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Parker v. Roeckeman

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 14, 2014

CHRISTOPHER L. PARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
ZACH ROECKEMAN, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DAVID R. HERNDON, Chief District Judge.

Petitioner Christopher L. Parker pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual assault in Illinois state court and was sentenced to five years and three months' imprisonment and mandatory supervised release ("MSR") of three years to life. It appears that Parker was scheduled to be released from prison to MSR on September 11, 2012, however, he was not actually released from prison because he lacked an appropriate host site to serve his MSR ( See Doc. 47-1). Parker is serving his term of MSR in custody and remains incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center.

Parker filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging the constitutionality of his conviction and sentence, as well as his continued confinement. Currently before the Court is respondent Zach Roeckeman's motion to dismiss the petition (Doc. 36). Respondent argues that Parker's petition must be dismissed because the first two claims are untimely under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) and the third claim is unexhausted under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b). For the reasons stated below, respondent's motion to dismiss is GRANTED and the Petition is DISMISSED.

I. BACKGROUND

Petitioner Christopher L. Parker was charged by information in October 2007 in the Circuit Court of Jersey County, Illinois with two counts of criminal sexual assault, one count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, and one count of criminal sexual abuse (Doc. 36-1, p. 1). He initially pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual assault in January 2008 and he was sentenced (Doc. 36-1, p. 9, 24). During post-conviction proceedings, Parker was permitted to withdraw his guilty plea, his sentence was vacated, and all charges were reinstated ( See Doc. 36-2, p. 43). In June 2009, Parker again pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual assault, and he was sentenced to five years and three months in the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") and MSR of three years to life (Doc. 36-2, pp. 57-58).

Following his conviction and sentencing in June 2009, Parker did not file a timely motion to withdraw his plea of guilty nor did he directly appeal his conviction. On June 29, 2010 Parker filed a post-conviction petition in Jersey County Circuit Court (Doc. 36-4, p. 60). It was denied on July 13, 2010 and Parker appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court (Doc. 36-4, pp. 46-48; Doc. 36-3, p. 58). Parker later sought to voluntarily dismiss the appeal, and his request was granted on April 1, 2011(Doc. 9-3, p. 96). Throughout 2010 and 2011, Parker filed various other documents in the Jersey County Circuit Court, including another post-conviction petition, a motion to reconsider his post-conviction petition, a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, and a motion for relief from judgment ( See Doc. 36-4, pp. 59-61). All of these motions and petitions were denied ( See id. ). Parker appealed the denial of two of the motions, however, he later voluntarily dismissed each appeal ( See id. ). In November 2012, Parker filed a motion for leave to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Illinois Supreme Court, which was also denied ( See Doc. 36-6, pp. 23-24).

Parker filed his federal habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on February 28, 2013 (Doc. 1). In his original petition, Parker raised only one issue: that the statutorily imposed term of mandatory supervised release was unconstitutional ("Claim one") (Docs. 1, 8). Parker was granted leave to amend his petition to add a second claim: that his constitutional rights were violated when he was questioned outside the presence of a parent, legal guardian, or lawyer because he was only 17 years old ("Claim two") (Docs. 24, 29). Parker was then granted leave to amend his petition to add a third claim: that his constitutional rights are being violated by being forced to serve his term of mandatory supervised release in prison because he cannot provide a suitable host site for his release ("Claim three") (Docs. 33, 40).

II. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

The Anti-Terrorism and Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") allows a district court to issue a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to a state court judgment "only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Before a district court can address the substantive merits of a federal habeas petition, however, there are a number of a number of procedural hurdles imposed by AEDPA that the state prisoner must clear. Pertinent to this matter, AEDPA created a one-year limitations period for filing an application for a writ of habeas corpus. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). AEDPA also mandated that a state habeas petitioner must exhaust his state court remedies before pursuing his claims in federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b).

B. Claims 1 & 2 Are Time Barred

The one-year limitation period generally begins to run from "the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review." 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A). In Illinois, the conviction of a defendant who pleads guilty becomes final thirty days after the sentence was imposed unless the defendant files a motion to reconsider the sentence or a motion to withdraw the plea and vacate the sentence. ILL. S.Ct. RULE 604(d).

Here, Parker pleaded guilty on June 24, 2009. In the thirty days that followed, he did not move to reconsider his sentence or withdraw his plea, and he did not file a direct appeal. Therefore, his conviction became final on July 24, 2009 when his time to do so expired. The clock on the one-year limitation period under 2244(d)(1)(A) began to run that same day. On June 29, 2010, Parker filed a post-conviction petition and, assuming that it was properly filed, stopped the limitations clock. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2) ("The time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction... is pending shall not be counted toward any period of limitation....") The trial court denied Parker's post-conviction petition, and Parker appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court. When Parker's appeal was dismissed on April 1, 2011, the limitations clock started to run again. At this point, Parker had 26 days-until April 27, 2011-to file a federal habeas petition seeking to challenge his conviction.[1] Parker's federal habeas petition was not filed until February 28, 2013, almost two years after the deadline had passed. Therefore, Parker's § 2254 petition is time-barred under § 2244(d)(1)(A) and must be dismissed.

Parker appears to argue that § 2244(d)(1)(A) does not define the beginning of his limitations period with respect to Claim 1 because the later start date under subsection D applies. Under § 2244(d)(1)(D), the limitations clock begins to run on "the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence." 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(D). Parker argues that People v. Rinehart, 962 N.E.2d 444 (Ill. 2012) issued by the Illinois Supreme Court in January 2012 triggered a new one-year limitations period (Docs. 39, 47). In order to understand Parker's argument, a bit of background information is necessary. Under Illinois law, the term of MSR for individuals convicted of certain sex offenses "shall range from a minimum of 3 years to a maximum of the natural life of the defendant." 730 ILL. COMP. STAT. 5/5-8-1(d)(4). In Rinehart, the Illinois Supreme Court concluded that the language of the statute contemplated, and trial courts must impose, an indeterminate MSR term of three years to natural life for convicted sex offenders, as opposed to a determinate term within that range. 962 N.E.2d at 452-54. Parker claims that as a result of Rinehart, the ultimate term of supervision is determined by the ...


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