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Sandoval v. Horton

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

August 14, 2018

VICENTE THOMAS SANDOVAL, Petitioner,
v.
VINCE HORTON and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO, Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         This matter is before the Court upon Vicente Thomas Sandoval's Habeas Corpus Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Petition). (Doc. 1). Also before the Court is his Motion to Appoint Counsel (Motion). (Doc. 6). Sandoval is an inmate at the Lea County Correctional Facility (LCCF) and is proceeding pro se. He asks the Court to vacate his state sentence for first degree murder. After reviewing the matter sua sponte under Habeas Corpus Rule 4, the Court will dismiss the Petition as untimely and deny the Motion.

         I. Background

         On March 30, 2004, Sandoval pled no contest to first degree murder in violation of N.M.S.A. 1978 § 30-2-1(A). (Doc. 1) at 1; Change of Plea Hearing entry in No. D-1215-CR-2003-00160.[1] The state court sentenced him to life imprisonment. (Doc. 1) at 1. Judgment on his conviction and sentence was entered April 19, 2004. Id.; CLS: Judgment/ Sentence/Commitment in No. D-1215-CR-2003-00160. Sandoval did not file an appeal. (Doc. 1) at 2. The Judgment therefore became final no later than May 20, 2004, after the expiration of the 30-day appeal period. See Locke v. Saffle, 237 F.3d 1269, 1273 (10th Cir. 2001) (explaining petitioner's judgment becomes final for purposes of § 2254 when time for seeking state appellate review expires); NMRA, Rule 12-201 (providing that notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days after entry of judgment).

         There was no activity in Sandoval's criminal case for about six years. On February 25, 2010, he began filing state habeas petitions. (Doc. 1) at 2; Habeas Corpus Petition in No. D-1215-CR-2003-00160. The various state habeas proceedings continued until March 28, 2018, when the New Mexico Supreme Court denied his petition for writ of certiorari. (Doc. 1) at 6; Order entered in No. S-1-SC-34242.

         Sandoval filed the federal § 2254 Petition on May 11, 2018. (Doc. 1). The petition raises claims based on, inter alia, ineffective assistance of counsel and due process violations. (Doc. 1) at 5, 7.

         II. Discussion

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”) establishes a one-year limitation period for habeas corpus petitions. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). The limitation period generally begins to run from the date on which a prisoner's conviction becomes final. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A). The one-year period can be extended:

(1) While a properly filed state habeas petition is pending, § 2244(d)(2);
(2) Where unconstitutional state action has impeded the filing of a federal habeas petition, § 2244(d)(1)(B);
(3) Where a new constitutional right has been recognized by the Supreme Court, § 2244(d)(1)(C); or
(4) Where the factual basis for the claim could not have been discovered until later, § 2244(d)(1)(D).

         Because AEDPA's one-year limitation period is not jurisdictional, the period may be extended through equitable tolling. See Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 645 (2010).

         By a Memorandum Opinion and Order entered March 24, 2018, the Court directed Sandoval to show cause why his Section 2254 petition should not be dismissed as untimely. (Doc. 3). The petition reflects the one-year limitation period expired in May, 2005, about 13 years before Sandoval filed his federal habeas petition on May 11, 2018. In his show-cause response, Sandoval argues the untimely petition should not be dismissed based on 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and Fed. R. Crim. P. 52. (Doc. 12) at 1-3. He also invokes the “miscarriage of justice” exception to the one-year limitation period. Id.

         A. Tolling Based on 28 U.S.C. ยง 1291 and ...


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