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Franklin Jackson v. Brian Coleman

October 2, 2012

FRANKLIN JACKSON,
PETITIONER,
v.
BRIAN COLEMAN, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Martin C. Carlson United States Magistrate Judge

(Judge Conaboy)

(Magistrate Judge Carlson)

MEMORANDUM ORDER

I. Introduction

This case is involves a habeas corpus petition filed by a state prisoner serving a 20-to-40 year sentence for murder. The respondents have moved to dismiss this petition as time barred under the one-year statute of limitations applicable to such matters, and it initially appears that this matter may be time barred absent some grounds for equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. For his part, Jackson has filed some documents suggesting that his delay in proceeding with this petition stems from impediments which he encountered in prison, including an inability to gain access to his legal paperwork. The nature of this alleged governmental interference with Jackson's filing of this petition is not fully developed in the pleadings, however.

For the reasons set forth below, we find that there are factual issues relating to whether Jackson is entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations, factual issues that must be fully-developed, and factual issues which call for the assistance of counsel in this case. Accordingly, we will appoint counsel to represent Jackson in this matter, and schedule an evidentiary hearing on these equitable tolling issues.

II. Discussion

A. State Prisoner Habeas Relief--The Legal Standard.

A state prisoner seeking to invoke the power of this Court to issue a writ of habeas corpus must satisfy the standards prescribed by 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which provides in part as follows:

(a) The Supreme Court, a Justice thereof, a circuit judge, or a district court shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus on 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.

(b)(1) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted unless it appears that--

(A) the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State;

(2) An application for a writ of habeas corpus may be denied on the merits, notwithstanding the failure of the applicant to exhaust the remedies available in the courts of ...


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