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Monroe v. Lawson

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 12, 2018

JASON MONROE, Petitioner,
v.
TERI LAWSON, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JEAN C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on petitioner's response to the order to show cause.[1]Having carefully reviewed petitioner's response, the Court concludes that his arguments are without merit, and that the instant action is time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244.

         Background

         On November 3, 2015, petitioner pled guilty to three counts of first degree statutory rape and two counts of second degree statutory sodomy. On that same date petitioner was sentenced to a ten (10) year term of imprisonment in the Missouri Department of Corrections. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal of his conviction or sentence. See State v. Monroe, No. 12SL-CR08815-01 (21stJudicial Circuit, St. Louis County Court).[2]

         Petitioner filed a post-conviction to vacate, set aside or correct his judgment, pursuant to Mo.Sup.Ct.Rule 24.035 on January 12, 2016. See Monroe v. State, No. 16SL-CC00133 (21stJudicial Circuit, St. Louis County Court). Petitioner filed a motion to voluntarily withdraw the motion to vacate on April 27, 2016. The motion was granted and the matter was dismissed on May 2, 2016. Id.

         Petitioner placed the instant application for writ of habeas corpus in the prison mailing system on December 23, 2017. The Court received petitioner's application for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on December 29, 2017.

         Discussion

         In the instant matter, petitioner complains that he was given “lifetime supervision in the State of Missouri” as a result of pleading guilty to the crimes of statutory rape and statutory sodomy. He asserts that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to inform him of the fact that he would be given lifetime supervision.[3]

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d), a petitioner has one year from the date his judgment of conviction becomes final within which to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus. A Missouri conviction becomes final ten days after the judgment is entered. Mo. R. Civ. P. § 81.04(a). Thus, petitioner's time started running on November 13, 2015, when he failed to file a timely notice of appeal.

         Petitioner filed a motion for post-conviction relief on January 12, 2016, and it was pending until he moved to voluntarily dismiss his case and the motion was granted and actually dismissed on May 2, 2016. During the time the case was pending, the statute of limitations was tolled.[4]However the period between the finality of his judgment and the application for post-conviction relief must be counted toward the one-year limitations period. See Maghee v. Ault, 410 F.3d 473, 475 (8th Cir. 2005); Curtiss v. Mount Pleasant Corr. Facility, 338 F.3d 851, 854 (8th Cir. 2003). As such, petitioner accrued 60 days toward the limitations period during this time period.

         Between May 2, 2016 and the date petitioner placed his application for writ of habeas corpus in the prison mailing system, on December 23, 2017, an additional six-hundred (600) days passed. Thus, petitioner appears approximately two (2) years late in filing his application for writ of habeas corpus in this Court.

         In his response to the Order to Show Cause as to why his habeas corpus should not be dismissed as time-barred, petitioner asserts that he should be excused from the one-year statute of limitations because he has had limited access to the law library during his incarceration, and for approximately one month and thirteen days he had no access to the library at all. Petitioner also asserts that “law clerks don't exist” in the prison law library.

         Generally, a litigant seeking equitable tolling bears the burden of establishing two elements: (1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way. Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005). Equitable tolling is "an exceedingly narrow window of relief. Jihad v. Hvass, 267 F.3d 803, 805 (8th Cir. 2001). Pro se status, lack of legal knowledge or legal resources, confusion about or miscalculations of the limitations period, or the failure to recognize the legal ramifications of actions taken in prior post-conviction proceedings are inadequate to warrant equitable tolling." Shoemate v. Norris, 390 F.3d 595, 598 (8th Cir. 2004) (quotation marks omitted); Kreutzer v. Bowersox, 231 F.3d 460, 463 (8th Cir. 2000) (holding that "even in the case of an unrepresented prisoner alleging a lack of legal knowledge or legal resources, equitable tolling has not been warranted").

         Moreover, this Court cannot begin to examine petitioner's assertions regarding his belief that his Constitutional rights were violated during this trial court process when he has not first shown that he was diligently pursuing his rights and some extraordinary circumstance prevented him from presenting ...


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