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U.S. EX REL CAFFEY v. BRILEY

May 15, 2003

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL. ALLEN CAFFEY (#B-42191), PETITIONER,
v.
KENNETH R. BRILEY, WARDEN, STATEVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, United States District Court Judge.

MEMORANDUM, OPINION, AND ORDER

Petitioner Allen Caffey, through counsel, brings this Motion for Reconsideration pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) asking the Court to reconsider its February 11, 2003, order dismissing Caffey's pro se habeas petition with prejudice. For the following reasons, Caffey's Motion for Reconsideration is denied.

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

This case was reassigned from Judge John W. Darrah to this Court on August 30, 2002. Prior to reassignment, petitioner's attorney made an appearance at a status hearing before Judge Darrah. Judge Darrah continued the status bearing to October 8, 2002, and also gave petitioner leave to file an amended petition on or before October 8, 2002. After the case was reassigned, Judge Darrah struck the status hearing set for October 8, 2002, Judge Darrah, however, did not strike the October 8, 2002 deadline for petitioner to file his amended petition.

Although counsel asserts that he thought the Court was going to hold a status hearing, he does not explain why he did not file an amended petition on or before October 8, 2002 as previously directed. Instead, counsel states that he wanted to file a response to the State's motion to dismiss. Nevertheless, counsel did not inform this Court of his intentions, did not file a response to the State's motion, did not request a status hearing and did not file an amended petition.

In the February 11, 2003 order, the Court granted the State's motion to dismiss Caffey's habeas petition because Caffey did not file his petition within the one-year limitations period pursuant to 28 U.SC. § 2244(d)(1)(A). The Court concluded that Caffey's second post-conviction petition pursuant to the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act was not properly filed, and thus, the time during the pendency of this petition did not toll the federal habeas limitations period. See Gray v. Briley, 305 F.3d 777, 778-79 (7th Cir. 2002) (only properly filed Illinois post-conviction petitions toll federal habeas statute of limitations).

In his Motion for Reconsideration, Caffey argues that the Court erred in its conclusion that his claims were time-barred under the statute of limitations of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA).

II. DISCUSSION

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(c) serves the limited function of allowing courts to correct manifest errors of law or fact or consider newly discovered material evidence. See Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Rd. of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000); see also Oto v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000) (manifest error is the wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent). Rule 59(e) enables the district court to correct its own errors thereby avoiding unnecessary appellate procedures. See Moro v. Shell Oil Co., 91 F.3d 872, 876 (7th Cir. 1996). However, Rule 59(c) "does not provide a vehicle for a party to undo its own procedural failures, and it certainly does not allow a party to introduce new evidence or advance arguments that could and should have been presented to the district court prior to the judgment" Id. Whether to grant a Rule 59(e) motion "is entrusted to the sound judgment of the district court." Matter of Prince, 85 F.3d 314, 324 (7th Cir. 1996).

A habeas petitioner seeking collateral relief from the federal courts must file his federal habeas petition within one year 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 retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2244 (d)(1); Owens v. Boyd, 235 F.3d 356, 357 (7th Cir. 2001).

In his Motion for Reconsideration, Caffey claims that he has newly discovered evidence of his actual innocence.*fn1 Caffey argues that the one-year limitations period began to run on the date of his possessing the evidence of his actual innocence under to § 2244(d)(1)(D). Caffey, therefore, contends that § 2244(d)(1)(D) triggered a new limitations period, and thus, the days that were not tolled during his second post-conviction petition are irrelevant.

Caffey also argues that petitioner's pro se response to the State's motion to dismiss raised a basis for consideration of his habeas petition's merits, as well. Although counsel does not explain what that basis is, reading Caffey's pro se response liberally, see Calhoun v. DeTella, 319 F.3d 936, 943 (7th Cir. 2003), Caffey acknowledged the State's argument that his petition was time-barred. Caffey then claimed he had newly discovered evidence of his actual innocence. Accordingly, this Court will also address whether Caffey's claim of actual innocence provides a gateway allowing this court to reach the merits of Caffey's time-barred habeas petition. See Wyzkowski v. Department ...


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