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Johnson v. Pearson

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

April 25, 2018

FRED LEE JOHNSON, Petitioner,
v.
EDDIE L. PEARSON, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JOHN A. GIBNEY JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Fred Lee Johnson, a Virginia state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition, " ECF No. 3) challenging his conviction in the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond, Virginia ("Circuit Court") for rape. Respondent moves to dismiss on the ground that, inter alia, the one-year statute of limitations governing federal habeas petitions bars the § 2254 Petition. (ECF No. 15.) Johnson has filed a Response. (ECF No. 20.) For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 15) will be GRANTED.

         I. PERTINENT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Johnson pled guilty to rape in the Circuit Court. See Commonwealth v. Johnson t CR06-F-1433-00, at 1 (Va. Cir. Ct. Aug. 16, 2006.) On August 16, 2006, the Circuit Court entered the final judgment with respect to this conviction and sentenced Johnson to an active term of imprisonment of thirteen years. Id. at 1-2. Johnson did not appeal.

         On November 7, 2006, Johnson filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the Supreme Court of Virginia. See Johnson v. Dir. of the Dep't Corr., No. 062264, at 1 (Va. Oct. 19, 2007). On October 19, 2007, the Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed the petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Id. at 1-2.

         On March 23, 2017, this Court received from Johnson a document titled, "INDEPENDENT ACTION TO VACATE GUILTY PLEA THROUGH EXTRINSIC FRAUD IN VIOLATION OF Va. Code Ann. (8.01-428D)." (ECF No. 1, at l.)[1] Johnson subsequently clarified his wish to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus and then filed the § 2254 Petition. (ECF No. 3.) In his § 2254 Petition, Johnson contends that he is entitled to relief because:

Claim One The victim provided two different statements with respect to the crime. (§ 2254 Pet. 5.)
Claim Two Counsel never formulated a plan on how to defend against the charges. (Id. at 7.)
Claim Three "Counsel never stated that penetration was an element of rape ...." (Id. at 8.)
Claim Four Counsel failed to withdraw after she passed Johnson's case along to another attorney. (Id. at 10.)

         Johnson also list a series of nine other "GROUNDS, " which are little more than sentence fragments. (Id. at 16.) For example, without further elaboration, Johnson states: "5] Failure to request necessary expert; 6] manifest-injustice; 7] extrinsic fraud" (Id. (punctuation added).)

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Statute of Limitations

         Respondent contends that the federal statute of limitations bars Johnson'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 ...


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