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Green v. Sheehan

United States District Court, W.D. New York

January 30, 2014

DARNELL GREEN, Petitioner,
v.
MICHAEL SHEEHAN, Respondent.

DECISION AND ORDER

MICHAEL A. TELESCA, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Pro se petitioner Darnell Green ("Green" or "Petitioner") seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254 on the basis that he is being held in Respondent's custody in violation of his federal constitutional rights. Green is incarcerated pursuant to a judgment entered against him on February 7, 2007, in New York State Supreme Court (Erie County) following a jury verdict convicting him on one count of Manslaughter in the First Degree (N.Y. Penal Law § 125.20).

II. Factual Background Procedural History

On April 12, 2006, in the City of Buffalo, four individuals saw Petitioner charge at his father, Gary Green, and strike him with his hand. Two of the eyewitnesses were Petitioner's brothers. Although none of the eyewitnesses observed a knife in Petitioner's hands, they immediately saw Gary Green fall to the ground and start bleeding. Petitioner admitted to police that a knife found at the scene with Gary Green's blood on the blade belonged to him. The major DNA profile on the knife handle matched Petitioner's DNA profile.

When Petitioner's brother, Carl Green, asked why he had stabbed their father, Petitioner replied, "He got what the fuck he deserved. Get the fuck out of my face before I stab you." T.806. Petitioner initially told the police that although he had been present at the scene, he did not stab anybody, surmising instead that his father must have cut himself on some glass. T.622-27. When the police told him that he was being charged with murdering his father, Petitioner stated, "I didn't mean to hurt anybody." T.730.

Petitioner was charged with murder in the second degree (N.Y. Penal Law § 125.25(1)). After a jury trial, he was acquitted of murder but found guilty of the lesser included offense of manslaughter in the first degree. He was sentenced to a determinate term of 20 years in prison to be followed by 5 years of post-release supervision.

Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on direct appeal in 2009. He did not file the instant habeas petition until 2012. Respondent answered the petition, asserting that it is untimely and that Petitioner is not entitled to equitable tolling of the statute of limitations. Respondent argues, in the alternative, that all of Petitioner's claims lack merit. Petitioner asserts that his mental health issues and low intelligence quotient ("I.Q.") entitle him to equitable tolling.

For the reasons that follow, the Court finds that the petition is untimely and that Petitioner is not entitled to equitable tolling. Accordingly, the request for a writ of habeas corpus is denied, and the petition is dismissed.

III. Timeliness of the Petition

A. Timeliness Calculation and Statutory Tolling

Title I of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), Pub. L. No. 104-132, § 101, 110 Stat. 1214, 1217 (codified at 28 U.S.C. § 2244), imposes a one-year time limit for filing habeas petitions. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A)-(D). The statute of limitations runs from the latest of the following four events:

(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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