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Hudson v. Tritt

United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania

April 28, 2014

JOHN A. HUDSON, JR., Petitioner
v.
BRENDA TRITT, et al., Respondents

MEMORANDUM

Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

Petitioner John A. Hudson, Jr., who is presently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution in Frackville, Pennsylvania (“SCI-Frackville”), initiated this action by filing a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2254.[1] (Doc. 4.) Petitioner seeks to challenge his 2007 convictions and sentence in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania (“Lackawanna County court” or “trial court”). For the reasons set forth below, the petition will be dismissed with prejudice as untimely under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).

I. Facts and Procedural History

On January 18, 2007, Petitioner pleaded guilty to charges of harassment by communications, see Commonwealth v. Hudson, CP-35-CR-0003250-2006 (C.P. Jan. 18, 2007), and a fourth offense of driving under the influence (“DUI”) and driving without a license, see Commonwealth v. Hudson, CP-35-CR-0003256-2006 (C.P. Jan. 18, 2007), in the Lackawanna County court. (Doc. 20 ¶ 1.) On January 19, 2007, Petitioner pleaded guilty to charges of simple assault and fleeing or attempting to elude police in the same court. Commonwealth v. Hudson, CP-35-CR-0003254-2006 (C.P. Jan. 19, 2007). (Doc. 20 ¶ 1.) On April 18, 2007, Petitioner was sentenced on all counts to a term of imprisonment of one and one-half (1 ½) to eight (8) years. (Doc. 4 at 1.)

On April 24, 2007, Petitioner filed a timely motion for reconsideration of sentence, which was denied by the trial court on April 26, 2007. (Doc. 20 ¶ 2.) Petitioner did not file a direct appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. (Id.; Doc. 4.) On June 15, 2007, Petitioner filed a pro se petition for post conviction collateral relief under Pennsylvania’s Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”), see 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 9541-9546. (Doc. 20 ¶ 4.) The PCRA petition was granted in part and denied in part on June 25, 2009. (Id.) Petitioner did not appeal that ruling. (Id.)

Rather, Petitioner filed a second and third PCRA petition on August 20, 2009 and January 29, 2013, respectively. (Id. ¶ 5.) Both petitions were denied as untimely, as they were not filed within one year of the date Petitioner’s conviction became final. (Id.) See 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 9545(b). Petitioner did not seek further review with the any state appellate court. (Id.) In addition, Petitioner has not filed any subsequent challenges to his convictions and sentence prior to filing the instant petition. (Id.)

Petitioner filed the instant petition for writ of habeas corpus on July 18, 2013, as amended on October 8, 2013. (Doc. 4; see supra note 1, at 1.) The case was transferred to this court on December 20, 2013. (See Doc. 10.) In accordance with United States v. Miller, 197 F.3d 644 (3d Cir. 1999) and Mason v. Myers, 208 F.3d 414 (3d Cir. 2000), on December 27, 2013, the court issued a formal notice to Petitioner that he could either have the petition ruled on as filed, but lose his ability to file a second or successive petition, absent certification by the court of appeals, or withdraw his petition and file one all-inclusive § 2254 petition within the one-year statutory period prescribed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. (Doc. 11.) Petitioner was advised that if he did not return his Notice of Election form within 45 days, the court would rule upon his current petition as filed. (Id.) On February 4, 2014, Petitioner filed his Notice of Election, indicating that he chooses to have the court rule on his petition as filed. (Doc. 15.)

On February 6, 2014, the court issued an order to show cause, directing Respondents to file a response to Petitioner’s habeas petition. (Doc. 16.) In the response, inter alia, Respondents were to state whether any claim in the petition is barred by a failure to exhaust state court remedies, a procedural bar, non-retroactivity, or a statute of limitation. (Id.) Respondents filed a partial answer on February 25, 2014, arguing that the petition is not timely and that there is no basis for equitable tolling.[2] (Doc. 20.) Petitioner has not filed a traverse. Thus, the court will now consider whether the petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in this case is timely.

II. Discussion

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2254, provides, in pertinent part:

(a) The Supreme Court, a Justice thereof, a circuit judge, or a district court shall entertain an application for a 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). A petition filed under § 2254 must be timely filed under the stringent standards set forth in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (Apr. 24, 1996). See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). A state prisoner requesting habeas corpus relief pursuant to § 2254 must adhere to a statute of limitations that provides, in relevant part, as follows:

(d)(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 ...

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