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Long v. Deep Meadow Correctional Center

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

July 16, 2018

TIMOTHY ADDISON LONG, Petitioner,
v.
DEEP MEADOW CORRECTIONAL CENTER, Respondent.

          OPINION

          John A. Gibney, Jr. United States District Judge

         Timothy Addison Long, a Virginia state prisoner, brings this petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition"). The respondent, Deep Meadow Correctional Center ("Deep Meadow"), moves to dismiss because the one-year statute of limitations governing federal habeas petitions bars the § 2254 Petition, and Long has procedurally defaulted on his claims. For the reasons that follow, the § 2254 Petition will be dismissed.

         I. FACTS

         Long worked as a police officer in Farmville, Virginia from 2002 to 2011. In 2011, he was diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD") following a particularly gruesome homicide that he investigated. On February 9, 2013, Long overdosed on his medication and mixed it with alcohol in an attempt to kill himself, and then set fire to his family home. When law enforcement arrived in response to the fire, he fired shots towards them. Long later told the police that he was aiming above them and did not intend to hurt them.

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A, State Proceedings

         On October 9, 2013, the Charlotte County Circuit Court convicted Long of arson, pursuant to his guilty plea. Although the sentencing guidelines recommended no incarceration, on January 6, 2014, the court sentenced Long to 25 years of imprisonment, with 15 years suspended. Long filed a motion to reconsider his sentence, which the court denied, but he did not appeal.

         On April 19, 2017, Long, by counsel, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus with the Supreme Court of Virginia. On October 6, 2017, the court found that the state petition was time-barred because the two-year period to file expired on January 6, 2016. See Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-654(A)(2) (providing that a habeas petition challenging a criminal sentence must be filed within two years from the date of the trial court's final judgment, or one year from the later of the final disposition of the direct appeal or the expiration of the time to appeal).

         B. Federal Habeas Petition

         On January 22, 2018, Long filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in this Court, challenging his arson conviction and sentence. Long claims (1) ineffective assistance of counsel, and (2) that his sentence is unconstitutional because it is grossly disproportionate to other sentences for the crime he committed.

         III. DISCUSSION[1]

         A. Statute of Limitations

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

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 ...

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