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Helmlinger v. Adult Diagnostic & Treatment Center

January 9, 2008

CHARLES C. HELMLINGER, PETITIONER,
v.
ADULT DIAGNOSTIC & TREATMENT CENTER, ET. AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Pisano, District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the Court on pro se petitioner Charles C. Helmlinger's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For reasons discussed below, it appears from review of the state court record and petition papers provided by petitioner that the petition for habeas corpus relief is subject to dismissal as time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Pro se petitioner, Charles C. Helmlinger ("Helmlinger"), filed a petition for habeas corpus relief on or about June 28, 2007.*fn1 According to the allegations contained in his petition, Helmlinger was convicted on January 7, 1997, and was sentenced to an aggregate term of 40 years in prison. (Petition, Docket Entry 1 at page 4). This Court refers to the petitioner's brief submitted on appeal from a final order denying post-conviction relief ("PCR") of the Superior Court of New Jersey for the procedural history of this matter.*fn2 Helmlinger was charged in a Warren County Indictment on numerous counts of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor child with respect to five young victims. Before trial, petitioner's counsel moved to dismiss the indictment, which apparently was not successful. Trial was held from April 22, 1996 through June 13, 1996, before the Honorable John F. Kingfield, J.S.C. and a jury. Helmlinger was convicted on all but two counts of the indictment. On January 3, 1997, Judge Kingfield sentenced Helmlinger to an aggregate term of forty years in prison, with consecutive terms imposed on Counts One and Nine. Petitioner is subject to lifetime community supervision in accordance with Megan's Law.

Helmlinger promptly filed a direct appeal before the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. The Appellate Division affirmed the sentence and conviction in an opinion dated May 10, 1999. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on July 16, 1999.

On January 19, 2001, petitioner filed his state PCR petition. (41T 6:17).*fn3 The PCR petition was argued in a hearing conducted before the Honorable John H. Pursel, J.S.C. on December 16, 2002. Judge Pursel denied the PCR petition by Order entered on December 20, 2002. Helmlinger filed a Notice of Appeal from that Order on January 26, 2004. The Appellate Division affirmed denial of the PCR petition in an opinion entered on April 7, 2006. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on June 13, 2006.

Helmlinger filed this habeas petition on June 28, 2007.*fn4 (See this Opinion at fn. 1).

Based on the allegations in the petition and the record provided by petitioner, this Court will issue an Order to Show Cause directing petitioner Helmlinger to show cause in writing why his § 2254 habeas petition should not be dismissed as time-barred.*fn5

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A pro se pleading is held to less stringent standards than more formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A pro se habeas petition and any supporting submissions must be construed liberally and with a measure of tolerance. See Royce v. Hahn, 151 F.3d 116, 118 (3d Cir. 1998); Lewis v. Attorney General, 878 F.2d 714, 721-22 (3d Cir. 1989); United States v. Brierley, 414 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969), cert. denied, 399 U.S. 912 (1970).

III. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ANALYSIS

The limitation period for a § 2254 habeas petition is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d), which provides in pertinent part:

(1) A 1-year period of limitations shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation 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 ...


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