United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JOSE L. LINARES, District Judge.
Petitioner Jermaine Bryant ("Petitioner"), a prisoner currently confined at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, New Jersey, has submitted a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss the Petition as untimely.
In 1994, Petitioner was found guilty by a jury of purposeful or knowing murder, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(a)(1) and (2); aggravated assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1); and other related offenses. State v. Bryant, 2011 WL 2369463, at *1 (N.J.Super. Ct. A.D. June 16, 2011). The trial court sentenced Petitioner to life imprisonment, with thirty years of parole ineligibility, for murder, and a consecutive ten-year term, with five years of parole ineligibility, for aggravated assault. Id. The Appellate Division affirmed the convictions and sentence in a published opinion. State v. Bryant, 671 A.2d 1058 (N.J.Super. Ct. A.D. 1996). The New Jersey Supreme Court denied the petition for certification on May 23, 1996. 677 A.2d 761 (N.J. 1996).
On September 15, 1997, Petitioner filed his first petition for post-conviction relief ("PCR"). (Resp'ts' Br., Ex. 5, 1st PCR Pet.) After the trial court denied the petition, the Appellate Division affirmed that denial, State v. Bryant, No. A-3571-99 (Mar. 6, 2001), and the New Jersey Supreme Court denied the petition for certification, State v. Bryant, 782 A.2d 424 (N.J. 2001). On October 6, 2005, and April 24, 2006, Petitioner filed additional post-conviction relief petitions, which the trial court denied by order of July 25, 2006. Bryant, 2011 WL 2369463, at *1. Petitioner did not appeal from the denial of those petitions. Id. On August 8, 2006, Petitioner filed another petition for post-conviction relief, which the trial court denied on October 13, 2006. Id. The Appellate Division affirmed that denial, State v. Bryant, 2007 WL 4356607 (N.J.Super. Ct. A.D. Dec. 14, 2007), and the New Jersey Supreme Court denied the petition for certification, State v. Bryant, 944 A.2d 31 (N.J. 2008).
On January 11, 2007, Petitioner moved for a new juvenile waiver hearing, claiming newly discovered evidence, which the trial court also denied. Bryant, 2011 WL 2369463, at *1. The Appellate Division affirmed that denial in an unpublished opinion. State v. Bryant, 2008 WL 4329891 (N.J.Super. Ct. A.D. Sept. 24, 2008). The New Jersey Supreme Court denied the petition for certification. State v. Bryant, 966 A.2d 1077 (N.J. 2009). On August 4, 2009, Petitioner filed another petition for post-conviction relief, which was denied by the trial court and said denial affirmed by the Appellate Division. Bryant, 2011 WL 2369463, at *1. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied the petition for certification. State v. Bryant, 35 A.3d 681 (N.J. 2012).
Petitioner filed the instant habeas petition on February 8, 2012. (Pet., ECF No. 1.) After receiving notice pursuant to Mason v. Meyers, 208 F.3d 414 (3d Cir. 2000) (ECF No. 4), Petitioner indicated that he wished to proceed with his petition "as-is" (ECF No. 5) and the Court entered an Order to Answer (ECF No. 9). Respondents filed their Answer on April 1, 2013. (ECF Nos. 19-20) and Petitioner filed a reply (ECF No. 21).
The State asserts that this habeas petition is time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d), which states in relevant part:
(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to a 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 toward any period of limitation under this subsection.
Pursuant to § 2244(d), evaluation of the timeliness of a § 2254 petition requires a determination of, first, when the pertinent judgment became "final, " and, second, the period of time during which an application for state post-conviction relief was "properly filed" and "pending." The judgment is determined to be final by the conclusion of direct review, or the expiration of time for seeking such review, including the ninety-day period for filing a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. See Gonzalez v. Thaler, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 641, 653-54, 181 L.Ed.2d 619 (2012). The statute of limitations is ...