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United States ex rel Eason v. Gaetz

January 7, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL. FABIAN LAMONT EASON PETITIONER,
v.
DONALD GAETZ, WARDEN, MENARD CORRECTIONAL CENTER RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge David H. Coar

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Presently before this Court are Petitioner Fabian Lamont Eason's pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and Respondent's motion to dismiss this petition as time-barred. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that Petitioner's habeas petition is untimely and grants Respondent's motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

On September 2, 1999, Petitioner Fabian Lamont Eason ("Petitioner") was convicted of first-degree murder in the Circuit Court of Cook County. He was sentenced to forty-five years of imprisonment and is now in the custody of Respondent Donald Gaetz ("Respondent"), the acting warden of the Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois.

On direct appeal, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed Petitioner's conviction on November 13, 2001. Petitioner did not file a petition seeking leave to appeal ("PLA") from this decision. On October 21, 2002, Petitioner filed a post-conviction petition in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The trial court summarily dismissed this petition, but on appeal, the appellate court remanded for additional proceedings. Petitioner then filed a supplemental post-conviction petition, which was dismissed by the state trial court on June 28, 2005. The state appellate court affirmed this decision on February 20, 2008, and the state supreme court denied petitioner's PLA on May 29, 2008.

Petitioner then filed the instant habeas petition, which presents the following claims:

I. Petitioner's right to a fair trial was violated when the prosecutor made improper argument and improper cross-examination;

II. Petitioner's appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise claim one on direct appeal; and

III. Petitioner's trial counsel was ineffective for failing to question prospective jurors about gang bias.

Petitioner signed his habeas petition on January 14, 2009, though this Court did not receive and file the petition until May 19, 2009. The Court's docket entry noted that the prison mail room dated its receipt of the petition May 6, 2009, and the petition was postmarked May 14, 2009.

DISCUSSION

Respondent moves to dismiss the instant petition as time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Section 2244(d)(1) of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") imposes a one-year statute of limitations on petitions for habeas corpus relief filed by state prisoners under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Section 2244(d)(1) specifically provides that the limitations 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 ...


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