United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MICHAEL B. NORTH, Magistrate Judge.
This matter was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge to conduct a hearing, including an evidentiary hearing, if necessary, and to submit proposed findings and recommendations for disposition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B) and (C), and as applicable, Rule 8(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. Upon review of the entire record, the Court has determined that this matter can be disposed of without an evidentiary hearing. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2). For the following reasons, IT IS RECOMMENDED that the petition for habeas corpus relief be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as untimely.
I. Procedural history
Petitioner, Shawna Farley, is a state prisoner incarcerated at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. On December 18, 2001, she pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of cocaine in violation of Louisiana Revised Statute 40:967(A) and was sentenced on each count to a concurrent term of fifteen years imprisonment. On that same date, she also pleaded guilty to being a multiple offender and was resentenced on count one to a concurrent term of fifteen years imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of probation or suspension of sentence pursuant to Louisiana Revised Statute 15:529.1. She did not appeal her conviction or sentence.
On December 4, 2003, Farley filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence with the state district court. On December 9, 2003, the district court ordered Farley to refile the motion within thirty days of receipt of her requested Boykin transcripts. On January 5, 2004, Farley refiled her motion to correct an illegal sentence. The court denied that motion on January 9, 2004. On April 22, 2004, Farley filed a motion to amend her sentence with the state district court. That motion was denied on May 7, 2004. Her related supervisory writ application to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal was denied on June 23, 2004. Her writ application to the Louisiana Supreme Court was denied pursuant to Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 930.8 as untimely and Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 930.3 as procedurally barred on May 20, 2005.
On or about December 20, 2005, Farley filed a third motion to correct an illegal sentence in the state district court. That motion was denied on February 3, 2006. A fourth motion to correct an illegal sentence, similar to her previous motion, was filed in the state district court on or about April 7, 2006. The motion was denied as repetitive on April 26, 2006.
On or about June 7, 2008, Farley filed her second motion to amend the sentence in the state district court. On or about March 9, 2009, Farley filed a third motion to reduce or amend her sentence. The district court denied that motion on March 19, 2009. On or about September 21, 2009, Farley filed an ex parte motion for lack of subject matter jurisdiction in the state district court. That motion was denied on September 28, 2009.
About this time, Farley also had a writ application pending with the Louisiana Supreme Court, which was transferred to the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal for consideration pursuant to the procedures outlined in that Court's en banc resolution of September 9, 2008. State v. Cordero, 08-1717 (La. 10/3/08), 993 So.2d 203. Upon remand, the Louisiana Fifth Circuit reconsidered the two writ applications previously filed by Farley (Nos. 02-497 and 04-695) and found no error in its prior rulings. The Louisiana Supreme Court denied Farley's related writ application on March 4, 2011.
On February 20, 2014, Farley filed the instant federal application for habeas corpus relief. The State contends the petition was not timely filed and that the claims are unexhausted and procedurally defaulted. The Court pretermits consideration of the State's latter asserted bars to federal habeas review because the record supports the State's assertion that the petition, in any event, is untimely.
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") generally requires that a petitioner bring her Section 2254 claims within one (1) year of the date on which her underlying criminal judgment becomes "final." On that point, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has explained:
The statute of limitations for bringing a federal habeas petition challenging a state conviction begins to run on "the date on which the [state] judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review." 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A). When a habeas petitioner has pursued relief on direct appeal through his state's highest court, his conviction becomes final ninety days after the highest court's judgment is entered, upon the expiration of time for filing an application for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court. Roberts v. Cockrell, 319 F.3d 690, 693 (5th Cir.2003). However, "[i]f the defendant stops the appeal process before that point, "... "the conviction becomes final when the time for seeking further direct review in the state court expires." Id. at 694; see also Foreman v. Dretke, 383 F.3d 336, 338 (5th Cir.2004) (Section 2244(d)(1)(A) gives alternative routes for finalizing a conviction: either direct review is completed or the time to pursue direct review expires).
Although federal, not state, law determines when a judgment is final for federal habeas purposes, a necessary part of the finality inquiry is determining whether the petitioner is still able to seek further direct review. See Foreman, 383 F.3d at 338-39. As a result, this court looks to state law in determining how long a prisoner has to file a direct ...