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Sirleaf v. Pearson

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

January 7, 2019

MOMOLU V.S. SIRLEAF, JR, Petitioner,
v.
EDDIE PEARSON, WARDEN, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         Momolu V.S. Sirleaf, Jr., a Virginia state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition," ECF No. 13) challenging his conviction in the Circuit Court for the City of Alexandria, Virginia ("Circuit Court"). On September 26, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation wherein he recommended denying the § 2254 Petition as untimely. (ECF No. 31.) The Court advised Sirleaf that he could file objections within fourteen (14) days after the entry of the Report and Recommendation. After receiving two extensions of time, on November 28, 2018, the Court received a ninety-four-page, rambling, document labeled, "§1:14 Allegation - Claim arising under treaty [28 USCA 1331; Fed R Civ P 8(a)(1)]." (ECF No. 37 (alteration in original).) The Court construes this submission as Sirleaf s Objections to the Report and Recommendation. For the reasons that follow, Sirleaf s Objections will be OVERRULED, and his § 2254 Petition will be DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Magistrate Judge made the following findings and recommendations:

         A. Procedural History

         1. Criminal Proceedings

         On December 3, 2003, pursuant to a guilty plea, Sirleaf was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced by the Circuit Court to twenty years of incarceration. Commonwealth v. Sirleaf, No. CF030455, at 1-2 (Va. Cir. Ct. Dec. 5, 2003). The Circuit Court entered final judgment on December 5, 2003. Id. Sirleaf did not file an appeal.

         2. State Habeas Proceedings

         On December 2, 2004, Sirleaf filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Circuit Court. Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus 1, Sirleaf v. Commonwealth, No. CL04001762 (Va. Cir. Ct. Dec. 2, 2004). On April 4, 2005, the Circuit Court denied the petition for writ of habeas corpus. Sirleaf v. Commonwealth, No. CL04001762, at 11 (Va. Cir. Ct. Apr. 4, 2005). Sirleaf sought no further review in the state courts of his conviction and sentence.

         3. § 2254 Petition

         On August 18, 2017, Sirleaf filed a standardized form for filing a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (ECF No. 1, at 37.)[1] By Memorandum Order entered on October 6, 2017, the Court directed Sirleaf to identify which judgment he challenged and to complete and return either the standardized form for filing a 28 U.S.C. § 2241 petition or the standardized form for filing a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition. Sirleaf filed the standardized form for filing a § 2241 petition, but the § 2241 petition failed to correct any of the deficiencies identified by the Court in its October 6, 2017 Memorandum Order. Despite filing a § 2241 petition, it appeared that Sirleaf intended to challenge his state conviction. By Memorandum Order entered on December 4, 2017, the Court directed Sirleaf to show good cause as to why this action should proceed as a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, and not as a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Instead of filing a response to the show cause order, Sirleaf filed what appeared to be a completed standardized form for filing a § 2254 petition based on the Court's cursory initial review. (ECF No. 13.) Accordingly, by Memorandum Order entered on January 26, 2018, the Court explained that "the action proceeds solely on this § 2254 petition (ECF No. 13), and it SUPPLANTS all previously filed petitions." (ECF No. 15, at 1.)

         Upon further review of the § 2254 Petition, it appears that Sirleaf filled out the first few pages of the standardized form for filing a § 2254 petition and then simply inserted old pages from one of the versions of the § 2241 petition he filed previously. (See ECF No. 13, at 4-14.) Sirleaf s ongoing non-compliance with the Court's directives standing alone warrants dismissal of this action. Nevertheless, because the § 2254 Petition is clearly untimely, the Court continues with its review of the § 2254 Petition. In his § 2254 Petition, Sirleaf asserts the following claim for relief:[2]

Claim One: "Violation of Vienna Convention Consular Relations... 5th, 6th, [and] 14th Amendment violations." (§ 2254 Pet. 5.)
Claim Two: "Ineffective Assistance of Counsel" (Id. at 7.)
Claim Three: "Petitioner held in violation of U.S. Treaty" (Id. at 8.)
Claim Four: "Petitioner held in violation of U.S. Treaty...." (Id. at 10.)[3]

         Respondent moves to dismiss (ECF No. 26) on the ground that Sirleaf s § 2254 Petition is barred by the one-year statute of limitations and should be dismissed.

         B. Statute of Limitations

          Respondent contends that the federal statute of limitations bars Sirleaf 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 time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made ...

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