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United States v. Aydelott

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah

November 28, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA RESPONDENT/PLAINTIFF
v.
RALPH EDWARD AYDELOTT MOVANT/DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge

         Movant Ralph Edward Aydelott filed a motion and amended motion to vacate, set aside or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 (DNs 39 and 45). The Court reviewed the motion and amended motion pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2255 Proceedings for the United States District Courts. Upon review, the Court directed Aydelott to show cause why his motion should not be dismissed as barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Aydelott filed a response to the Show Cause Order. Upon review, for the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny the motion as untimely.

         I.

         On February 12, 2014, Aydelott pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a handgun, and he was sentenced to 180 months' imprisonment. He appealed, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed on January 7, 2015. He did not file a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. On June 8, 2017, Aydelott filed a letter (DN 39) dated May 15, 2017, [1] stating his belief that he is entitled to relief under Johnson v. United States, __ U.S. __, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). The Court found that the letter fell within the parameters of § 2255, informed him that his letter would be construed as a § 2255 motion if he did not withdraw it, and gave Aydelott the opportunity to file an amended § 2255 motion (DN 41). After the Court granted his motion for extension of time, Aydelott filed an amended § 2255 motion on September 8, 2017.

         II.

         Section 2255 provides for a one-year limitations period, which shall run from the latest of:

(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.

See § 2255(f).

         When a federal criminal defendant files an appeal to the court of appeals, the judgment of conviction becomes final for § 2255 purposes upon the expiration of the ninety-day period in which the defendant could have filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court, even when no certiorari petition is filed. See Clay v. United States, 537 U.S. 522, 532 (2003) (“We hold that, for federal criminal defendants who do not file a petition for certiorari with this Court on direct review, § 2255's one-year limitation period starts to run when the time for seeking such review expires.”). Thus, Aydelott's conviction became final ninety days after January 7, 2015, or on April 7, 2015. Aydelott, therefore, had until April 7, 2016, to file his § 2255 motion. The Court considers the § 2255 motion as being brought on May 15, 2017, the date of Aydelott's letter requesting relief under Johnson, which the Court construed as the original § 2255 motion. The motion was filed over one year after the statute of limitations expired, and therefore Aydelott's motion is subject to summary dismissal under § 2255(f)(1).

         In his petition, Aydelott seeks relief under the Supreme Court's decision in Johnson, which held the residual clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act unconstitutional. In Welch v. United States, __ U.S.__, 136 S.Ct. 1257, 1268 (2016), the Supreme Court held that “Johnson is retroactive in cases on collateral review[.]” To the extent that Aydelott would argue that the petition is timely under § 2255(f)(3), the date which triggers the statute of limitations is “the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review.” § 2255(f)(3). Here, the new rule announced in Johnson, made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review, was recognized by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015. See, e.g., Story v. United States, No. 2:13-CR-55-JRG-MCLC-1, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166351, at *4 (E.D. Tenn. Dec. 2, 2016) (“[T]he new right on which Petitioner relies was first recognized in the Johnson decision, which the Supreme Court decided on June 26, 2015.”) (citing Johnson, 135 S.Ct. at 2551.) Thus, Aydelott had until June 26, 2016, in which to file a § 2255 motion seeking relief under Johnson. The instant motion filed on May 15, 2017, was filed almost one year after the statute of limitations expired. Therefore, the fact that Aydelott seeks relief under Johnson does not serve to avoid the statute of limitations bar.

         However, because § 2255's one-year statute of limitations is not jurisdictional, it is subject to equitable tolling. Dunlap v. United States, 250 F.3d 1001, 1007 (6th Cir. 2001). “‘Typically, equitable tolling applies only when a litigant's failure to meet a legally-mandated deadline unavoidably arose from circumstances beyond that litigant's control.'” Jurado v. Burt, 337 F.3d 638, 642 (6th Cir. 2003) (quoting Graham-Humphreys v. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Inc., 209 F.3d 552, 560-61 (6th Cir. 2000)). A movant “is ‘entitled to equitable tolling' only if he shows ‘(1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way' and prevented timely filing.” Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 649 (2010) (quoting Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005)). ÔÇťAbsent compelling equitable considerations, a court should not extend limitations by even a single ...


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