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Hodge v. MaClaren

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

August 22, 2019

BRODERICK HODGE, Petitioner,
v.
DUNCAN MACLAREN, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS PETITION AND DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner Broderick Hodge's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is a state inmate at the Central Michigan Correctional Facility in St. Louis, Michigan. He challenges his convictions for second-degree murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.317, being a felon in possession of a firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.224f, and possession of a firearm while committing a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b(1).

         Respondent, through the Attorney General's Office, filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the petition was not timely filed. The Court finds that the petition is untimely and that equitable tolling of the limitations period is unwarranted. The Court grants the motion to dismiss.

         I. Background

         A jury convicted Petitioner in Wayne County Circuit Court. The Court sentenced him to 15 to 25 years for second-degree murder, 1 to 5 years for being a felon in possession, and 2 years for felony firearm.

         Petitioner filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions and sentences. People v. Hodge, No. 292722, 2010 WL 3984811 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 12, 2010). On March 8, 2011, the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v. Hodge, 488 Mich. 1050 (2011).

         Petitioner filed a motion for relief from judgment in the trial court. The trial court denied the motion. See 5/10/13 Order (Dkt. 14-13). The Michigan Court of Appeals denied Petitioner's application for leave to appeal, People v. Hodge, No. 320841 (Mich. Ct. App. May 2, 2014) (Dkt. 14-22), as did the Michigan Supreme Court, People v. Hodge, 497 Mich. 946 (Mich. Dec. 30, 2014). On January 16, 2015, Petitioner filed a successive motion for relief from judgment in the trial court. The trial court denied the motion and Petitioner did not seek leave to appeal. See 4/6/15 Order (Dkt. 14-16).

         Petitioner then filed a habeas corpus petition. The Court stayed the petition on November 13, 2015, to allow Petitioner to raise previously unexhausted claims in state court. (Dkt. 8)

         Petitioner filed a third motion for relief from judgment on January 11, 2016. The trial court denied the motion, and both state appellate courts denied leave to appeal. See 2/9/16 Order (Dkt. 14-18); People v. Hodge, No. 333739 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 5, 2016); People v. Hodge, 500 Mich. 1058 (Mich. July 25, 2017).

         The Court granted Petitioner's motion to lift the stay and allowed him to file an amended petition. (Dkt. 11) Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the petition on the ground that it is not timely filed. (Dkt. 13) Petitioner filed a response to the motion. (Dkt. 15)

         II. Discussion

         Respondent argues that the petition is barred by the one-year statute of limitations. Title 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, applies to all habeas petitions filed after its effective date, April 24, 1996, and imposes a one-year limitations period for habeas petitions. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). A prisoner must file a federal habeas corpus petition within one year of the “date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review . . . or the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A) & (D).

         Petitioner concedes that unless the Court equitably tolls the limitations period, his petition is untimely. The Michigan Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application for leave to appeal on March 8, 2011. People v. Hodge, 488 Mich. 1050 (Mich. 2011). Petitioner did not petition for a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. Thus, his conviction became final on June 6, 2011, when the time period for seeking certiorari expired. Bronaugh v. Ohio, 235 F.3d 280, 283 (6th Cir. 2000) (one-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until the time for filing a petition for a writ of certiorari for direct review in the United States Supreme Court has expired). The last day on which a petitioner can file a petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court is not counted toward the one-year limitations period applicable to habeas corpus petitions. Id. at 285. Accordingly, the limitations period began on June 7, 2011, and expired one year later, on June 6, 2012.

         Petitioner argues that the Court should equitably toll the limitations period because he suffers from a learning disability. The one-year limitations period is not a jurisdictional bar and may be equitably tolled where a habeas petitioner “shows (1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and prevented timely filing.” Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 649 (2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). A petitioner bears the burden to ...


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