United States District Court, D. New Jersey
WILLIE E. HATCH, Petitioner,
NEW JERSEY SUPERIOR COURT, et al., Respondents. Appeal No. 17-1338 (3d Cir.)
E. Hatch, Petitioner pro se.
B. SIMANDLE, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Court dismissed Petitioner Willie E. Hatch's amended 28
U.S.C. § 2254 petition for a writ of habeas corpus as
time-barred on January 25, 2016. Dismissal Opinion and Order
[Docket Entries 11-12]. He filed a motion for
reconsideration, which the Court denied on March 23, 2016.
Opinion and Order Denying Reconsideration [Docket Entries
the Court now is Petitioner's motion to file an out of
time notice of appeal. Motion [Docket Entry 25]. For the
reasons stated herein, the motion is denied.
was tried before a jury and was convicted of first-degree
aggravated sexual assault, N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:14-2(a);
second-degree sexual assault, N.J. Stat. Ann. §
2C:14-2(c); and second-degree child endangerment, N.J. Stat.
Ann. § 2C:24-4(a), for acts committed against his
fourteen-year-old stepson. See State v. W.H., No.
A-0948-11, 2012 WL 6698694, at *1 ( N.J.Super.Ct.App.Div.
Dec. 27, 2012). His direct appeal concluded when the New
Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on January 20,
2009. State v. W.H., 963 A.2d 845 (N.J. 2009).
filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief
(“PCR”) in the state courts. The PCR court denied
the petition without an evidentiary hearing on March 7, 2011,
and the Appellate Division affirmed that court's
judgment. W.H., supra, No. A-0948-11. The New Jersey
Supreme Court denied certification on June 28, 2013.
State v. W.H., 67 A.3d 1192 (N.J. 2013). More than
20 months after exhaustion of his State PCR remedies,
Petitioner handed his § 2254 petition to prison
officials for mailing on March 14, 2015. Petition [Docket
Entry 1 at 16].
initial review of this petition, the Honorable Renée
Marie Bumb, U.S.D.J.,  noted that on its face, it appeared
the petition was untimely under the limitations period of 28
U.S.C. § 2244. Judge Bumb ordered Petitioner to submit a
written statement “asserting any basis upon which the
statute of limitations may properly be tolled or any facts
establishing that the statute of limitations did not expire
on or before June 29, 2014[.]” May 11, 2015 Order
[Docket Entry 3 at 2]. Petitioner did not comply with the
order, and on June 12, 2015, Judge Bumb administratively
terminated the proceedings in order to give Petitioner one
final chance to submit a written statement on timeliness.
June 12, 2015 Order, Docket Entry 5.
submitted an amended petition on July 15, 2015 arguing he
could not file a timely habeas petition because he was placed
into administrative segregation for 280 days and he
“had no way of knowing time sequences [sic] of filing
appeals.” Amended Petition at 23. After reviewing the
documents provided by Petitioner in light of the applicable
law, this Court determined the petition was time-barred and
that the facts did not warrant the application of equitable
tolling. The Court therefore dismissed the petition as
untimely under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). Dismissal Opinion
and Order filed January 26, 2016 [Docket Entries 11 &
February 5, 2016, the Court received a letter from Petitioner
objecting to the application of the statute of limitations.
February 5 Letter [Docket Entry 13]. On March 7, 2016, the
Court ordered the letter to be designated as a motion for
reconsideration and the case to be reopened for review of the
motion. [Docket Entry 14]. The Court subsequently received
two letters from Petitioner with attempted explanations as to
why his § 2254 petition was filed late. March 12 and 11,
2016 Letters [Docket Entries 15 and 16]. The Court denied the
motion for reconsideration on March 23, 2016. [Docket Entries
18 & 19]. More than ten months elapsed until February 10,
2017 when Petitioner filed a notice of appeal [Docket Entry
22]. The appeal was docketed as Hatch v. New Jersey
Superior Court, No. 17-1338 (3d Cir. filed Feb. 14,
2017) [Docket Entry 23].
March 27, 2017, the Third Circuit transferred
Petitioner's motion to file an out of time notice of
appeal to this Court, and the Court reopened the matter for
consideration of the motion [Docket Entries 24 & 25].
Petitioner states he is “a layman in the law and [has]
absolutely no familiarity with the Rules of Court and any
procedure associated with appealing the denial of [his] 28
U.S.C. Sec. 2254 petition.” Motion ¶ 2. He argues
“[t]he district court erred in denying [his] habeas
petition and deeming it untimely. It failed to consider
equittable [sic] tolling principles.” Id.
taking of an appeal within the prescribed time is mandatory
and jurisdictional.” Bowles v. Russell, 551
U.S. 205, 209 (2007) (internal citation and quotation marks
omitted). Petitioner was required to file a notice of appeal
within 30 days after this Court denied the motion to
reconsideration on March 23, 2016, i.e., by April
22, 2016. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1)(A). Petitioner filed his