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Walker v. Sprayberry

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division

February 21, 2018

CARLTON J. WALKER Petitioner,
v.
KEVIN SPRAYBERRY, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          R. STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA

         Petitioner Carlton J. Walker (“Walker”), who is currently incarcerated at Hays State Prison in Trion, Georgia, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his conviction and sentence obtained in the Superior Court of Emanuel County, Georgia. (Doc. 1.) Respondent filed an Answer-Response and a Motion to Dismiss. (Docs. 11, 12.) Walker filed Responses to the Motion to Dismiss. (Docs. 15, 16.) For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND the Court GRANT Respondent's Motion, DISMISS Walker's Petition, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to enter the appropriate judgment of dismissal and CLOSE this case, and DENY Walker in forma pauperis status on appeal and a Certificate of Appealability.

         BACKGROUND

         On June 20, 2012, Walker pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery. (Doc. 10-1, pp. 4-5; Doc. 13-4, p. 1.) Walker was sentenced to 17 years to serve without parole, to run concurrently with any active sentence that he was currently serving. (Doc. 10-1, p. 4; Doc. 13-4, p. 1.) Walker did not pursue a direct appeal. Instead, on December 29, 2014, Walker executed an out-of-time Motion to Modify/Reduce Sentence in the Emanuel County Superior Court. (Doc. 13-3.) The Emanuel County Superior Court denied this Motion on February 17, 2015, finding it both untimely and without merit. (Doc. 13-4.) On April 25, 2016, Walker filed a Motion to Correct/Void Sentence in the Emanuel County Superior Court. (Doc. 13-5.) Finding Walker's sentence consistent with Georgia law, the Emanuel County Superior Court also denied this Motion on June 12, 2017.[1] (Doc. 16-1, pp. 1-2.)

         Walker filed an application for writ of habeas corpus in the Superior Court of Chattooga County, Georgia, on May 13, 2016. (Doc. 13-1.) The warden filed an answer on September 7, 2016. (Doc. 13-2.) As of April 17, 2017, no evidentiary hearing had been conducted. (Doc. 12-1, p. 1.) Walker executed this Section 2254 Petition on January 26, 2017, and it was filed in this Court on February 2, 2017. (Doc. 1.)

         DISCUSSION

         In his Petition, Walker alleges that his plea was involuntary because he has a “mental health condition [that] prevented petitioner from understanding the plea, ” the Superior Court improperly sentenced him as a recidivist, and his public defender rendered ineffective assistance by “advising the petitioner to accept the Alford plea [while] knowing the plea was incorrect and illegal.” (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6.)

         Respondent contends that Walker untimely filed his Section 2254 Petition because he did not file it within one year of his Emanuel County conviction being “final.” (Doc. 12-1, p. 2.) Respondent also argues that Walker did not properly exhaust his state remedies before filing his Petition with this Court. (Id. at pp. 5-7.) Walker filed Responses arguing that his public defender refused to file a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, and the Emanuel County Superior Court incorrectly calculated his concurrent sentences. (Docs. 15, 16.)

         I. Whether Walker Timely Filed his Petition

         A petitioner seeking to file a federal habeas petition has one year within which to file his petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). The 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 prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that 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 ...

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