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Williams v. Hubbard

January 16, 2009

BENNY WILLIAMS, PETITIONER,
v.
SUE HUBBARD, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Petitioner is a state prisoner proceeding through counsel with a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner challenges his 2000 conviction for auto theft. Pursuant to the Three Strikes Law, he is serving a sentence of 25 years to life.

Petitioner filed the original petition on October 3, 2007. This action is proceeding on the amended petition filed May 5, 2008, raising two claims: 1) the Three Strikes Law as applied to petitioner violated the Equal Protection Clause; 2) petitioner's sentence violates the Eighth Amendment.

Pending before the court is respondent's June 18, 2008, motion to dismiss on grounds that this action is barred by the statute of limitations. For the following reasons, the court recommends that respondent's motion be granted.

The statute of limitations for federal habeas corpus petitions is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(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 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 exercise of due diligence.

The California Supreme Court denied petitioner's petition for review on June 12, 2002. Respondent's Lodged Documents 3-4. Petitioner's conviction became final 90 days later on September 10, 2002, when the time to file a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court expired. Bowen v. Roe, 188 F.3d 1157 (9th Cir. 1999). Petitioner had one year from that date to file a timely federal petition. The instant action is not timely unless petitioner is entitled to statutory or equitable tolling.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2) provides that the time during which a properly filed application for state post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of limitation under this section.

Petitioner filed his first state habeas petition on January 18, 2007. Respondent's Lodged Document 5. Because he filed this petition after the limitations period had run, he is not entitled to statutory tolling. Jiminez v. Rice, 276 F.3d 478 (9th Cir. 2001).

The court now considers whether petitioner is entitled to equitable tolling. The one year statute of limitations for filing a habeas petition may be equitably tolled if "extraordinary circumstances beyond a prisoner's control make it impossible to file a petition on time." Miles v. Prunty, 187 F.3d 1104, 1107 (9th Cir. 1999). The prisoner must show that the "extraordinary circumstances" were the cause of his untimeliness. Stillman v. LaMarque, 319 F.3d 1199, 1203 (9th Cir. 2003). "Indeed, the threshold necessary to trigger equitable tolling [under AEDPA] is very high, lest the exceptions swallow the rule." Miranda v. Castro, 292 F.3d 1063, 1066 (9th Cir. 2002). Petitioner "bears the burden of showing that ...


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