United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO STAY
J. MICHELSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Zale, through counsel, seeks habeas corpus relief. A little
more than seven months ago, Zale's counsel timely filed a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus. (ECF No. 1.) Zale's
petition has two claims, and both were fully exhausted in the
state courts. So nothing stands in the way of moving forward
on Zale's petition.
Zale now asks the Court to hold off on adjudicating his
petition. Zale says he has learned of new claims that were
not previously brought to the state court's attention.
And because Zale thinks only one day remains on the statute
of limitations, he seeks a 90-day stay so he can investigate
the new claims and exhaust them in the state system. (ECF No.
4, PageID.83-84.) For his part, the Warden does not stand in
the way of a stay. (Id. at PageID.84.)
for the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Zale's
request. And to better understand the reasons that follow, a
bit of procedural history and law is required.
the law. Habeas corpus petitions are governed by the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. AEDPA sets a
one-year limitations period on habeas corpus petitions. 28
U.S.C. § 2244(d). As a baseline rule, for Michigan
petitioners like Zale, AEDPA's one-year limitations
period begins 90 days after the Michigan Supreme Court denies
leave to appeal. See Holbrook v. Curtin,
833 F.3d 612, 614 (6th Cir. 2016); 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1)(A). And as relevant to this case, the filing of a
federal habeas corpus petition does not stop the limitations
period. See Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 181-82
next, the procedural history. Zale was convicted on June 12,
2015. (ECF No. 1, PageID.3.) The state court of appeals
affirmed his conviction a little less than two years later,
and on September 12, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals
denied Zale leave to appeal. (Id.) So Zale's
AEDPA limitations period started running on December 11,
2017. See Sup. Ct. R. 13; 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1)(A). On December 10, 2018, with only one day
remaining on the clock, Zale filed a fully exhausted habeas
corpus petition. (ECF No. 1.) So the two claims raised in the
petition are timely. But any claims added more than one day
later, would likely not be.
the law to Zale's situation and it becomes clear that
Zale seeks a stay so he can litigate, in the state courts,
unexhausted claims that, as it stands, are untimely. Again,
Zale petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus with one day
remaining in his limitations period. But his petition did not
stop the clock, and the next day, Zale's limitations
period expired. See Duncan, 533 U.S. at 181-82. So
any unexhausted claims Zale has may be untimely.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A).
claims may be untimely because, to be sure,
AEDPA's statute of limitations permits a restart of the
limitations period for a few specific reasons. See
28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(B), (1)(C), (1)(D). And equitable
tolling can also apply in “appropriate cases.”
Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 645 (2010). But in
the motion to stay, Zale offers nothing to explain how or why
either a restart or tolling are applicable here.
problematic is the issue of amendment. To add new claims to
his petition at this point, Zale has to amend, and, to do so,
he has a slightly tougher row to hoe than the ordinary civil
litigant. See Mayle v. Felix, 545 U.S. 644, 662-65
(2005)). And Zale's motion to stay does not explain how
or why these new, potential claims are even candidates for
amendment at all.
as of now, Zale offers no good reason to justify holding off
on adjudicating his petition. Zale has pending a timely
filed, fully exhausted habeas corpus petition. Nothing in the
motion to stay explains why these new, potential, unexhausted
claims are somehow timely (or eligible for amendment) such
that the Court ought to grant the stay.
if the Court moves ahead, nothing stops Zale from bringing
these claims to the state court's attention at the same
time. And parallel litigation raises both efficiency and
comity concerns. See Thomas v. Stoddard, 89
F.Supp.3d 937, 942 (E.D. Mich. 2015). But the efficiency
issue is mitigated here because multiple obstacles stand in
the way of a federal court ever adjudicating these new
claims. And the comity issue is less of a concern because the
two claims in Zale's habeas corpus petition have already
had their day in state court. Plus, bringing the new claims
in state court allows the state courts first crack at
reviewing the errors, anyway, (should these new claims ever
end up in a habeas corpus petition someday). See Whiting
v. Burt, 395 F.3d 602, 612 (6th Cir. 2005). So, even
though there might be some potential downside to parallel
litigation, that concern, alone, is not enough to stay
light of all of the above, the Court DENIES Zale's motion
to stay. Zale's motion does not offer enough to justify