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Holman v. Vincenz

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

August 27, 2019

DENISE L. HOLMAN, Petitioner,
v.
FELIX VINCENZ, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NOELLE C. COLLINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on petitioner Denise L. Holman's amended petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Docket No. 9). For the reasons discussed below, the Court will direct petitioner to show cause why her petition should not be dismissed as untimely or for failure to exhaust state remedies.

         Background

         On March 9, 2010, the State of Missouri filed an information charging petitioner with the Class C felony of assault in the second degree. State of Missouri v. Holman, No. 10MR-CR00099-01 (10th Cir., Marion County).[1] On August 2, 2010, petitioner withdrew her plea of not guilty and entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect excluding responsibility. As such, the circuit court acquitted her of the charge of assault in the second degree. The circuit court also committed petitioner indefinitely to the Department of Mental Health. Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.

         Petitioner filed a notice of intent to petition for release on November 20, 2015. On December 15, 2015, an attorney for the Department of Mental Health filed a motion to dismiss and an objection to petitioner's application for unconditional release. There is no indication that the circuit court ruled upon the petition for release or the subsequent motion, as the next docket entries are for correspondence filed in January and February 2018. The Court has also been unable to find any indication that petitioner filed an appeal with the Missouri Court of Appeals.

         Petitioner filed the instant action on June 19, 2019, by placing it in her institution's mailing system.[2] The petition contains four grounds for relief. First, petitioner alleges that documents were omitted from State of Missouri v. Holman, No. 10MR-CR00099-01 (10th Cir., Marion County), and thus, her not guilty by reason of mental defect plea was invalid. (Docket No. 9 at 3). Second, petitioner asserts that due process was not upheld because when she requested her case file from the circuit clerk's office, she was told that there were no transcripts. (Docket No. 9 at 8). Third, petitioner claims that a 2017 elopement charge from Audrain County was invalid because she was unlawfully imprisoned. (Docket No. 9 at 5). Finally, petitioner alleges that her psychiatric condition was not assessed at the time of her not guilty by reason of mental defect plea. (Docket No. 9 at 9).

         Discussion

         Petitioner is currently confined at the St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center in St. Louis, Missouri. She brings this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons discussed below, petitioner will be directed to show cause why her petition should not be dismissed as untimely or for failure to exhaust her state remedies.

         A. Timeliness

         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 statute of limitations begins to run on the latest of four alternative dates. Jihad v. Hvass, 267 F.3d 803, 804 (8th Cir. 2001). Relevant here is the provision stating that a habeas petitioner has one year from the date her judgment becomes final to file her federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A).

         To the extent that petitioner is challenging the original August 2, 2010 order committing her to the custody of the Department of Mental Health, her petition appears time-barred. There is no notice of appeal on the docket sheet of petitioner's criminal case, nor has the Court been able to find any record of a direct appeal. Because no appeal was filed, the commitment order became final ten days after it was issued. 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. 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”). Thus, the order was final as of August 12, 2010, giving petitioner until August 12, 2011 in which to timely file a petition under § 2254. However, petitioner did not file the instant action until June 19, 2019, long after the statute of limitations period expired. Petitioner will therefore be ordered to show cause why any challenge to her original commitment should not be time-barred.

         B. Exhaustion

         Missouri allows civilly-committed persons to apply for conditional or unconditional release on a yearly basis. See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 552.040.5; Mo. Rev. Stat. § 552.040.13. Thus, to the extent that petitioner is challenging a conditional or unconditional release hearing, the action may be timely. Nevertheless, petitioner must still demonstrate that she has exhausted her state remedies. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A).

         “It is elementary that a § 2254 petitioner must exhaust available state remedies before he is entitled to relief in federal court.” White v. Wyrick, 651 F.2d ...


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