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Gibbs v. Goodwin

May 1, 2009

RICHARD GIBBS, PETITIONER,
v.
BERNARD GOODWIN, ET. AL., RESPONDENTS.



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

OPINION

This matter is before the Court on petitioner Richard Gibbs' petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in which he is challenging his 1998 New Jersey state court conviction and sentence. For reasons discussed below, it appears from review of the petition papers provided by petitioner that his § 2254 habeas petition is subject to dismissal as time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).*fn1

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Petitioner, Richard Gibbs ("Gibbs"), filed a petition for habeas corpus relief on or about March 1, 2009.*fn2 According to the allegations contained in his petition, Gibbs was convicted, on or about July 16, 1998, pursuant to a guilty plea to charges of first degree aggravated sexual assault, second degree sexual assault, and second degree endangering the welfare of a child, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County. Gibbs was sentenced to 45 years in prison with a 15-year parole disqualifier.

Gibbs filed a direct appeal from his conviction and sentence to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division. On February 6, 2001, the Appellate Division affirmed the conviction, but remanded the matter with respect to the consecutive sentencing. On July 24, 2002, the trial court conducted a remand hearing and imposed the same sentence on August 12, 2002. Gibbs appealed again, and the Appellate Division affirmed the trial court's sentence on July 10, 2003. Gibbs filed a petition for certification with the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which was denied on January 21, 2004. The New Jersey Supreme Court also denied Gibbs' motion for reconsideration on April 26, 2004. Gibbs did not file a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States.

Gibbs then filed a petition for post-conviction relief ("PCR") in state court, asserting claims of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel, violation of his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, prosecutorial misconduct and judicial misconduct. The state PCR court denied the petition on June 27, 2006, without an evidentiary hearing. Gibbs states that he appealed from the denial of his PCR petition, but does not provide the date of the Appellate Division ruling. Petitioner also does not state whether he filed for a petition for certification with the Supreme Court of New Jersey, or the date certification was denied.

Gibbs filed this federal habeas petition on March 1, 2009.

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 time for seeking such review; ...

(2) 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 shall not be counted ...


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