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O'Laughlin v. State

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

April 22, 2019

TIMOTHY P. O'LAUGHLIN, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          SHIRLEY PADMORE MENSAH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on petitioner Timothy P. O'Laughlin's petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket No. 1). For the reasons discussed below, the petition appears to be time-barred and moot, as petitioner is no longer in custody under the conviction he is attacking. As such, the Court will order petitioner to show cause why his petition should not be summarily dismissed.

         Background

          Petitioner is presently being held at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, pursuant to a commitment under 18 U.S.C. § 4246.[1] He brings this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging a state court conviction.

         Petitioner was charged in Missouri state court with one count of third-degree assault. State of Missouri v. O'Laughlin, No. 2104R-05539 (21st Cir., St. Louis County).[2] He pled guilty on November 27, 2006, and was sentenced that same day to one year of incarceration. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.

         Petitioner filed his petition for writ of habeas corpus on January 23, 2019, by placing it in his institution's mailing system.[3] (Docket No. 1 at 13). He states three grounds for relief. First, he alleges that St. Louis County never had legitimate charges against him. (Docket No. 1 at 5). Next, he states that his alleged crimes could not be proven. (Docket No. 1 at 6). Finally, he claims that he was unaware that he could have reversed his November 27, 2006 guilty plea within thirty days. (Docket No. 1 at 8).

         Discussion

         For the reasons discussed below, petitioner's petition for writ of habeas corpus appears to be time-barred, as the statute of limitations expired on December 7, 2007, and petitioner did not file the instant action until January 23, 2019. Furthermore, it does not appear that petitioner was in custody under the conviction he is attacking at the time he filed this petition, making his petition moot.

         A. Statute of Limitations

         Under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (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 period begins to run on the latest of four alternative dates. Jihad v. Hvass, 267 F.3d 803, 804 (8thCir. 2001). Relevant here is the provision stating that a habeas petitioner has one year from the date his judgment becomes final to file his federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A).

         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 who do not file a direct appeal, judgment becomes final ten days after sentencing. See Camacho v. Hobbs, 774 F.3d 931, 935 (8thCir. 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. 81.04(a) (“No such appeal shall be effective unless the notice of appeal shall be filed not later than ten days after the judgment, decree, or order appealed from becomes final”).

         Petitioner was sentenced in state court on November 27, 2006. He did not file an appeal. Thus, his judgment became final on December 7, 2006, ten days after his sentencing. Under the AEDPA, petitioner had one year from the date his judgment became final in which to file his federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. In other words, he had until December 7, 2007, to timely file his petition. He did not file the instant petition until January 23, 2019, approximately eleven years after his limitations period expired. Moreover, petitioner did not file any state post-conviction actions that might have tolled any of this time.[4] As such, it appears that his petition is time-barred.

         B. Mootness

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, “a district court shall entertain an application for writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) (emphasis added). An incarcerated petitioner's challenge to the validity of his or her conviction always satisfies the case-or-controversy requirement, because the incarceration itself, or the restrictions imposed by parole, constitute a concrete injury. Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998). Once a petitioner's sentence has expired, though, there must be some concrete and continuing injury, “some collateral consequence of the conviction, ” in order to maintain the suit. Id. In ...


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