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Engel v. Clarke

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

May 23, 2014

BRIAN P. ENGEL, Petitioner,
v.
HAROLD CLARKE, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES R. SPENCER, Senior District Judge.

Brian P. Engel, a Virginia state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition, " ECF No. 13). Respondent moves to dismiss on the ground that the one-year statute of limitations governing federal habeas petitions bars the § 2254 Petition. Engel has responded. The matter is ripe for disposition.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

A. State Proceedings

After an Alford [1] plea, the Circuit Court for the County of Southampton, Virginia ("Circuit Court") entered final judgment against Engel for two counts of forcible sodomy and two counts of animate object sexual penetration. On September 10, 2009, the Circuit Court sentenced Engel to an active term of sixteen years of incarceration. Commonwealth v. Engel, Nos. CR08000405-00, CR08000410-00, CR08000412-00, and CR08000413-00, at 1-5 (Va. Cir. Ct. Sept. 10, 2009). Engel filed no appeal.

On September 28, 2009, Engel wrote a letter to the Circuit Court judge asking for a sentence reduction. On October 1, 2009, the Circuit Court judge explained in response that "the Judges of this Court will take no action whatsoever in response to any ex pane communications." Letter 1, Commonwealth v. Engel, Nos. CR08000405-00, CR08000410-00, CR08000412-00, and CR08000413-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. Oct. 1, 2009).

On March 30, 2010, Engel filed a subsequent letter motion for a sentence reduction and copied the Commonwealth's Attorney. Letter 1-2, Commonwealth v. Engel, Nos. CR08000405-00, CR08000410-00, CR08000412-00, and CR08000413-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. March 30, 2010). The Circuit Court denied the motion on the merits on April 2, 2010. Commonwealth v. Engel, Nos. CR08000405-00, CR08000410-00, CR08000412-00, and CR08000413-00 (Va. Cir. Ct. Apr. 2, 2010).

On April 18, 2011, Engel filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia. Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus 1, Engel v. Dir. of the Va. Dep't of Corr., No. 110717 (Va. filed Apr. 18, 2011) ("First Habeas Petition"). On October 12, 2011, the Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed the petition on the merits. Engel v. Dir. of the Va. Dep't of Corr., No. 110717, at 1-2 (Va. Oct. 12, 2011).

On January 17, 2012, Engel filed a second petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court of Virginia. Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus 1, Engel v. Dir. of the Va. Dep't of Corr., No. 120088 (Va. filed Jan. 17, 2012) ("Second Habeas Petition"). On March 1, 2012, the Supreme Court of Virginia denied the petition as untimely. Engel v. Dir. of the Va. Dep't of Corr., No. 120088, at I (Va. Mar. 1, 2012). On March 26, 2012, Engel filed a petition for rehearing, Petition for Rehearing 1, Engel v. Dir. of the Va. Dep't of Corr, No. 120088 (Va. filed Mar. 26, 2012), and the Supreme Court of Virginia denied the petition on April 26, 2012. Engel v. Dir. of the Va. Dep't of Corr., No. 120088, at 1 (Va. Apr. 26, 2012).

B. Federal Habeas Petition

On August 10, 2012, Engel filed the present § 2254 Petition in this Court. (§ 2254 Pet. 13)[2] In his § 2254 Petition, Engel contends:

[3]

II. ANALYSIS

A. Statute of Limitations

Respondent contends that the federal statute of limitations bars Engel's claims. Section 101 of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") amended 28 U.S.C. § 2244 to establish a one-year period of limitation for the filing of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court. Specifically, 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) now reads:

1. A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the latest of-
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the ...

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