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Cramer v. Superintendent of SCI Huntington

May 21, 2007

DERRICK CRAMER, PETITIONER
v.
SUPERINTENDENT OF SCI HUNTINGTON, ET AL., RESPONDENTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Kane

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is Petitioner Derrick Cramer's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Doc. No. 1.) For the reasons discussed below, the petition will be denied and dismissed as untimely filed.

I. BACKGROUND

A. State Court Proceedings

Petitioner is currently incarcerated in the State Correctional Institution at Huntington in Huntington, Pennsylvania, where he is serving a life sentence for first degree murder. (Doc. No. 1, at 1.) Petitioner was convicted of this crime on May 9, 2003, in the Court of Common Pleas of York County. (Id.; Doc. No. 10, at 1.) Petitioner filed a timely direct appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, which affirmed his conviction and sentence on March 16, 2004. (Doc. No. 1, at 2.) Petitioner then appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and this appeal was denied on August 12, 2004. (Doc. No. 1, at 2; Doc. No. 10, at 1.)

On February 8, 2005, after his conviction and sentence were upheld on direct appeal, Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction collateral relief pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 9545. (Doc. No. 1, at 2.) The petition was denied on June 13, 2005. (Id.) Petitioner filed an appeal to the superior court, which was denied on March 29, 2006. (Id.) On August 30, 2006 -- approximately five months after the superior court issued its decision -- Petitioner filed a petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. (Id.) This request was denied on December 15, 2006. (Id.)

B. Current Proceeding

Petitioner filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on March 16, 2007. (Doc. No. 1.) Upon preliminary review, it appeared that consideration of Petitioner's § 2254 petition may be barred by the relevant one-year statute of limitations. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). The Court sua sponte raised this question in its order directing service of the petition upon Respondents and providing deadlines for the Respondents' response and Petitioner's traverse. (Doc. No. 6); see United States v. Bendolph, 409 F.3d 155 (3d Cir. 2005) (en banc) (holding that a district court may sua sponte raise the statute of limitations so long as habeas petitioner is given notice and afforded an opportunity to respond to the limitations issue). Respondents filed an "Answer and Motion in Opposition," in which they argued that Petitioner's § 2254 petition was untimely. (Doc. No. 10.)*fn1 Petitioner filed a traverse in which he primarily argued that his § 2254 petition was timely because the statute of limitations was tolled from February 8, 2005, through December 15, 2006, the time period during which Petitioner pursued his first PCRA petition. (Doc. No. 9.)*fn2

II. DISCUSSION

The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), signed into law on April 24, 1996, amended 28 U.S.C. § 2244 to provide, in pertinent part:

(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a 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 became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the 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 ...


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