. 29. He simultaneously filed a motion wherein he requested that the Court consider his untimely § 2255 motion. ECF No. 31. Alaniz contends that he was placed in administrative segregation on September 14, 2016, a few weeks before the deadline to file a § 2255 motion. He alleges that his property, including legal papers, were seized and stored by the property officer while he was detained. Upon his release from administrative segregation, his previously prepared § 2255 motion was not among his belongings. According to Alaniz, another inmate approached him on April 21, 2017, and informed him that Alaniz's legal papers, including the completed motion, had been given to him. Based on these “extraordinary circumstances, ” Alaniz contends that equitable tolling of the deadline for filing the motion is appropriate. Mot. Enter. at 4. The Court directed the Government to respond to Alaniz's motions. For the reasons stated below, equitable tolling is not appropriate. As such, Alaniz's § 2255 motion is untimely and will be denied.

         I.

         Judgment in Alaniz's case was entered on October 7, 2015, and became final 14 days afterwards. Fed. R. App. P. 4(b)(1)(A)(ii) (providing fourteen days for filing a notice of appeal in a criminal case). A motion seeking relief under § 2255 is untimely if it is not filed within a “1-year period of limitation. 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f). “That limitation period shall run from the latest of”

(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or

(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.

Id. at (f)(1)-(4).

         Here, Alaniz could only conceivably rely upon § 2255(f)(1). Thus, Alaniz's deadline for filing his § 2255 motion was October 21, 2016. Alaniz did not file his habeas petition until May 8, 2017. ECF No. 29.

         In some situations, equitable tolling of the one-year deadline is appropriate. Solomon v. United States, 467 F.3d 928, 933 (6th Cir. 2006). However, “equitable tolling should be granted sparingly.” Id. (citing Dunlap v. United States, 250 F.3d 1001, 1008-09 (6th Cir. 2001)). The following factors are considered in determining whether to toll:

(1) the petitioner's lack of notice of the filing requirement; (2) the petitioner's lack of constructive knowledge of the filing requirement; (3) diligence in pursuing one's rights; (4) absence of prejudice to the respondent; and (5) the petitioner's reasonableness in remaining ignorant of the legal requirement for filing his claim.

Id.

         Alaniz contends that he believed the deadline to file was September 29, 2016, a year after he was sentenced. Alaniz was in administrative detention from September 4, 2015, to October 4, 2015, after being found in possession of a weapon. Upon being released, Alaniz's already completed (but not submitted) motion for habeas relief was not returned to him. On April 22, 2017, another inmate found and returned the § 2255 motion to Alaniz.

         Even assuming all alleged facts to be true, tolling is not warranted here. First of all, Alaniz was not in administrative detention when the deadline to file passed. In fact, he had at least three weeks after being released in which to prepare his motion. Alaniz asserts that he was operating under a misconception regarding the deadline to file. Even if true, Alaniz could have researched the deadline for filing and learned he had another month to ...


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