United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
JOHN T. ALEXANDER, Petitioner,
WARDEN HILTON HALL; and SAMUEL S.OLENS, Respondents.
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
John T. Alexander (“Alexander”), who is currently
incarcerated at Coffee Correctional Facility in Nicholls,
Georgia, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his convictions obtained
in the Camden County, Georgia, Superior Court. (Doc. 1.)
Homer Bryson, former Commissioner of the Georgia Department
of Corrections, filed a Motion to Intervene as Party
Respondent, (doc. 12), and Respondent Samuel S. Olens filed a
Motion to Dismiss as Party Respondent, (docs. 13). In
addition, Respondent Bryson filed an Answer-Response and a
Motion to Dismiss, (docs. 10, 11). Alexander filed a Response
to Respondents' Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 18.) For the
reasons which follow, the Court GRANTS
former Commissioner Bryson's Motion to Intervene as Party
Respondent.(Doc. 12.) I RECOMMEND
that the Court GRANT Respondent Samuel S.
Olens' Motion to Dismiss as a Party Respondent, (doc.
13), GRANT Respondent's Motion to
Dismiss, (doc. 11), DISMISS Alexander's
Petitioner, and CLOSE this case. I also
RECOMMEND that the Court
DENY Alexander a Certificate of
Appealability and DENY in forma
pauperis status on appeal.
was convicted on August 27, 2008, after entering a guilty
plea, in the Camden County, Georgia, Superior Court of two
counts of child molestation. (Doc. 14-2, pp. 1-2.) Pursuant
to Alexander's negotiated plea agreement, he received a
split sentence of twenty (20) years, with ten (10) years to
be served in prison, followed by ten (10) years'
probation. (Id.) Alexander did not file a direct
filed a state habeas corpus petition in the Coffee County,
Georgia, Superior Court on September 17, 2012. (Doc. 14-1.)
Alexander asserted that his guilty plea was not entered into
knowingly and voluntarily, that he was denied effective
assistance of counsel, and that the trial court violated his
due process rights. (Id. at 4.) Following an
evidentiary hearing on November 13, 2013, the state habeas
court denied relief on September 22, 2014. (Doc. 14-2.) The
Georgia Supreme Court denied Alexander's application for
a certificate of probable cause to appeal the state habeas
court's denial of relief on March 30, 2015. (Doc. 14-4.)
filed this federal petition for writ of habeas corpus on
September 9, 2015. (Doc. 1.) Alexander challenges his Camden
County convictions on two grounds. First, Alexander alleges
ineffective assistance of counsel, citing his attorney's
failure to interview witnesses and failure to advise
Alexander of his right to appeal his conviction.
(Id. at p. 7.) Second, Alexander alleges that his
guilty plea was not knowing or voluntary. (Id.)
Respondent avers Alexander's petition was untimely filed
and should, therefore, be dismissed. (Doc. 11.)
Motion to Intervene, (doc. 12), and Motion to Dismiss as a
Party Respondent, (doc. 13)
named Hilton Hall, Warden of Coffee Correctional Facility,
and Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General of the State of
Georgia, as Respondents in this action. Homer Bryson, former
Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections, filed
a motion with the Court to intervene in the present matter,
(doc. 12), and Respondent Samuel S. Olens filed a Motion to
Dismiss as a party Respondent, (doc. 13). The only proper
respondent in this Section 2254 action is the state officer
having custody of the petitioner. See Rule 2(a) of
the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases. Because the
Commissioner of the Department of Corrections is the state
entity in charge of Georgia's penal institutions,
including Coffee Correctional Facility, a privately-run
contract facility, Warden Hilton Hall and Samuel S. Olens are
not proper respondents in this case and should be dismissed.
See O.C.G.A. § 42-2-6; Clemons v.
Owens, No. CV 114-129, 2015 WL 858390, at *2 (S.D. Ga.
Feb. 27, 2015).
after careful consideration and for good cause shown, the
Court GRANTS former Commissioner Homer
Bryson's Motion to Intervene. (Doc. 12.) Because Gregory
C. Dozier is the current Commissioner of the Georgia
Department of Corrections, the Clerk of Court is
AUTHORIZED and DIRECTED to
change the name of the Respondent to Gregory C. Dozier,
Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections, upon
the docket and record of this case. Consequently, I
RECOMMEND that the Court
GRANT Respondent Olens' Motion to
Dismiss as a Party Respondent, (doc. 13), and
DISMISS Warden Hilton Hall and Samuel S.
Olens as Respondents.
Whether Alexander's Petition was Timely Filed
raised the issue of the timeliness of Alexander's
petition in his Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 11.) To determine
whether Alexander's Petition was filed in a timely
manner, the Court must look to the applicable statute of
limitations periods. A prisoner must file a petition for writ
of habeas corpus in federal court within one (1) year. 28
U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). This statute of limitations period
shall run from the latest of four possible dates:
(A) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes
final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of
time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application
by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of
the United States is removed, if the applicant was ...