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Williams v. Conover

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, Pikeville

February 19, 2019

KATHY WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
JANET CONOVER, WARDEN, Respondent.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Candace J. Smith United States Magistrate Judge

         Petitioner Kathy Williams, by and through counsel, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (R. 1). In conducting a preliminary review of the § 2254 Petition pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, it appeared that the Petition may be time-barred. Consequently, Petitioner was ordered to show cause as to why the Petition should not be dismissed as time-barred or to submit any information supporting equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. (See R. 3).

         Petitioner filed a Response to Order to Show Cause, conceding the untimeliness of the Petition but asserting that the statute of limitations should be equitably tolled due to the failure of her counsel to correctly apply then recent Sixth Circuit precedent clarifying the deadline for filing federal habeas petitions. (R. 7). The Warden, in turn, filed a Response to Petitioner's Show Cause Filing (R. 11), to which Petitioner filed a Response to the Warden's Response, which the Court construes as Petitioner's Reply. (R. 12).

         After review and consideration of the briefing submitted by both parties on the issue of the Petition's untimeliness, the Court finds that equitable tolling is not warranted in this case. Therefore, it will be recommended that the Petition (R. 1) be dismissed.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On January 12, 2004, Kathy Williams was indicted for murder. Williams v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, No. 2005-SC-000472-MR, 2007 WL 3225435, at *2 (Ky. Nov. 1, 2007). On April 22, 2005, following a trial by jury, Williams was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Williams v. Commonwealth, No. 2013-CA-001948-MR, 2015 WL 3429399, at *1 (Ky. Ct. App. May 29, 2015). Williams appealed her conviction to the Supreme Court of Kentucky, which entered a judgment affirming the conviction on November 1, 2007. Williams, 2007 WL 3225435. Then, on May 27, 2008, Williams filed a pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct her sentence under Kentucky Rule of Criminal Procedure (“RCr”) 11.42. Williams, 2015 WL 3429399, at *1. The trial court later appointed counsel and held an evidentiary hearing on the motion. Id. On March 1, 2013, the trial court denied her RCr 11.42 motion, and Williams filed a motion to reconsider pursuant to Kentucky Criminal Rule 59.05, which was denied on September 4, 2013. Id. Williams then appealed the trial court's denial of her RCr 11.42 motion to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which affirmed on May 29, 2015. Id. The Kentucky Supreme Court denied discretionary review of the motion on April 27, 2016. Williams v. Commonwealth, No. 2015-SC-000346-D, 2016 Ky. LEXIS 195 (Ky. Apr. 27, 2016). Williams, represented by counsel, filed the instant Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on January 17, 2017. (R. 1).

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Williams's § 2254 Petition was untimely filed.

         Williams's Petition is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) which establishes a one-year statute of limitations for filing a federal petition for writ of habeas corpus. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). The statute provides:

(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 of the time for seeking such review;
(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 prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the ...

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