341 F.3d 1240 (11th Cir. 2003), 01-12491, Walker v. Crosby

Docket Nº:01-12491
Citation:341 F.3d 1240
Party Name:Walker v. Crosby
Case Date:August 13, 2003
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
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Page 1240

341 F.3d 1240 (11th Cir. 2003)

Exum WALKER, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

James CROSBY, Secretary, Department of Corrections, and Charlie Crist, Attorney General of the State of Florida, Respondents-Appellees.

No. 01-12491.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

August 13, 2003

Page 1241

Stephen J. Langs, R. Fletcher Peacock, Rosemary T. Cakmis, Federal Public Defenders, Orlando, FL, for Petitioner-Appellant.

Bonnie Jean Parrish, Fla. Dept. of Legal Affairs/Atty. Gen., Daytona Beach, FL, for Respondents-Appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Before BIRCH and BLACK, Circuit Judges, and PROPST [*], District Judge.

BLACK, Circuit Judge:

Appellant Exum Walker appeals the district court's dismissal of his application for writ of habeas corpus, brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as time-barred under the one-year statute of limitations contained in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). We granted a certificate of appealability as to the following issues: (1) whether individual claims within a single habeas petition may be reviewed separately for timeliness in light of Artuz v. Bennett, 531 U.S. 4, 121 S.Ct. 361, 148 L.Ed.2d 213 (2000); and (2) whether, in this case, the district court properly dismissed Walker's 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas petition as untimely. 1 The plain language of § 2244(d)(1) convinces us the answer to both questions is no.

I.

In May 1990, Appellant was convicted in state court of three counts of committing a lewd act in the presence of a child and one count of committing a lewd act upon a child. 2 In July 1990, Appellant was sentenced on all of these counts and received a total of 25 years' incarceration followed by 30 years' probation. Appellant's conviction and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal, and the mandate issued on August 7, 1991.

In the course of the next six years, Appellant filed several collateral attacks in state court, all of which were denied. In October 1997, however, Appellant filed a motion to correct his sentence under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.800, and the state court granted this motion with respect to Appellant's probationary sentence. On February 4, 1998, Appellant was resentenced to 15 years' probation as to one of the counts for which he was convicted and 15 years' probation as to another count, to run consecutively. Appellant appealed the resentencing judgment.

On February 24, 1998, while the appeal to his resentencing judgment was still pending, Appellant filed in federal district court a § 2254 application for writ of habeas corpus (1998 application) challenging aspects of his original conviction. On May 24, 1998, the district court dismissed Appellant's 1998 application without prejudice

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for failure to exhaust his remedies in state court.

Meanwhile, the state courts affirmed Appellant's resentencing and the mandate issued on June 5, 1998. Appellant then filed various applications for state post-conviction or other collateral review, all of which were eventually denied. 3

On January 16, 2001, Appellant filed another § 2254 application for writ of habeas corpus (2001 application) in federal district court. The 2001 application contained the same four claims raised in his 1998 application, as well as a fifth claim in which Appellant alleged he was resentenced to a harsher sentence in violation of his due process rights. Appellees argued the 2001 application was untimely under § 2244(d)(1). In response, Appellant argued the filing date of his 2001 application should relate back to his 1998 application. The district court, however, reasoned that since Appellant's conviction became final prior to April 24, 1996, he had until April 23, 1997, absent any tolling, to file a federal habeas petition regarding such conviction. See Wilcox v. Florida Dep't. of Corr., 158 F.3d 1209, 1211 (11th Cir.1998) (holding petitioners whose convictions become final before the enactment of AEDPA must be provided a reasonable time to file their § 2254 petitions, and one year from the effective date is a reasonable period). Measuring the one-year statute of limitations from April 24, 1996, the district court found Appellant's 2001 application to be untimely. The district court also noted that Appellant's 1998 application, which had previously been dismissed without prejudice for failure to exhaust state remedies, was also filed after the one-year time limit had expired.

Appellant filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing the statute of limitations should be measured from the date of his resentencing, and not from the effective date of the AEDPA, because under § 2244(d)(1)(D) the date of his resentencing was the earliest date on which the factual predicate of his fifth claim could have been discovered. Appellant argued his 2001 application, as a whole, was timely under the one-year statute of limitations in § 2244(d)(1), measured from the date of his resentencing and tolled during the pendency of his properly filed applications for state post-conviction relief. In other words, he argued that, as long as one claim in his application was timely, the entire application was timely, even though other individual claims within the application appeared to be untimely when viewed by themselves. The district court denied Appellant's motion to reconsider. This appeal followed.

II.

The first issue upon which we granted a certificate of appealability is whether individual claims within a single habeas petition may be reviewed separately for timeliness, in light of Artuz v. Bennett, 531 U.S. 4, 121 S.Ct. 361, 148 L.Ed.2d 213 (2000). The answer to this question depends upon the interpretation of the statute of limitations contained in § 2244(d)(1). "We begin our construction of [a statute] where courts should always begin the process of legislative interpretation, and where they often should end it as

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well, which is with the words of the statutory provision." Harris v. Garner, 216 F.3d 970, 972 (11th Cir.2000).

Section 2244(d) 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 exercise of due diligence.

(2) The time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of limitation under this subsection.

28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) (emphasis added).

The statute directs the court to look at whether the "application" is timely, not whether the individual "claims" within the application are timely. The statute provides a single statute of limitations, with a single filing date, to be applied to the application as a whole. The statute also provides that this single deadline shall run from the "latest of" several possible triggering dates contained in subparagraphs (A) through (D).

Although the Supreme Court has not addressed this particular issue, the Court's analysis in Artuz guides our determination. Artuz dealt with whether an application for state post-conviction relief that contains procedurally barred claims is nevertheless "properly filed" within the meaning of § 2244(d)(2) so as to toll the limitation period. In holding that it was, the Court emphasized the distinction between an "application" and "claims" within an application:

By construing "properly filed application" to mean "application raising claims that are not mandatorily procedurally barred," petitioner elides the difference between an "application" and a "claim." Only individual claims, and not the application containing those claims, can be procedurally defaulted under state law.... Ignoring this distinction would require judges to engage in verbal gymnastics when an application contains some claims that are procedurally barred and some that are not. Presumably a court would have to say that the application is "properly filed" as to the non barred claims, and not "properly filed" as to the rest. The statute, however, refers only to "properly filed" applications and does not contain the peculiar suggestion that a single application can be both "properly filed" and not "properly filed." Ordinary English would refer to certain claims as...

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