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Gebhart v. Commonwealth

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

February 8, 2017

STEVEN DOUGLAS GEBHART, Petitioner
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Respondent

          MEMORANDUM

          RICHARD P. CONABOY United States District Judge

         Background

         This pro se action seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Steven Douglas Gebhart, an inmate presently confined at the Laurel Highlands Correctional Institution, Somerset, Pennsylvania (SCI-Laurel Highlands). Service of the Petition, Amended Petition, and supporting documents was previously ordered.[1]

         Following a jury trial in the York County Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Petitioner was convicted of insurance fraud on November 3, 2011. See Doc. 1, p. 2. He was subsequently sentenced on December 21, 2011 to a nine (9) month to five (5) year term of imprisonment.

         Following a direct appeal, Petitioner's conviction was affirmed by the Pennsylvania Superior Court on February 15, 2013. Gebhart did not seek further review from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. On January 21, 2014, Petitioner initiated an action seeking collateral relief pursuant to Pennsylvania's Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) .[2] The PCRA petition was denied by decision dated January 13, 2015. No appeal was taken.

         Petitioner's pending action challenges the legality of his conviction on the grounds that: (1) he was provided with ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) judicial misconduct; and (3) malicious prosecution. Presently pending is respondent's motion to dismiss the petition as being untimely. See Doc. 15.

         Discussion

         Timeliness

         Respondent's motion to dismiss asserts that there is no basis for equitable tolling, Gebhart's petition is untimely because it was not filed over 180 days past the one year period for seeking federal habeas review. See Doc. 15-1, p. 7.

         Section 2244(d) of Title 28 of the United States Code 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 for seeking such review; ...
(2) The time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward ...

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