United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on petitioner Shemira
Hawkins's response to the Court's February 28, 2019
order to show cause. (Docket No. 9). The Court had ordered
petitioner to show cause why her 28 U.S.C. § 2254
petition for writ of habeas corpus should not be dismissed as
time-barred. Having carefully reviewed petitioner's
response, and for the reasons discussed below, the Court must
dismiss this action as time-barred pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
November 25, 2008, petitioner was charged with second degree
murder and armed criminal action. State of Missouri v.
Hawkins, No. 0822-CR06480-01 (22nd Judicial
Cir., St. Louis City). She pled guilty to both counts on July
9, 2010. That same day, she was sentenced to twenty years
imprisonment on each count, the sentences to run
concurrently. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.
filed a motion to vacate in the circuit court on January 13,
2011. State of Missouri v. Hawkins, No. 1122-CC00126
(22nd Judicial Cir., St. Louis City). The motion
was denied on May 4, 2011. Petitioner filed a notice of
appeal on June 13, 2011. The Missouri Court of Appeals
affirmed the circuit court on February 14, 2012. State of
Missouri v. Hawkins, 358 S.W.3d 588 (Mo. App. 2012). On
March 9, 2012, the Court of Appeals issued its mandate.
filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus on
October 10, 2018, by placing it in the prison mailing
system. (Docket No. 1 at 13).
February 28, 2019, the Court issued an order to show cause
why petitioner's petition should not be dismissed as
barred by the one-year statute of limitations provided by the
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA). (Docket No. 8). Specifically, the Court noted that
petitioner's limitations period expired on September 12,
2012, but she did not file her petition until October 10,
2018, over six years later. Petitioner was given thirty days
from the date of the order in which to show cause why her
case should not be dismissed. She has duly complied with this
order by filing a response on March 11, 2019.
attributes the delay in filing her petition to the fact that
when she was sentenced in 2010, she was “illiterate to
the law and indigent.” (Docket No. 9 at 2). As such,
she states that it has taken her “nearly a decade to
comb through” the facts and logistics of her case, as
well as seek legal consultation. Further, petitioner has
received additional charges that needed to be settled in
order for her to seek a reduction in her initial sentence.
Now, however, petitioner states that she is ready to fight
for her freedom.
show cause response, petitioner lists a number of alleged
violations of her constitutional rights with regard to her
conviction. She states that at the time of her arrest and
plea, she was suffering from PTSD and post-partum depression.
She asserts that her attorneys coerced her to plead guilty,
and that she did so out of fear of a life sentence. She
claims that the wounds she inflicted on her victim may or may
not have caused his death, and that the victim's blood
alcohol content maximized his physical strength when he
encountered her. In short, she claims there is “a
significant difference between the murder of a tax paying law
abiding citizen and the manslaughter of an indigent
alcoholic, combative felon.” (Docket No. 9 at 3). As
such, she concludes that she should not have been convicted
of murder, but of a lesser charge of manslaughter.
Additionally, petitioner believes that the sentence she
received was given without leniency or compassion. (Docket
No. 9 at 4).
further asserts that her trial counsel was ineffective.
(Docket No. 9 at 2). Specifically, she claims that the
“evidence and witness statements for trial seemed to be
too complicated and overwhelming for counsel to
notes that she has made a very poor adjustment to prison, and
that the Missouri Department of Corrections has not provided
sufficient treatment for her mental health needs. She states
that since her arrest, she has matured, and that she is now
fully prepared to reenter society. (Docket No. 9 at 3-4). She
asserts that she was “denied” her initial appeals
because of her plea bargain. (Docket No. 9 at 4). She also
states that she filed a clemency petition with the governor
four-and-a-half years ago, which is still pending. For these
reasons, petitioner states that she deserves
“reconsideration, reduction of sentence and
classification of [her] crime.”
the AEDPA, Congress established a one-year statute of
limitations period for petitioners seeking federal habeas
relief from state court judgments. Finch v. Miller,
491 F.3d 424, 426 (8th Cir. 2007). This one-year
statute of limitations begins to run on the latest of four
alternative dates. Jihad v. Hvass, 2 ...