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Scott v. Warden, Graham Correctional Center

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 19, 2019

KEVIN M. SCOTT, # R-21871, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN, GRAHAM CORRECTIONAL CENTER, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on Respondent’s Motion to Dismiss the habeas corpus Petition as untimely. (Doc. 7). Petitioner Kevin M. Scott, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at Graham Correctional Center, filed his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his 2008 Madison County, Illinois conviction for murder and kidnapping on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. (Doc. 1).

         Scott’s response to the Motion to Dismiss raises the question of whether he is entitled to equitable tolling of the one-year filing deadline for his Petition. (Doc. 9, pp. 1, 3, 6, 10). In an Order issued on February 1, 2019 (Doc. 10), the Court determined that Scott’s Petition was filed beyond the one-year time limit set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). However, the Court reserved ruling on the Motion to Dismiss and ordered Scott to supplement his response with documentation supporting his claims that his limited access to the law library during lockdowns and/or his mental impairment support equitable tolling in this case. (Doc. 10).

         Scott has submitted supplemental responses to the Motion (Docs. 22 and 26). Additionally, Respondent has provided lockdown records from Scott’s confinement at Menard Correctional Center (Doc. 16). Based on a thorough review of this information, the Motion to Dismiss the Petition as untimely will be granted.

         Relevant Facts

         Scott is serving consecutive sentences of 34 years for first degree murder and 7 years for kidnapping, imposed after a bench trial in Madison County, Illinois Case Number 07-CF-541. The victim was beaten three times by three or four people. Scott was identified as having participated in the beatings and in transporting the victim from Alton, Illinois, to Wellston, Missouri against his will. (Doc. 1, pp. 30-37; Doc. 7, p. 1). The victim’s body was found in Wellston.[1]

         Scott was sentenced on December 16, 2008, and his conviction and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal on August 12, 2011. (Doc. 7-1). Scott’s Petition for Leave to Appeal (“PLA”) to the Illinois Supreme Court was denied on November 30, 2011. People v. Scott, No. 113166, 962 N.E.2d 487 (Ill. 2011) (Table).

         Scott filed a post-conviction petition on August 14, 2012. (Doc. 7-3, p. 25). The trial court denied relief, and the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed. (Doc. 1, p. 19). The Illinois Supreme Court denied Scott’s PLA on November 22, 2017, and the Supreme Court denied certiorari on June 4, 2018. (Doc. 1, pp. 29, 61).

         Scott filed the instant Habeas Petition on June 24, 2018. (Doc. 1, p. 18). It was docketed by the Clerk of Court on July 2, 2018, but under the prison mailbox rule, the Petition was considered filed as of the date Scott placed it in the prison mailing system. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988); Edwards v. United States, 266 F.3d 756, 758 (7th Cir. 2001).

         Applicable Legal Standards

         28 U.S.C. § 2244 creates a one-year limitation period for filing a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. Specifically, under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1), a person convicted in state court must file his federal habeas petition within one year of 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 ...

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