United States District Court, D. New Jersey
S. GREWAL, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW JERSEY LILA BAGWELL
LEONARD, DAG Office of the Attorney General Division of
Criminal Justice Attorneys for Respondent State of New Jersey
CHARLES M. MORIARTY, ESQ. Charles Moriarty, LLC Attorneys for
Petitioner, Diron Charles Wright
G. SHERIDAN U.S. District Judge
the Court is Respondent State of New Jersey's motion to
dismiss Diron Charles Wright's petition for writ of
habeas corpus as untimely. (ECF No. 6). Petitioner opposes
the motion. (ECF No. 7). For the reasons stated herein, the
Court will dismiss the petition as time-barred, and no
certificate of appealability will issue.
January 31, 2006, a Monmouth County grand jury issued a
superseding indictment charging Petitioner with three counts
of third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous
substance (cocaine), N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:35-10(a)(1);
three counts of second-degree possession of a controlled
dangerous substance (cocaine) with intent to distribute, N.J.
Stat. Ann. § 2C:35-5(b)(2); three counts of
second-degree distribution of cocaine, N.J. Stat. Ann. §
2C:35-5(b)(2); and one count of first-degree maintaining or
operating a drug production facility, N.J. Stat. Ann. §
2C:35-4. (ECF No. 6-5). After his first trial ended in a hung
jury,  Petitioner was convicted on all counts in
his second trial. The trial court sentenced him to a total
custodial term of thirty years with a fifteen-year period of
parole ineligibility. (ECF No. 6-6). The Superior Court of
New Jersey, Appellate Division affirmed Petitioner's
convictions and sentence on direct appeal. State v.
Wright, No. A-3978-08 (N.J.Super.Ct.App.Div. Dec. 8,
2011); (ECF No. 6-7 at 2). The New Jersey Supreme Court
denied certification on June 8, 2012. State v.
Wright, 45 A.3d 983 (N.J. 2012); (ECF No. 6-8).
filed a post-conviction relief ("PCR") petition in
the Law Division on April 9, 2013. (ECF No. 6-9). On October
18, 2013, the PCR court dismissed all claims except for
Petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim
based on trial counsel's failure to call certain
witnesses at Petitioner's retrial. (ECF No. 6-11 at 7).
After a three day evidentiary hearing, the PCR court granted
the PCR petition on October 1, 2015. (ECF No. 6-10). The
State filed a motion for clarification, and the PCR court
denied the motion on November 13, 2015. (ECF No. 6-12).
Appellate Division granted the State's motion for leave
to appeal. On August 24, 2016, the Appellate Division
reversed the decision of the PCR court. State v.
Wright, No. A-1781-15, 2016 WL 4446162
(N.J.Super.Ct.App.Div. Aug. 24, 2016) (per curiam); (ECF No.
6-13). The New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification on
December 5, 2016. State v. Wright, 157 A.3d 845
(Table) (N.J. 2016); (ECF No. 6-14).
filed his § 2254 petition on May 19, 2017. (ECF No. 1).
Respondent filed the instant motion to dismiss on September
11, 2017, arguing the petition was filed after the one-year
statute of limitations expired. (ECF No. 6). Petitioner
argues the petition is timely, or, alternatively, that he
should be given the benefit of equitable tolling. (ECF No.
habeas petition is governed by the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA").
AEDPA imposes a one-year period of limitation on a petitioner
seeking to challenge his state conviction and sentence
through a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254. Under § 2244(d)(1), the limitations
period runs 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;
(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 was