United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
E. DOWDELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the Oklahoma Attorney General's Motion to
Dismiss this 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus action as
untimely (Doc. 7). Lora Lee Thomas, through counsel, filed a
Response, arguing the limitation period is subject to tolling
(Doc. 8). Thomas also filed a Motion to Consolidate this
action with her husband's habeas proceeding (Doc. 6). For
the reasons below, the Court will deny the Motion to
Consolidate and dismiss the petition.
case arises from Lora Lee Thomas' convictions for child
abuse. According to her adult biological daughter, Thomas
beat her adopted children, submerged them in ice baths, and
forced them to eat their own vomit. Doc. 2 at 21-22. The
children testified about similar conduct. Id. The
Oklahoma Department of Human Services (“DHS”)
removed the children from Thomas' home in late 2011. Doc.
2 at 25. Thomas and her husband were arrested and charged
with child abuse the following year. Doc. 7-2 at 4.
January 21, 2014, a jury convicted Thomas of four counts of
child abuse in violation of Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §
843.5. Doc. 7-2 at 31; see also Doc. 7-1 at 1.
Thomas was sentenced to life imprisonment on each count. Doc.
7-1 at 1. Thomas timely appealed, and the Oklahoma Court of
Criminal Appeals (“OCCA”) affirmed the
convictions on December 8, 2015. Id. About fourteen
months later, on February 24, 2017, Thomas filed an
application for post-conviction relief in state court. Doc.
7-2 at 40; see also Doc. 7-3 at 3. By an order
entered July 27, 2017, the state court denied the
application. Doc. 7-3 at 1, 23. Thomas again appealed, and
the OCCA affirmed the denial on October 31, 2017. Doc. 7-4 at
filed the federal § 2254 petition, through counsel, on
January 26, 2018 (Doc. 2). She raises claims for ineffective
assistance of counsel, due process violations, prosecutorial
misconduct, double jeopardy, and government
corruption/conspiracy. Doc. 2 at 2-3. Thomas also moved to
consolidate this action with his husband's habeas
proceeding, case no. 18-CV-58 JED-FHM (Doc. 6). In response,
the Attorney General moved to dismiss the action as time
barred (Doc. 7). The Motion to Dismiss does not address
of actions is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a). Rule 42(a)
provides that “[i]f actions before the court involve a
common question of law or fact, the court may …
consolidate the actions.” The decision whether to
consolidate actions is discretionary. See Shump v.
Balka, 574 F.2d 1341, 1344 (10th Cir. 1978). Relevant
considerations include whether consolidation would promote
convenience, expedition, and economy while affording justice
to the parties. Id.; Servants of the Paraclete v. Great
American Insurance Co., 866 F.Supp. 1560, 1572 (D.N.M.
and her husband were tried together, and the same attorney
filed similar pleadings in each federal habeas case.
Compare 18-CV-58 with 18-CV-59.
Nevertheless, the Court finds that consolidation is not
appropriate or necessary. The state habeas proceedings were
separate, and one of the grounds for relief is that defense
counsel should have demanded separate trials based on the
Petitioners' mutually antagonistic defenses. Doc. 2 at
45-46; see also exhibits to Doc. 7 filed in both
cases. As discussed below, the action is also over because
Thomas' petition is time-barred. The Court will therefore
deny the Motion to Consolidate (Doc. 6).
Timeliness of the Habeas Claims
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(“AEDPA”) establishes a one-year limitation
period for habeas corpus petitions. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).
The limitation period generally begins to run from the date
on which a prisoner's conviction becomes final. The
one-year limitation period can be extended:
(1) While a properly filed state habeas petition is pending,
(2) Where unconstitutional state action has impeded the
filing of a federal habeas petition, ...