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Francis v. Lewis

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

November 12, 2019

CHARLES E. FRANCIS, Petitioner,
v.
JASON LEWIS, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on its own motion. On September 13, 2019, the Court ordered petitioner Charles E. Francis to show cause why his petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 should not be summarily denied and dismissed as time-barred. (Docket No. 13). Petitioner was given thirty days in which to file a response. He has not submitted anything to the Court. Thus, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will deny and dismiss the petition as untimely.

         Background

         On April 17, 2014, petitioner was charged by amended information with one count of manufacturing methamphetamine at a residence where a minor child resided. State of Missouri v. Francis, No. 12IR-CR00288-01 (42nd Cir., Iron County).[1] Following a jury trial on April 24, 2014, petitioner was found guilty. He was sentenced on August 8, 2018 to life in prison. He filed a notice of appeal on August 18, 2014.

         The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed petitioner's judgment and sentence on September 17, 2015. State of Missouri v. Francis, No. SD33491 (Mo. App. S.D. 2015). Petitioner did not file a motion to transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court.

         Petitioner did not file a motion to set aside until December 28, 2015. Francis v. State of Missouri, No. 16IR-CC00001 (42nd Cir., Iron County). The motion was denied on March 23, 2017. Petitioner filed a notice of appeal on March 29, 2017. Francis v. State of Missouri, No. SD34926 (Mo. App. S.D. 2018). The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court's decision on August 31, 2018. The mandate was issued on September 18, 2018.

         Petitioner filed the instant petition on July 24, 2019, by placing it into the prison mailing system.[2] (Docket No. 1 at 13).

         On September 13, 2019, petitioner was ordered to show cause in writing as to why the Court should not dismiss his petition as time-barred. The Court noted that petitioner appeared to have filed his petition thirty days after the expiration of the one-year statute of limitations. The Court gave petitioner thirty days in which to submit his response. More than thirty days have elapsed, and petitioner has not filed a response with the Court.

         Discussion

         Petitioner is a pro se litigant currently incarcerated in the Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston, Missouri. He has filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Having reviewed the petition and the underlying state-court actions, the Court has determined that the petition is untimely. The Court provided petitioner with an opportunity to show cause why his petition should not be denied and dismissed. However, petitioner has not submitted a response. Therefore, for the reasons discussed below, the Court must deny and dismiss petitioner's § 2254 petition as time-barred.

         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 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, 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 and sentence on direct appeal on September 17, 2015. Petitioner did not file a motion to transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court. Thus, his judgment became final on October 2, 2015, the date that the fifteen-day period for filing an application to ...


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