United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
RONALD E. HILL, Petitioner,
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. WIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
21, 2018, Petitioner Ronald E. Hill filed a
facially untimely 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Petition for a Writ
of Habeas Corpus in the Western District of Kentucky. DE #1
(Petition). On that same date, he also filed a document
titled “Motion to Show Cause of Why Petitioner Did Not
Meet the One Year Statute of Limitations.” DE #3. This
document offered two reasons for Petitioner's
untimeliness: (1) he did not have “the legal knowledge
and experience to file for [a] writ of habeas
corpus[;]” and (2) he did not have “an attorney
or Legal Aid” to assist him in doing so. Id.
at 1. Because Petitioner challenges a Fayette County
conviction, the Western District transferred the action to
this Court on August 27, 2018. DE #8.
September 20, 2018, given the apparent absence of a legally
sufficient basis for equitable tolling of the limitations
period, the Court ordered Hill to show cause why it should
not dismiss his petition as time-barred, by October 22, 2018.
DE #14. On October 9, 2018, the Court received notice that
the Order (sent to Petitioner at Luther Luckett Correctional
Complex, in LaGrange, Kentucky) had been returned as
undeliverable. DE #19. The Clerk thus forwarded the Order to
Green River Correctional Complex, in Central City, Kentucky,
with a request for Petitioner to update his address in
writing. Id. Petitioner has not done so; nor has he
responded to the Court's Order at DE #14. However, a
search of Kentucky's online offender database confirms
that Hill is in fact a current inmate at Green River
Correctional Complex. On November 19, 2018, the Department of
Corrections responded to Hill's petition, arguing that it
is time-barred. DE #23. The September Order, DE #14,
contemplated affording Hill a one-month period to respond on
timeliness, and the Court has allowed him (more than) a month
since the date the Clerk resent DE #14 to the correct
facility. Since that time, Hill has not communicated with the
Court, and the Court cannot let the case languish on its
docket indefinitely without Petitioner's participation.
The Court perceives Hill's petition as barred by the
applicable statute of limitations governing § 2254
actions, and Hill has not provided any facts indicating
otherwise or establishing tolling.
stated in DE #14, while Hill's petition fails to provide
dates of decisions in his cases, “[a] review of the
Kentucky Supreme Court's dockets reveals that Hill's
May 22, 2013 Judgment in the Fayette Circuit Court (on remand
from the Kentucky Court of Appeals) became final when the
Kentucky Supreme Court declined review on February 11,
2015.” DE #14 at 2 n.3; see Hill v.
Commonwealth, No. 2014-SC-000366 (Ky. Feb. 11, 2015);
see also Hill v. Commonwealth, No. 2011-CA-2099,
2012 WL 6632818, *1 (Ky. Ct. App. Dec. 21, 2012) (vacating
and remanding for additional findings of fact), and Hill
v. Commonwealth, No. 2013-CA-1026, 2014 WL 2536983, *1
(Ky. Ct. App. June 6, 2014) (affirming Fayette Circuit's
decision on remand). Hill's petition indicates that he
did not pursue further relief of any sort. See DE #1
at 3. Consequently, Hill's conviction became final on
February 11, 2015, and he did not file his habeas petition
until June 21, 2018. See DE #1.
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA)
prescribes a strict one-year limitation period for §
2254 petitions, and Hill filed his petition more than three
years after time began to run in his case. 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d). His proffered reasons for the untimely filing-his
lack of legal knowledge and assistance-are patently
inadequate to support equitable tolling under the governing
law. See, e.g., Allen v. Yukins, 366 F.3d
396, 403 (6th Cir. 2004) (quoting Rose v. Dole, 945
F.2d 1331, 1335 (6th Cir. 1991)) (“Even if Allen lacked
actual knowledge of the relevant provisions of AEDPA, this
court has repeatedly held that ‘ignorance of the law
alone is not sufficient to warrant equitable
tolling.'”); Shelley v. Meko, No.
10-198-GFVT, 2011 WL 4591184, at *3 (E.D. Ky. Aug. 16, 2011)
(citing Lewis v. Casey, 116 S.Ct 2174, 2180 (1996))
(noting that “an inmate is not
constitutionally entitled to legal assistance[, ]” and
a lack of legal assistance is not a cognizable impediment to
timely filing a habeas petition) (emphasis in original);
Wilson v. Birkett, 192 F.Supp.2d 763, 766 (E.D.
Mich. 2002) (“[C]laims that a petitioner did not have
professional legal assistance are also not an extraordinary
circumstance which would toll the statute of
filed his petition well outside the one-year AEDPA limit, and
he has not pointed to any circumstances that would toll the
timeframe. Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES
Hill's time-barred petition (DE #1), with prejudice, and
DENIES a certificate of
appealability. A Judgment to this effect follows.
 This filing date reflects the prison
mailbox rule. See Richard v. Ray, 290 F.3d 810,
812-13 (6th Cir. 2002) (per curiam). Hill placed his
petition in the prison mailing system on June 21, 2018. DE #1
 The Court denies issuance of a
certificate because the timeliness result is not, on this
record, fairly debatable, for all the reasons explained
above. See Slack v. McDaniel, 120 S.Ct. 1595, 1604
(2000) (requiring a petitioner to demonstrate, when a court
dismisses on procedural grounds, that “jurists of
reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a
valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right and that
jurists of ...