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Licata v. State

United States District Court, D. Maine

June 5, 2018

ANGELO B. LICATA, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF MAINE Respondent

          RECOMMENDED DECISION ON 28 U.S.C. § 2254 PETITION

          John H. Rich III United States Magistrate Judge.

         In this action, the petitioner, Angelo B. Licata, seeks relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (“Petition”) (ECF No. 1). The state has requested dismissal because, the state argues, the Petition was not timely filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). See Respondent's Amended Motion to Dismiss Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (“Answer”) (ECF No. 10). Following a review of the Petition and the state's request for summary dismissal, I recommend that the court grant the state's request and dismiss the Petition.

         I. Factual Background and Procedural History

         The petitioner was convicted of murder, 17-A M.R.S.A. § 201(1)(B), on October 3, 2012, following a guilty plea. See Docket Record, State of Maine v. Licata, Docket No. SKOSC-CR-2011-00264 (Me. Super. Ct.) (“Underlying Criminal Case”), Tab A to [Redacted] State Court Record (“Redacted Record”) (ECF No. 10-1), attached to Answer, at 7. The court sentenced the petitioner to a prison term of 30 years. See id.

         The petitioner did not appeal from the conviction. See Id. at 7-8. On February 6, 2013, the Sentence Review Panel of the Maine Law Court denied the petitioner's application for leave to appeal from the sentence. See Docket Record, State of Maine v. Licata, Docket No. SRP-12-559 (Me.) (“Sentence Appeal”), Tab B to Redacted Record, at 1-2.

         On October 31, 2013, the petitioner filed a state court petition for post-conviction review. See Docket Record, Licata v. State of Maine, Docket No. SOMCD-CR-2013-01328 (Me. Super. Ct.) (“State Post-Conviction Review”), Tab C to Redacted Record, at 1. The court appointed counsel in May 2014, and an amended petition was filed in February 2015. See Id. at 1-2. The court held an evidentiary hearing in January 2016. See Id. at 3. The court denied the petition in May 2016. See id.

         The Law Court denied discretionary review on January 26, 2017. See Docket Record, Licata v. State of Maine, Docket No. Som-16-404 (Me.) (“Discretionary Appeal”), Tab D to Redacted Record, at 2-3.

         In his section 2254 Petition, which the petitioner states he placed in the prison mailing system on January 26, 2018, and which was filed on February 1, 2018, the petitioner alleges that his due process rights were violated, his plea was involuntary, he received ineffective assistance of counsel in the plea process, and there was judicial bias in the post-conviction proceeding. See Petition at 1, 5-12, 18. The petitioner attached to the Petition a copy of the state court post-conviction decision. See PCR Decision and Order, State Post-Conviction Review (ECF No. 1-2), attached to Petition. In essence, the petitioner challenges the state court post-conviction decision, and, thus, contends that he is entitled to relief under section 2254(d).[1]

         The state requests dismissal based only on timeliness grounds. See Answer at 3. The state court record is correspondingly limited to the relevant state court docket records. See Redacted Record.

         II. Discussion

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a), a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court may apply to a federal district court for a writ of habeas corpus “only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.”

         In turn, 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) governs the time within which a petitioner must assert a claim under section 2254, providing:

(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 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 ...

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