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Curtis v. Winn

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

December 14, 2017

WILLIE CURTIS, Petitioner,
THOMAS WINN, Respondent.

          Honorable Robert J. Jonker Judge.


          RAY KENT, United States Magistrate Judge.

         This is a habeas corpus action brought by a state prisoner under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Promptly after the filing of a petition for habeas corpus, the Court must undertake a preliminary review of the petition to determine whether “it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court.” Rule 4, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases; see 28 U.S.C. § 2243. If so, the petition must be summarily dismissed. Rule 4; see Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970) (district court has the duty to “screen out” petitions that lack merit on their face). A dismissal under Rule 4 includes those petitions which raise legally frivolous claims, as well as those containing factual allegations that are palpably incredible or false. Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436-37 (6th Cir. 1999). The Court may sua sponte dismiss a habeas action as time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 198, 209 (2006). After undertaking the review required by Rule 4, I conclude that the petition is barred by the one-year statute of limitations.


         I. Factual Allegations

         Petitioner Willie Curtis is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections at the Saginaw Correctional Facility (SRF) in Freeland, Michigan. On June 30, 2005, Petitioner entered a plea of guilty to one count of first-degree home invasion, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.110a(2), and acknowledged that he was a habitual offender and that this was his second offense, Mich. Comp. Laws § 769.10. In exchange for Petitioner's plea, the prosecutor dismissed two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.520d.

         On July 27, 2005, the court imposed sentence. At the beginning of the hearing, the prosecutor and defense counsel informed the judge that the parties agreed to dismissal of the habitual offender-second offense designation. The change reduced the maximum sentence from 30 years to 20 years. It also lowered the upper limit of the minimum sentence range. All of the paperwork, however, had been prepared to reflect a sentence based on Petitioner's status as a habitual offender-second offense. The sentencing hearing transcript reflects the efforts of the parties and the court to alter the documents to conform to the dismissal of the habitual offender notice. The court sentenced Petitioner to a term of imprisonment of 3 to 20 years. The Ingham County Circuit Court docket indicates that the minimum sentence imposed represented a downward departure from the guidelines range.

         Petitioner did not appeal his conviction or sentence.

         On January 27, 2015, Petitioner filed a habeas corpus petition in this Court challenging the MDOC's requirement that he complete a sex offender program. Curtis v. Gidley, No. 1:15-cv-129 (W.D. Mich.) (Pet., ECF No. 1.) In that petition, however, Petitioner did not challenge the validity of his conviction or the sentence imposed upon him by the Ingham County Circuit Court. The Court dismissed the action because it concerned the conditions of Petitioner's confinement rather than its fact or duration. Curtis v. Gidley, No. 1:15-cv-129 (W.D. Mich.) (Op. & J., ECF Nos. 7 & 9).

         On November 6, 2017, Petitioner filed this habeas corpus petition. Under Sixth Circuit precedent, the application is deemed filed when handed to prison authorities for mailing to the federal court. Cook v. Stegall, 295 F.3d 517, 521 (6th Cir. 2002). Petitioner placed his petition in the prison mailing system on November 2, 2017. (Pet., ECF No. 1, PageID.14.)

         II. Statute of Limitations

         Petitioner's application is barred by the one-year statute of limitations provided in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1), which became effective on April 24, 1996, as part of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (AEDPA). Section 2244(d)(1) 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 ...

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