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Collins v. White

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division

June 5, 2017

JOHN WAYNE COLLINS PETITIONER
v.
RANDY WHITE, WARDEN RESPONDENT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Greg N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court.

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner's Motion for Equitable Tolling (DN 3) and Plaintiff's Motion for Evidentiary Hearing (DN 22). For the reasons stated below, the Motion for Equitable Tolling is GRANTED, and the Motion for Evidentiary Hearing is DENIED AS MOOT.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner John Wayne Collins (“Collins”) was convicted of murder in Warren Circuit Court. (Pet'r's Mot. Equitable Tolling 1, DN 3 [hereinafter Pet'r's Mot.]; Resp't's Resp. Pet'r's Mot. Equitable Tolling 2, DN 9 [hereinafter Resp't's Resp.]). His conviction was upheld on direct appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court, and his petition for rehearing was denied. (Pet'r's Mot. 1; Resp't's Resp. 2). Petitioner's collateral attack of the conviction in Kentucky courts pursuant to Kentucky Rule of Criminal Procedure 11.42 (“RCr 11.42”) was unsuccessful at the trial and intermediate appellate levels, and the Kentucky Supreme Court denied further review on December 11, 2013. (Pet'r's Mot. 2-3; Resp't's Resp. 3).

         After Collins learned that his attorney would not be pursuing a petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on his behalf, Collins petitioned this Court pro se and moved for equitable tolling to excuse the belated filing of his petition. This Court previously denied Collins' motion and dismissed the petition as untimely. (Mem. Op. & Order 13).

         In Collins v. White, No. 15-6129, slip op. (6th Cir. Mar. 2, 2017), the Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded this Court's ruling. See Id. at 5. In remanding this case, the Sixth Circuit directed this Court to consider the diligence prong under the analysis set forth in Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631 (2010). See id.

         II. JURISDICTION

         This Court has jurisdiction to “entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Petitioner's Motion for Equitable Tolling

         Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), Collins had a one-year statute of limitations that ran from the denial of his collateral attack of this state court conviction. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). The statute of limitations, however, is subject to the defense of equitable tolling in appropriate circumstances. See Holland, 560 U.S. at 645 (citations omitted).

         In Holland, the Supreme Court reiterated that the defense of equitable tolling is only applicable if a petitioner shows the following: “‘(1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way' and prevented timely filing.” Id. at 649 (quoting Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005)). Because the Sixth Circuit has previously concluded that Collins had satisfied the second prong, this Court's consideration is limited to the first one in determining whether to grant Petitioner's motion.

         The diligence requirement “covers those affairs within the litigant's control . . . .” Menominee Indian Tribe of Wis. v. United States, 136 S.Ct. 750, 756 (2016). In addition, the petitioner “must have acted with reasonable diligence throughout the period he seeks to toll.” Rabbani v. United States, 156 F.Supp.3d 396, 403 (W.D.N.Y. 2016) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citation omitted). As the Supreme Court has explained, “[t]he diligence required for equitable tolling purposes is reasonable diligence, not maximum feasible diligence. Id. at 653 (internal quotation marks omitted) (internal citation omitted) (citation omitted). “The statute of limitations should be equitably tolled until the earliest date on which the petitioner, acting with reasonable diligence, should have filed his petition.” Kendrick v. Rapelje, 504 F. App'x 485, 487 (6th ...


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