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Johnson v. Washington

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

May 30, 2019

RODNEY JURON JOHNSON, Petitioner,
v.
HEIDI WASHINGTON, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (DOCS. 13, 15) [1]

          AVERN COHN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         This is a habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In 2014, Rodney Juron Johnson (“Petitioner”) pleaded guilty to delivery/manufacture of 50 to 449 grams of cocaine and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in state court and was sentenced to consecutive terms of one to 20 years imprisonment and two years imprisonment on these convictions in 2014.[2] Petitioner, proceeding pro se, raises claims concerning the effectiveness of counsel, the validity of a search and seizure, the conduct of the prosecutor, the state court's jurisdiction, and his confrontation rights relative to an informant.

         Before the Court is Respondent's motion to dismiss the petition as untimely under the one-year statute of limitations. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

         II. Procedural History

         Petitioner was sentenced in 2014. He then filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals raising claims concerning the denial of his motions to suppress evidence and to produce an informant. The court of appeals denied leave to appeal for lack of merit. People v. Johnson, No. 320676 (Mich. Ct. App. April 14, 2014). Petitioner did not further appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.

         On July 25, 2014, Petitioner filed a motion to withdraw his plea with the trial court raising claims concerning the voluntariness of his plea and the effectiveness of counsel. The trial court denied the motion on August 22, 2014. See Register of Actions, People v. Johnson, No. 13-010292-01 (Wayne Co. Cir. Ct.). Petitioner then filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals raising claims concerning the denial of his plea withdrawal motion, the effectiveness of counsel, and the imposition of court costs at sentencing. The court of appeals granted relief on the court costs claim, but denied leave to appeal as to the other claims for lack of merit. People v. Johnson, No. 323527 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 16, 2014). Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court raising claims concerning the voluntariness of his plea, the effectiveness of counsel, the use of the informant, and evidence fabrication and tampering. The court denied leave to appeal in a standard order. People v. Johnson, 862 N.W.2d 199 (Mich. April 28, 2015).

         On November 24, 2015, Petitioner filed a motion for relief from judgment with the state trial court raising claims concerning the effectiveness of counsel, the conduct of the police, the conduct of the prosecutor and the failure to disclose evidence, the trial court's denial of his motions to produce the informant, for evidentiary hearing, and to withdraw his plea, and the state court's jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion pursuant to Michigan Court Rule 6.508(D)(3). People v. Johnson, No. 13-010292-01 (Wayne Co. Cir. Ct. March 1, 2016). Petitioner filed a delayed application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals, which was denied for failure to establish that the trial court erred in denying his motion for relief from judgment. People v. Johnson, No. 333373 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 9, 2016). He also filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, which was denied because he “failed to meet the burden of establishing entitlement to relief under MCR 6.508(D).” People v. Johnson, 903 N.W.2d 558 (Mich. Nov. 29, 2017).

         Petitioner filed his federal habeas petition on October 25, 2018.

         III. Analysis A. Statute of Limitations

         There is 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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