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Ford v. Jennings

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

March 12, 2019

MICHAEL FORD, Petitioner,
v.
RICHARD JENNINGS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          AUDREY G. FLEISSIG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on petitioner Michael Ford's petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket No. 1). For the reasons discussed below, the Court will order petitioner to show cause why his petition should not be dismissed as time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).

         Background

         On October 5, 2011, petitioner was charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action. State of Missouri v. Ford, No. 1122-CR05948 (22nd Judicial Cir., St. Louis City). He was convicted on both counts on July 11, 2013, following a jury trial. On September 20, 2013, petitioner was sentenced to life without parole. He filed his notice of appeal that same day.

         The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court on February 10, 2015. State of Missouri v. Ford, 454 S.W.3d 407 (Mo. App. 2015). Petitioner did not file a motion for rehearing or a motion to transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court.

         Petitioner filed a motion to vacate pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.15 on May 11, 2015. State of Missouri v. Ford, No. 1522-CC01008 (22nd Judicial Cir., St. Louis City). The motion was denied on January 12, 2016, and petitioner filed a notice of appeal on February 22, 2016. On January 31, 2017, the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed and remanded with instructions to the circuit court to complete the record for purposes of determining the timeliness of petitioner's amended motion to vacate. State of Missouri v. Ford, 510 S.W.3d 360 (Mo. App. 2017).

         Upon rehearing on April 27, 2017, the circuit court again denied petitioner's motion to vacate. State of Missouri v. Ford, No. 1522-CC01008 (22nd Judicial Cir., St. Louis City). Petitioner filed a notice of appeal on June 6, 2017. The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court on March 6, 2018. State of Missouri v. Ford, 540 S.W.3d 889 (Mo. App. 2018). The Court of Appeals issued its mandate on March 28, 2018. Petitioner placed the instant petition in the prison mailing system on February 12, 2019. (Docket No. 1 at 14).

         Discussion

         Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts provides that a district court shall summarily dismiss a § 2254 petition if it plainly appears that the petitioner is not entitled to relief. The one-year statute of limitations found in the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) begins to run on the latest of four alternative dates. Jihad v. Hvass, 267 F.3d 803, 804 (8th Cir. 2001). Under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1):

A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for 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 of conviction became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of 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 United States Supreme Court has held that a judgment becomes final under § 2244(d)(1)(A) when the time for seeking review in the state's highest court expires. Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 150 (2012). For Missouri prisoners, such as petitioner, who do not file a motion to transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court, the limitations period begins to run fifteen days after the Missouri Court of Appeals affirms a conviction on direct appeal. See Camacho v. Hobbs, 774 F.3d 931, 935 (8th Cir. 2015) (stating that when a petitioner foregoes state appeals, the court must look to state-court filing deadlines to determine the expiration of the time for seeking direct review); and Mo. S.Ct. R. 83.02 (stating that a party seeking transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court must file an application for such transfer “within fifteen days of the date on which the opinion, memorandum decision, written order, or order of dismissal is filed”). The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed petitioner's conviction on February 10, 2015. ...


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