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Witts v. Davis

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

December 17, 2013

AARON A. WITTS, Petitioner,
v.
KEITH W. DAVIS, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROBERT E. PAYNE, Senior District Judge.

Aaron Witts, a Virginia state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition"). Respondent moves to dismiss on the grounds that, inter alia, the one-year statute of limitations governing federal habeas petitions bars consideration of the § 2254 Petition. Witts has not responded. The matter is ripe for disposition.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A. State Proceedings

The Circuit Court of the City of Hampton, Virginia ("Circuit Court") convicted Witts of child abuse and aggravated malicious wounding and entered final judgment on May 4, 2006. Commonwealth v. Witts, No. 05-612, at 1 (Va. Cir. Ct. May 4, 2006). Witts appealed, and on June 25, 2007, the Supreme Court of Virginia ("Supreme Court") refused Witts's petition for appeal. Witts v. Commonwealth, No. 070363 (Va. June 25, 2007).

Witts filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court on June 23, 2008. Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus at 1, Witts v. Dir. of the Dep't of Corr., No. 081192 (Va. filed June 23, 2008). The Supreme Court dismissed the petition on December 3, 2008, Witts v. Dir. of the Dep't of Corr., No. 081192, at 10 (Va. Dec. 3, 2008), and denied Witts's petition for a rehearing on March 9, 2009. Witts v. Dir. of the Dep't of Corr., No. 081192, at 1 (Va. Mar. 9, 2009).

Witts subsequently filed a motion for a writ of coram vobis[1] in the Circuit Court on December 28, 2011. Motion for Writ of Coram Vobis, Witts v. Commonwealth, No. CL12-47-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. filed Dec. 28, 2011). The Circuit Court denied the motion on April 10, 2012. Witts v. Commonwealth, No. CL12-47, at 2 (Va. Cir. Ct. Apr. 10, 2012).

Witts filed another petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court on May 11, 2012. Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Witts v. Warden of Deerfield Corr. Ctr., No. 120844 (Va. filed May 11, 2012). The Supreme Court dismissed the petition on June 13, 2012 as, inter alia, untimely under Virginia Code § 8.01-654(A)(2)[2] Witts v. Warden of Deerfield Corr. Ctr., No. 120844, at 1 (Va. June 13, 2012).

B. Federal Habeas Petition

On August 1, 2012, Witts filed his § 2254 Petition in this Court[3] In his § 2254 Petition, Witts contends:

Claim One: The Circuit Court sentenced Witts for child abuse of his child when he was in fact trying to save her life.
Claim Two: The Circuit Court wrongfully convicted Witts of aggravated maiming;[4]
Claim Three: The Court of Appeals of Virginia erroneously denied Witts's appeal. Witts's attorney should have objected to the evidence at trial, including Witts's testimony in court. Two of the judges who heard Witts's appeal in the Court of Appeals of Virginia had no jurisdiction to do so, which violated Witts's right to a fair hearing on appeal;
Claim Four: The Circuit Court issued Witts's arrest warrant for a class four felony, which the sentencing guidelines recommend imposing a shorter sentence for than the sentence Witts received at trial, thereby violating Witts's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Witts's attorney's failure to inform the Circuit Court that Witts did not intend to harm his ...

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