Jenkins v. Superintendent of Laurel Highlands

Decision Date15 January 2013
Docket NumberNo. 10–4410.,10–4410.
Citation705 F.3d 80
PartiesRobert JENKINS, Appellant v. SUPERINTENDENT OF LAUREL HIGHLANDS; Attorney General of PA; York County District Attorney's Office.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Enid W. Harris (Argued), Kingston, PA, for Appellant.

Duane R. Ramseur (Argued), York County Office of District Attorney, York, PA, for Appellees.

Before: FUENTES, FISHER and GREENBERG, Circuit Judges.

OPINION OF THE COURT

FISHER, Circuit Judge.

Robert Jenkins, a Pennsylvania prisoner at State Correctional Institution—Laurel Highlands, seeks federal habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). The District Court ordered the dismissal of Jenkins's habeas petition as untimely under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). For the reasons stated below, we hold that Jenkins is eligible for statutory tolling of AEDPA's limitation period. Accordingly, we will reverse the District Court's order.

I.

The resolution of this appeal turns on its detailed procedural history. Jenkins was convicted by a jury of several drug-related offenses for which he was sentenced by the York County Common Pleas Court to a multi-year term of incarceration. He timely filed a notice of appeal, but the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed his conviction. Commonwealth v. Jenkins, 928 A.2d 1124 (Pa.Super.Ct.2007). He also timely filed a petition for allowance of appeal, which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied on September 28, 2007. Commonwealth v. Jenkins, 594 Pa. 676, 932 A.2d 1286 (2007). He did not petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.

On October 1, 2008, Jenkins timely filed a petition pursuant to Pennsylvania's Post Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”), 42 Pa. Cons.Stat. § 9541 et seq., which the Common Pleas Court denied.1 He timely filed a notice of appeal, but his attorney moved to withdraw pursuant to Commonwealth v. Turner, 518 Pa. 491, 544 A.2d 927 (1988), and Commonwealth v. Finley, 379 Pa.Super. 390, 550 A.2d 213 (1988) ( en banc ). The Superior Court granted his attorney's motion to withdraw and affirmed the Common Pleas Court's denial of his PCRA petition on November 10, 2009. Commonwealth v. Jenkins, 988 A.2d 721 (Pa.Super.Ct.2009).

On December 2, 2009, Jenkins filed a pro se pleading with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court entitled, Motion to File Petition for Allowance of Appeal Nunc Pro Tunc, and for the Appointment of Counsel.” In his pleading, he acknowledged that the deadline to file a petition for allowance of appeal was December 10, 2009. He also admitted that the Superior Court had allowed his attorney to withdraw. Finally, he claimed: (1) “I do not have the legal understanding to adequately file my own petition for allowance of appeal [,] and (2) [t]he person helping me with this filing is expecting to be transferred, and there is nobody else I can trust.” (App. at 117a).

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court notified the Superior Court that Jenkins had filed a petition for allowance of appeal. However, on December 16, 2009, the Supreme Court issued Jenkins a defective filing notice, which stated that his pleading failed to comply with certain Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure unrelated to timing. Jenkins promptly perfected his pleading on December 29, 2009. Nonetheless, on April 27, 2010, the Supreme Court denied his pleading in an unpublished per curiam order without opinion. Commonwealth v. Jenkins, No. 219 MM 2009, 2010 Pa. LEXIS 921 (Pa. Apr. 27, 2010).

On May 7, 2010, Jenkins filed a pro se habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.2 The District Court, sua sponte, raised the issue of timeliness, ordered briefing, and ultimately dismissed his habeas petition as untimely and denied a certificate of appealability.3Jenkins v. Superintendent of Laurel Highlands, No. 3–10–cv–00984, 2010 WL 4623859, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117659 (M.D.Pa. Nov. 3, 2010). This timely appeal followed. Determining that reasonable jurists could disagree with the District Court's dismissal of Jenkins's habeas petition as untimely, we granted a certificate of appealability.

II.

The District Court had jurisdiction over Jenkins's habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241 and 2254. We have jurisdiction over Jenkins's appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1291 and 2253. We exercise plenary review over the District Court's refusal to toll AEDPA's limitation period. Merritt v. Blaine, 326 F.3d 157, 161 (3d Cir.2003).

III.

AEDPA imposes a one-year limitation period for a state prisoner to file a federal habeas petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). As applicable here, AEDPA's limitation period runs from “the date on which the judgment became final by ... the expiration of the time for seeking [direct] review[.] § 2244(d)(1)(A). Also as applicable here, the expiration of the time for seeking direct review is the deadline for petitioning for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. Gonzalez v. Thaler, ––– U.S. ––––, 132 S.Ct. 641, 653–54, 181 L.Ed.2d 619 (2012).

On direct review, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied Jenkins's petition for allowance of appeal on September 28, 2007. Jenkins, 932 A.2d 1286. Because Jenkins had ninety days to petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, his conviction became final on December 27, 2007. Sup.Ct. R. 13.1. Jenkins did not file his habeas petition until well over a year later on May 7, 2010; thus, it is untimely unless AEDPA's limitation period was tolled.

AEDPA's limitation period “does not set forth ‘an inflexible rule requiring dismissal whenever’ its ‘clock has run.’ Holland v. Florida, ––– U.S. ––––, 130 S.Ct. 2549, 2560, 177 L.Ed.2d 130 (2010) (quoting Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 198, 208, 126 S.Ct. 1675, 164 L.Ed.2d 376 (2006)). Instead, the limitation period is subject to both statutory and equitable tolling. Merritt, 326 F.3d at 161 (citing Jones v. Morton, 195 F.3d 153, 158 (3d Cir.1999)). We conclude that Jenkins is entitled to statutory tolling and, although unnecessary to the disposition of this appeal, we note that he makes a strong showing for equitable tolling.

A.

We first analyze whether Jenkins should benefit from statutory tolling. A prisoner's “properly filed” application for state collateral review statutorily tolls AEDPA's limitation period during the time it is “pending.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2). Here, the following facts are undisputed: (1) Jenkins's October 1, 2008 PCRA petition was properly filed; (2) his PCRA petition was pending from October 1, 2008, the date he filed it, to December 10, 2009, the expiration date for him to file a petition for allowance of appeal; 4 and (3) his pleading was pending from December 2, 2009, the date he filed it, to April 27, 2010, the date the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied it.5 Thus, the sole issue we must resolve is whether Jenkins's December 2, 2009 pleading was filed properly and thereby statutorily tolled AEDPA's limitation period during its pendency.

The answer to this question will determine whether Jenkins's habeas petition was timely. Between the date his conviction became final, December 27, 2007, and the date he filed his PCRA petition, October 1, 2008, 279 days of AEDPA's 365–day limitation period ran. Additionally, between the date the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied his pleading, April 27, 2010, and the date he filed his habeas petition, May 7, 2010, 10 more days ran. As a result, if his pleading was properly filed, then only those 289 days would have run, and his habeas petition would be timely by 76 days. However, if his pleading was not properly filed, then the additional 138 days between the expiration date for him to file a petition for allowance of appeal, December 10, 2009, and the date the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied his pleading, April 27, 2010, would be added to the 289 days already accrued. In this scenario, 427 days would have run, and his habeas petition would be untimely by 62 days.

A prisoner's application for state collateral review is ‘properly filed’ when its delivery and acceptance are in compliance with the applicable laws and rules governing filings[,] Artuz v. Bennett, 531 U.S. 4, 8, 121 S.Ct. 361, 148 L.Ed.2d 213 (2000) (emphasis omitted), including “time limits, no matter their form,” Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 417, 125 S.Ct. 1807, 161 L.Ed.2d 669 (2005). Thus, if a state court determines that an application is untimely, ‘that [is] the end of the matter’ for purposes of” statutory tolling of AEDPAs limitation period, id. at 414, 125 S.Ct. 1807 (quoting Carey v. Saffold, 536 U.S. 214, 226, 122 S.Ct. 2134, 153 L.Ed.2d 260 (2002)), “regardless of whether it also addressed the merits of the claim, or whether its timeliness ruling was ‘entangled’ with the merits[,] Carey, 536 U.S. at 226, 122 S.Ct. 2134. But if a state court fails to rule clearly on the timeliness of an application, a federal court “must ... determine what the state courts would have held in respect to timeliness.” Evans v. Chavis, 546 U.S. 189, 198, 126 S.Ct. 846, 163 L.Ed.2d 684 (2006).

At oral argument, Jenkins asserted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had not held that his pleading was untimely or otherwise not properly filed. The Commonwealth, in turn, conceded that the Supreme Court may have denied Jenkins's pleading on the merits. We agree that the Supreme Court's order provides no indication about whether it denied Jenkins's pleading as untimely, as otherwise not properly filed, or on the merits. See Jenkins, 2010 Pa. LEXIS 921, at *1 ([T]he Motion to File Petition for Allowance of Appeal Nunc Pro Tunc and for the Appointment of Counsel is denied.”) (formatting omitted). Thus, we “must look to state law governing when a petition for collateral relief is properly filed.” Douglas v. Horn, 359 F.3d 257, 262 (3rd Cir.2004) (quoting Fahy v. Horn, 240 F.3d 239, 243 (3d Cir.2001)).

The Commonwealth acknowledges that Jenkins filed his pleading before the deadline to file...

To continue reading

Request your trial
744 cases
  • Fuqua v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • February 15, 2013
    ... ... , and Administratrix Ad Prosequendum of The Estate of Georgianna Jenkins, Plaintiff, v. BristolMyers Squibb Company, et al., Defendants. Adrienne ... Jenkins v. Superintendent of Laurel Highlands, 705 F.3d 80, 89 (3d Cir.2013) ([w]e extend the ... ...
  • Rodriguez v. Vaughn
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • March 2, 2015
    ... ... See Jenkins v. Supt. of Laurel Highlands , 705 F.3d 80, 84 (3d Cir. 2014)(citing ... ...
  • Nayee v. D'Ilio
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • April 23, 2021
    ... ... with the applicable laws and rules governing filings[.]" Jenkins v ... Superintendent of Laurel Highlands , 705 F.3d 80, 85 (3d Cir. 2013) ... ...
  • United States v. Winkles
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • July 31, 2015
    ... ... Jenkins v. Superintendent of Laurel Highlands, 705 F.3d 80, 84 n. 2 (3d Cir.2013) ... ...
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Review Proceedings
    • United States
    • Georgetown Law Journal No. 110-Annual Review, August 2022
    • August 1, 2022
    ...on date delivered to court off‌icer for placement into off‌icial record). But see, e.g. , Jenkins v. Superintendent of Laurel Highlands, 705 F.3d 80, 84 n.2 (3d Cir. 2013) (petition not f‌iled on date given to prison off‌icials because petitioner failed to declare date of deposit and prepay......
  • CERTIFICATION COMES OF AGE: REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF COOPERATIVE JUDICIAL FEDERALISM.
    • United States
    • Notre Dame Law Review Vol. 95 No. 5, May 2020
    • May 1, 2020
    ...of whether amended order to sentence restarts statute of limitations under [section] 2244); Jenkins v. Superintendent of Laurel Highlands, 705 F.3d 80, 84-85 (3d Cir. 2013) (raising question regarding whether petition for state post-conviction relief was properly filed); Voravongsa v. Wall,......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT