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Chambers v. Blakely

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

January 10, 2019

JARCARRI CHAMBERS, Petitioner,
v.
DEPUTY WARDEN DON BLAKELY, Respondent.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BENJAMIN W. CHEESBRO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Petitioner Jarcarri Chambers (“Chambers”), who is currently incarcerated at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia, filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging his conviction and sentence obtained in the Superior Court of Jeff Davis County, Georgia. Doc. 1. Respondent filed an Answer-Response and a Motion to Dismiss. Docs. 12, 14. Chambers filed a Response to the Motion to Dismiss. Doc. 17. For the reasons which follow, I RECOMMEND the Court GRANT Respondent's Motion, DISMISS Chambers' Petition, DIRECT the Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case, and DENY Chambers in forma pauperis status on appeal and a Certificate of Appealability.

         BACKGROUND

         Chambers was convicted of cruelty to children in the first degree in the Superior Court of Jeff Davis County, Georgia, on March 25, 2008, after a jury trial. The next day, he was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. Doc. 1 at 1. Chambers filed an appeal with the Georgia Court of Appeals, and that court affirmed his conviction and sentence on November 29, 2011. Doc. 15-2 at 2.

         On July 18, 2012, Chambers filed a state habeas corpus petition in the Mitchell County Superior Court. Doc. 15-1 at 1. In that petition, Chambers asserted his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to conduct an independent investigation of the issues raised in his motion for new trial and for failing to raise ineffective assistance of trial counsel claims on appeal. Id. at 5. Chambers also filed an amended petition setting forth additional claims of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. Doc. 15-2 at 3, 4. After an evidentiary hearing, the Mitchell County Superior Court denied Chambers' petition on August 27, 2014, finding no viable assertions of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, and that order was filed on August 29, 2014. Id. at 12; Doc. 14-1 at 1.

         Chambers was advised he had 30 days to file an application for certificate of probable cause to appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court and a notice of appeal in the Mitchell County Superior Court within that same 30 days. Doc. 15-2 at 12. By dismissal order dated April 20, 2015, the Georgia Supreme Court determined that Chambers' notice of appeal and application for certificate of probable cause to appeal had to be filed no later than September 29, 2014. Doc. 15-3. The Georgia Supreme Court found that, although he filed a timely notice of appeal in the superior court, he failed to file a certificate of probable cause in the Georgia Supreme Court, “and any application now filed would be untimely.” Id. Chambers executed this § 2254 Petition on September 21, 2017, and it was filed in this Court on September 28, 2017. Doc. 1.

         DISCUSSION

         In his Petition, which was executed on September 21, 2017, Chambers states the trial court violated the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 17-8-57 (barring Georgia trial judges from expressing certain opinions during trial). Doc. 1 at 5. Chambers also states his trial counsel was ineffective because she did not interpose proper objections, frame the defense in an understandable manner, question the victim about previous occurrences, or question a witness about previous occurrences. Id. at 6. Chambers indicates he will amend his Petition once he gets “all [his] paper work.” Id. at 8. Chambers asserts he did not raise all grounds for relief to the highest state court based on “new evidence, ” but does not explain the purported new evidence. Id. at 11. Chambers requests that his case be remanded to state court for a new trial or to overturn the sentence imposed due to violations he set forth in this Petition. Id. at 14.

         Respondent contends Chambers' § 2254 Petition is untimely because he did not file it within one year of his Jeff Davis County conviction becoming “final, ” and he is not entitled to tolling of the applicable statute of limitations period. Doc. 14-1 at 2.

         I. Whether Chambers Timely Filed his Petition

         Because Respondent challenges the timeliness of Chambers' Petition, this Court must look to the applicable statute of limitations periods. 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 ...

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