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Johnson v. Gunnels

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

October 16, 2014



WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Justin S. Anand's Final Report and Recommendation ("R&R") [19], and Petitioner William Randy Johnson's ("Petitioner") Objections [23] to the R&R. The R&R considers Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [1] ("Petition") and Respondent Darren Gunnels's ("Respondent") Motion to Dismiss [16]. The Magistrate Judge recommended, in his R&R, that Respondent's Motion to Dismiss be granted and the Petition be dismissed as untimely. The Magistrate Judge recommended that a Certificate of Appealability ("COA") not be issued.


On September 16, 2011, Petitioner pleaded guilty to one count of hit and run resulting in injury and one count of serious injury by vehicle, and was sentenced to six years of probation. ([17-1] at 6). Petitioner did not file an appeal.

Two years later, on September 23, 2013, Petitioner filed his Petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In February 2014, Petitioner initiated a state habeas petition in Spalding County Superior Court to challenge the execution of his sentence after his probation was revoked. On July 7, 2014, Respondent moved to dismiss the Petition as untimely, arguing that it was not filed within the one (1) year limitations period set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d), and for failure to exhaust Petitioner's state court remedies. On July 30, 2014, Petitioner filed his Response [18] to the Motion to Dismiss, asserting that his Petition was timely because he only recently discovered that he could challenge, as unconstitutionally vague, the statute under which he was convicted. (Response at 14-15).

On July 31, 2014, the Magistrate Judge recommended that the Petition be denied as untimely, because the one-year limitations period for Petitioner to file a § 2254 petition expired on October 17, 2012. (R&R at 3-5). Petitioner's time for filing did not toll because he did not seek state collateral review until February 2014, after his one-year limitations period had expired. (Id. at 4-5). The Magistrate Judge also found that Petitioner had not exhausted his state court remedies. (Id. at 7-10). Having found that the untimeliness of the Petition and the Petitioner's failure to exhaust state court remedies were not debatable, the Magistrate Judge recommended that a COA not be issued. (Id. at 10-11).

On August 1, 2014, Petitioner filed an Amendment [22] to his Response to the Motion to Dismiss. On August 15, 2014, Petitioner filed his Objections to the R&R. In his Objections, Petitioner states that he obtained the requested relief regarding his probation from the Spalding County Superior Court, and that his Petition is now moot and can be dismissed. Petitioner does not object to or otherwise address the Magistrate Judge's findings or recommendations.


A. Legal Standard

After conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject, or modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Williams v. Wainwright , 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982), cert denied, 459 U.S. 1112 (1983). A district judge "shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). With respect to those findings and recommendations to which a party has not asserted objections, the district judge must conduct a plain error review of the record. United States v. Slay , 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th Cir. 1983).

B. Analysis

Petition, in his Objections, states:

Whereas the State has apparently resolved its differences with Petitioner, and the State Court has ordered that Petitioner no longer has any "significant restraints on [his] liberty", Petitioner no longer sees any prudence, or judicial economy, in burdening this Honorable Federal Court's case load with the Great Writ, as the State Court has apparently applied the United States Constitution's principles of Liberty to its Judgment.

(Objections at 3). It thus appears that the Petitioner has obtained the requested relief in his state court proceeding, and is seeking to dismiss his Petition as moot. Based on this apparent request, the Court dismisses the Petition as moot. The Petition, however, was docketed as an objection to the R&R, and, in an abundance of caution, ...

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