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Farmer v. Booker

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

July 23, 2019

DON FARMER, Petitioner,
v.
BERNARD BOOKER, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JOHN A. GIBNEY, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Don Farmer, a Virginia state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition," ECF No. 1), challenging his convictions in the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, Virginia (hereinafter, "Circuit Court"). Respondent moves to dismiss on the ground that the one-year statute of limitations governing federal habeas petitions bars the § 2254 Petition. Farmer has responded. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 7) will be GRANTED.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In 1988, Lorenzo Williams was convicted of "the 1987 murder of Eathel Fraenzel ('the grandmother'), rape of P.F., and statutory burglary and robbery of P.F. or the grandmother or both." Farmer v. Commonwealth, 737 S.E.2d 32, 34 (Va. Ct. App. 2013). Williams's "accomplice remained at large until Farmer was identified through DNA evidence in 2010." Id. Thereafter, Farmer also was convicted of murder, rape, statutory burglary, and robbery in the Circuit Court. Id. Farmer appealed. On January 29, 2013, the Court of Appeals of Virginia affirmed his conviction. Id. On July 19, 2013, the Supreme Court of Virginia refused Farmer's petition for appeal. Farmer v. Commonwealth, No. 130379 (Va. July 19, 2013).

         On June 26, 2014, Farmer, with counsel, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Circuit Court. Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus 1, Farmer v. Barksdale, No. CL14-25 86 (Va. Cir. Ct. filed June 26, 2014). In that petition, Farmer claimed that he was entitled to relief because he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Id. at 5. Specifically, Farmer asserted that his trial counsel failed to inform him of a plea offer made by the prosecution after trial, but before sentencing. Id. at 4-5. On November 21, 2017, the Circuit Court denied Farmer's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Farmer v. Barksdale, No. CL14-2586, at 23-24 (Va. Cir. Ct. Nov. 21, 2017).

         On April 19, 2018, Farmer filed an untimely notice of appeal with the Circuit Court and requested an extension of time with respect to his untimely appeal. Notice of Appeal 1, Farmer v. Barksdale, No. CL14-2586 (Va. Cir. Ct. filed April 19, 2018); Letter 1, Farmer v. Barksdale, No. CL14-2586 (Va. Cir. Ct. filed April 19, 2018). On May 1, 2018, the Supreme Court of Virginia denied Farmer's request for an extension of time. Farmer v. Barksdale, (Va. May 1, 2018). On July 10, 2018, Farmer filed a Motion for an Extension of Time to Appeal with the Supreme Court of Virginia. Motion for Extension of Time 1, Farmer v. Barksdale, (Va. filed July 10, 2018). The Supreme Court of Virginia took no action on that motion.

         On October 12, 2018, Farmer filed his § 2254 Petition with this Court.[1] In his § 2254 Petition, Farmer contends that he is entitled to relief upon the following grounds:[2]

Claim One Farmer's indictments should have been quashed because the prosecutor had previously maintained that another individual committed the crimes. (§ 2254 Pet. 23.)
Claim Two "The Due Process Clause prohibits prosecuting Farmer and Williams under inconsistent theories of who committed the rape." (Id. at 24.)
Claim Three Insufficient evidence existed to convict Farmer of any crime. (Id. at 26.)
Claim Four Farmer failed to receive the effective assistance of counsel because trial counsel failed to inform Farmer of a plea offer made by the prosecution prior to sentencing. (Id. at 42.)

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Statute of Limitations

          Respondent contends that the federal statute of limitations bars Farmer'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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