United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
S. Diamond, J.
February 17, 2017, state prisoner Alan Craig Williams,
proceeding pro se, petitioned for federal habeas
relief. (Pet., Doc. No. 1); 28 U.S.C. § 2254. I referred
the matter to Magistrate Judge Timothy R. Rice, who, on April
11, 2017, recommended denying relief because Williams's
Petition is untimely. (Doc. No. 2; R&R, Doc. No. 3.)
Williams has submitted objections. (Objs., Doc. No. 5.) I
will overrule Williams's objections, adopt Judge
Rice's Report and Recommendation, and deny the Petition
with prejudice as untimely.
12, 2010, a Bucks County jury convicted Williams of: rape by
forcible compulsion; rape by threat of forcible compulsion;
attempted involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible
compulsion; sexual assault; indecent assault by threat of
forcible compulsion; terroristic threats with intent to
terrorize another; and false imprisonment. (See Pet.
¶¶ 2(a), 5, 6(c); R&R at 1); Commonwealth
v. Williams, CP-09-CR-0000499-2010, Dkt. at 7-9, 15
(Bucks Cty. C.P.). On March 2, 2011, the Honorable Jeffrey L.
Finley sentenced Williams to an aggregate term of 16 to 40
years' imprisonment, to be followed by five years'
probation. (See Pet. ¶¶ 2(b), 3; R&R
at 1); Williams, CP-09-CR-0000499-2010, Dkt. at 7-9,
December 9, 2011, the Superior Court rejected Williams's
direct appeal in an unpublished table decision. (See
Pet. ¶¶ 8, 9; R&R at 1); Commonwealth v.
Williams, 40 A.3d 188 (Table), 935 EDA 2011 (Pa. Super.
Dec. 9, 2011). Because Williams did not seek allocatur, his
judgment became final on January 9, 2012. (See
R&R at 3); 42 Pa. C.S. §§ 5571(a), 9545(b)(3);
Pa. R.A.P. 1112-1113.
January 7, 2013, Williams timely sought relief under
Pennsylvania's Post Conviction Relief Act, 42 Pa. C.S.
§§ 9541-9546. (See Pet. ¶¶ 10,
11(a); R&R at 1); 42 Pa. C.S. § 9545(b)(1) (PCRA
petition “shall be filed within one year of the date
the judgment becomes final”). On May 28, 2014, after an
evidentiary hearing, the PCRA court denied relief.
(See Pet. ¶ 11(a); R&R at 1);
Commonwealth v. Williams, 125 A.3d 454 (Table), 1841
EDA 2014, at 2 (Pa. Super. July 20, 2015). On July 20, 2015,
the Superior Court rejected Williams's appeal.
(See Pet. ¶ 11(b); R&R at 1-2);
Williams, 125 A.3d 454 (Table), 1841 EDA 2014, at 3.
On February 25, 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied
allocatur. (See Pet. ¶ 11(c); R&R at 2);
Commonwealth v. Williams, 132 A.3d 458 (Table), 692
MAL 2015 (Pa. Feb. 25, 2016).
February 17, 2017, Williams filed the instant § 2254
Petition. (Pet., Doc. No. 1; see Id. at 19
(Williams's declaration that he placed instant Petition
in prison mail system on February 17, 2017)); Walker v.
Williams, 653 F. App'x 84, 85 n.2 (3d Cir. 2016)
(per curiam) (“Prisoners are entitled to the benefit of
the ‘Prison Mailbox Rule, ' which deems a pleading
filed upon delivery to prison officials.” (citing
Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 275 (1988))). On
April 4, 2017, I referred the matter to Judge Rice for a
Report and Recommendation. (Doc. No. 2.) On April 11, 2017,
Judge Rice recommended that I deny the Petition with
prejudice as untimely. (R&R, Doc. No. 3.) Williams has
submitted objections dated April 27, 2017. (Objs., Doc. No.
reviewing a Report and Recommendation, I am obliged to
“make a de novo determination of those portions of the
report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to
which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(C). As to those portions to which no objections
have been made, I must “satisfy [myself] that there is
no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept
the recommendation.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b), advisory
committee notes; see Henderson v. Carlson, 812 F.2d
874, 878 (3d Cir. 1987) (district court's responsibility
“to afford some level of review” when no
objections have been made).
addressing Williams's objections, I will explain why
Judge Rice correctly concluded that the Petition is untimely.
Williams's § 2254 Petition Is Untimely
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act provides that
federal habeas review of a state-court conviction is subject
to a one-year limitations period, which generally runs from
“the date on which the judgment of conviction became
final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of
the time for seeking such review.” 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1)(A); see Evans v. Chavis, 546 U.S. 189,
191 (2006) (“The Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act of 1996 . . . requires a state prisoner whose
conviction has become final to seek federal habeas corpus
relief within one year.”). A petitioner may also
establish one of the following alternative start dates for
the limitations period:
(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