Minter v. Johnson

Decision Date26 September 2000
Docket NumberNo. 99-7255,No. 99-7256,99-7255,99-7256
Citation230 F.3d 663
Parties(4th Cir. 2000) LARRY NATHAN MINTER, Petitioner-Appellant, v. THEODIS BECK; CLIFF JOHNSON, Respondents-Appellees. LARRY NATHAN MINTER, Petitioner-Appellee, v. THEODIS BECK; CLIFF JOHNSON, Respondents-Appellants. . Argued:
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, at Asheville.

Lacy H. Thornburg, District Judge. (CA-99-30-1)

COUNSEL ARGUED: Winifred Helen Dillon, NORTH CAROLINA PRISONER LEGAL SERVICES, INC., Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant. Clarence Joe DelForge, III, Assistant Attorney General, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellees. ON BRIEF: Michael F. Easley, Attorney General, Diane A. Reeves, Assistant Attorney General, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Raleigh, North Caro- lina, for Appellees.

Before WILKINS and LUTTIG, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge.

Vacated and remanded with instructions by published opinion. Senior Judge Hamilton wrote the opinion, in which Judge Wilkins and Judge Luttig joined.

OPINION

HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge:

On June 16, 1994, Larry Nathan Minter (Minter) pled guilty in North Carolina state court to multiple state drug trafficking violations and related offenses for which he received a twenty-five year sentence of imprisonment. On February 24, 1999, Minter filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the West- ern District of North Carolina pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ 2254. In his § 2254 petition, Minter claimed that his June 1994 convictions and sentence constituted impermissible double jeopardy under the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Consti- tution because he had already been prosecuted and punished for the same conduct when North Carolina assessed $33,472.04 in taxes against him pursuant to North Carolina's controlled substance tax (North Carolina's Controlled Substance Tax), see N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 105-113.105 through 105-113.113, and obtained a judgment against him in state court for the same amount.

The district court agreed with Minter that a violation of his rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause had occurred. However, the district court concluded that the appropriate remedy for the violation was pro- scription of the assessment and collection of North Carolina's Con- trolled Substance Tax against him, rather than vacatur of his convictions and sentence. Accordingly, the district court entered a judgment: (1) sustaining Minter's June 1994 convictions and sen- tence; (2) denying his § 2254 petition; (3) stating that assessment and collection of North Carolina's Controlled Substance Tax with respect to Minter "constitutes a violation of his Fifth Amendment rights and is therefore proscribed"; and (4) stating that"this proceeding is hereby DISMISSED in its entirety on the merits." (J.A. 69).

Minter now appeals the district court's judgment on the ground that the district court should have vacated his June 1994 convictions and sentence instead of proscribing assessment and collection against him of North Carolina's Controlled Substance Tax. North Carolina cross- appeals, challenging, inter alia, the portion of the district court's judgment proscribing assessment and collection of North Carolina's Controlled Substance Tax against Minter and the district court's refusal to dismiss Minter's § 2254 petition as time-barred. On February 24, 2000, we granted a certificate of appealability as to whether North Carolina's Controlled Substance Tax is a criminal penalty and whether subjecting a defendant to both assessment of the tax and criminal prosecution, based upon possession of the same drugs, constitutes double jeopardy in violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause. Our review of this case reveals that Minter's § 2254 petition is time-barred. Accordingly, we do not address the double jeopardy argument raised by Minter. Because Minter's § 2254 petition is time- barred, we vacate the district court's judgment in its entirety and remand with instructions that Minter's § 2254 petition be dismissed as time-barred.

I.

As previously stated, on June 16, 1994, Minter pled guilty in North Carolina state court to multiple state drug trafficking violations and related offenses for which he received a twenty-five year sentence of imprisonment. On June 17, 1998, Minter filed a motion for appropri- ate relief in North Carolina state court, pursuant to North Carolina General Statute § 15A-1411, collaterally challenging these convic- tions as violative of his rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause. According to Minter's motion, his convictions in June 1994 consti- tuted impermissible double jeopardy because he had already been prosecuted and punished in the prior month for the same conduct when North Carolina assessed $33,472.04 in taxes against him pursu- ant to North Carolina's Controlled Substance Tax and obtained a judgment against him in state court for the same amount.

On June 26, 1998, the state trial court denied Minter's motion for appropriate relief on two grounds: (1) that his guilty plea constituted a waiver of his right to challenge his June 1994 convictions as viola- tive of the Double Jeopardy Clause; and (2) relying on State v. Bal- lenger, 472 S.E.2d 572 (N.C. Ct. App. 1996), aff'd per curiam, 481 S.E.2d 84 (N.C. 1997), that imposition of the drug tax on Minter did not bar North Carolina from subsequently prosecuting him for the various drug crimes of which he was convicted. On September 1, 1998, the North Carolina Court of Appeals denied Minter's petition for a writ of certiorari in which he sought review of the denial of his motion for appropriate relief.

On February 24, 1999, Minter filed his § 2254 petition raising the same double jeopardy argument that he raised in his motion for appropriate relief in state court. North Carolina opposed the petition on the grounds that it was time-barred, that Minter's guilty plea con- stituted a waiver of his right to argue that his June 1994 convictions violated the Double Jeopardy Clause, and on the merits. The district court rejected North Carolina's untimely petition and waiver argu- ments. Furthermore, the district court concluded that Minter's rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause had been violated. However, as previously stated, the district court concluded that the appropriate remedy for this violation was proscription of the assessment and col- lection of North Carolina's Controlled Substance Tax against him, rather than vacatur of his convictions and sentence. Accordingly, on July 23, 1999, the district court entered the judgment previously described. These timely appeals followed.

II.

Dispositive of this entire appeal is our agreement with North Caro- lina's contention that Minter's § 2254 petition is untimely. Under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, a petition for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court must be filed within one year of 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 applica- tion 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.

28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).

For prisoners like Minter, whose convictions became final prior to the effective date of the AEDPA, the one year period was not trig- gered by the date the conviction became final, but instead by the effective date of the AEDPA, April 24, 1996. See Hernandez v. Cald- well, 225 F.3d 435, 437-38 (4th Cir. Aug. 28, 2000). However, Minter did not file his motion for appropriate relief in state court until June 17, 1998 and did not file...

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