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Renteria v. Bryant

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

February 12, 2018

JOSE L. RENTERIA, Petitioner,
v.
JASON BRYANT, Warden, Respondent.

          ORDER

          TIMOTHY D. DEGIUSTI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner, a state prisoner appearing pro se, brought this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, seeking habeas relief from his state court conviction for first-degree rape and sexual battery after a former felony conviction. The matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Shon Erwin for initial proceedings consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), (C). Respondent moved to dismiss the petition, and on June 14, 2017, Judge Erwin issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R” or “Report”) [Doc. No. 18] in which he recommended that the Court grant Respondent's motion and dismiss the petition as untimely. Petitioner timely appealed.

         BACKGROUND

         On March 16, 2011, Petitioner pled guilty to first-degree rape and sexual battery, both after a former felony conviction, in Oklahoma County District Court. He was sentenced to imprisonment for thirty-two years. Pursuant to 22 Okla. Stat. § 982a, Petitioner filed a Petition for Judicial Review on July 22, 2011, which sought modification of his sentence. Petitioner also filed two applications for post-conviction relief on December 11, 2013 and January 25, 2016. Both were denied by the trial court and affirmed on appeal by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. On November 11, 2016, Defendant filed the instant habeas petition.

         Respondent moved to dismiss the petition on the grounds that Petitioner's action was barred by the one-year statute of limitations contained in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Specifically, Respondent contended that since Petitioner did not appeal from his March 16, 2011 plea, his conviction became “final” for purposes of the statute on March 26, 2011.[1] Since Petitioner's action was not commenced until November 2016-five years after his conviction-Respondent contended his habeas petition was untimely.

         Judge Erwin agreed that Petitioner's action was untimely under the AEDPA. In this regard, he found neither statutory nor equitable tolling tolled the statute of limitations. With respect to statutory tolling, Judge Erwin found that Defendant's Petition for Judicial Review was not “properly filed” under § 928a because it did not meet certain statutory prerequisites. Next, Judge Erwin found Petitioner's action was not saved by equitable tolling because Petitioner failed to establish that (1) he diligently pursued his claims or (2) he was actually innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted.

         DISCUSSION

         The district court must review de novo any part of a magistrate judge's report and recommendation to which a proper objection has been made. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). Upon the exercise of such review, the Court may accept, reject, or modify the recommendation; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions. See id. The Court has read the Report and conducted a de novo review of the relevant filings. Based upon this review, and as set forth more fully below, the Court accepts the Report and adopts it as the ruling of this Court.

         Pursuant to the AEDPA, petitions for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in state custody are governed by a one-year statute of limitations. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Section 2244(d)(1) states:

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 prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the ...

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