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Carpenter v. Douma

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

October 28, 2016

Ronald Marion Carpenter, Jr., Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
Timothy Douma, Respondent-Appellee.

          Argued September 8, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 14-CV-771 - J. P. Stadtmueller, Judge.

          Before Wood, Chief Judge, and Kanne and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.

          KANNE, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         A jury convicted Ronald Marion Carpenter, Jr. of kidnapping, false imprisonment, and several counts of sexual assault. Carpenter challenged his conviction on both direct and collateral review in Wisconsin state court. His conviction was affirmed, and his state petition for a writ of habeas corpus was denied.

         Carpenter then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. By the time he filed this federal petition, however, the one-year statutory limitation period had already passed. The district court dismissed Carpenter's petition as untimely. Carpenter does not dispute that his petition was untimely; instead, he argues that his delay should be equitably tolled and that we should hear the merits of his case. Because Carpenter has not met the standard for equitable tolling, we agree with the district court. We hold that Carpenter's petition is untimely and thus was properly denied.

         I. Background

         On August 27, 2008, a jury in Milwaukee County Circuit Court found Carpenter guilty of kidnapping, false imprisonment, four counts of second-degree sexual assault, and four counts of first-degree sexual assault. Carpenter was sentenced to fifty-nine years' imprisonment followed by twenty-four years of extended supervision. His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied Carpenter's petition for review.

         Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), "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." 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). This limitation period runs from the latest of several dates, only one of which is relevant to this case: "the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review." § 2244(d)(1)(A). This one-year period is statutorily tolled for the "time during which a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending ... ." § 2244(d)(2).

         Carpenter's conviction became final on January 27, 2012, when the period for seeking certiorari expired. Because Carpenter had filed a petition for a supervisory writ in the Wisconsin Supreme Court on November 4, 2011, and because that petition remained pending when his conviction became final, the one-year AEDPA limitations period was statutorily tolled until February 23, 2012, when the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected that petition. Carpenter's one-year window under AEDPA thus began on February 23, 2012.

         The statutory period was again tolled on October 18, 2012 -after running for 238 days-when Carpenter filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. The court denied that petition. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the denial of that petition on August 1, 2013, and the AEDPA period began to run again, leaving Carpenter with 127 days to file his habeas petition in federal court. Carpenter's window under AEDPA closed on December 6, 2013.

         Carpenter didn't file his petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Eastern District of Wisconsin until July 3, 2014, nearly seven months later. Carpenter does not dispute that the one-year limitations period under AEDPA expired before he filed his federal habeas corpus petition. Instead, he argues that his delay should be excused under the doctrine of equitable tolling.[1] The district court rejected that argument. This appeal followed.

         II. Analysis

         In some circumstances, the doctrine of equitable tolling permits a federal habeas petitioner to overcome a breach of AEDPA's one-year limitations period. Taylor v. Michael, 724 F.3d 806, 810 (7th Cir. 2013). Although not a "chimera-something that exists only in the imagination, " Socha v. Boughton,763 F.3d 674, 684 (7th Cir. 2014), equitable tolling is an extraordinary remedy that is "rarely granted." Obriecht v. Foster,727 F.3d 744, 748 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Simms v. Acevedo,595 F.3d 774, 781 (7th Cir. 2010)). A habeas petitioner is entitled to equitable tolling only if he shows "(1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and prevented timely filing." Holland v. Florida,560 U.S. 631, 649 (2010) (internal quotation marks omitted)). The habeas petitioner bears the burden of demonstrating both elements of the Holland test. Williams v. Buss,538 F.3d 683, 685 (7th Cir. 2008). If the petitioner cannot demonstrate either of the two elements, then equitable tolling will not be applied. Menominee Indian Tribe of ...


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