United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division
CIRO PETER SIFUENTES, TDCJ No. 509247, Petitioner,
LORIE DAVIS, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.
RODRIGUEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is pro se Petitioner Ciro Sifuentes's
petition for habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 (Docket Entry 1). For the reasons set forth
below, Sifuentes's federal habeas corpus petition is
dismissed with prejudice as barred by the one-year statute of
limitations embodied in § 2244(d). Petitioner is also
denied a certificate of appealability.
February 1989, Petitioner was found guilty of possession of
heroin and sentenced to forty years by a Bexar County jury.
State v. Sifuentes, No. 1988-CR-4944 (226th Dist.
Ct., Bexar Cnty., Tex. Feb. 9, 1989). According to
Petitioner, he was incarcerated for this offense until
September 13, 2005, when he was released from TDCJ custody on
parole. As a condition of his release, Petitioner contends
certain sex-offender conditions-special conditions M, N, and
X-were imposed in August 2005 and again in September 2009. He
was later returned to TDCJ custody when the Board of Pardons
and Paroles (BPP) voted to revoke his parole on December 22,
2014. Petitioner indicates that he filed a state habeas
corpus application challenging his parole revocation on
August 4, 2016. This application was denied without written
order by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on February 1,
2017. Ex parte Sifuentes, No. 86, 202-01 (Tex. Crim.
placed the instant federal habeas petition in the prison mail
system on March 20, 2017. In the § 2254 petition, he
challenges the special conditions that were placed on his
release to parole in 2005 and 2009, as well as the decision
by the BPP to ultimately revoke his parole. He also argues
the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals abused its discretion by
denying his state habeas corpus petition, which raised the
aforementioned claims, without a hearing.
courts are permitted . . . to consider, sua sponte, the
timeliness of a state prisoner's habeas petition.”
Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 198, 209 (2006). Section
2244(d) provides, in relevant part, that:
(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-
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or
claims presented could have been discovered through the
exercise of due diligence.
Petitioner's first claim is challenging the imposition of
certain special conditions on his parole, the proper inquiry
is to determine when Petitioner could have discovered,
through the exercise of due diligence, that he would be
subjected to the conditions. In his petition, Petitioner
states the conditions were imposed August 1, 2005, he was
paroled on September 13, 2005, and the conditions were later
imposed again on September 16, 2009. Thus, at the latest,
Petitioner could have discovered the factual predicate of his
first claim-challenging the imposition of certain special
conditions on his parole in 2005-by September 13, 2005, the
date he was released on parole and the conditions went into
effect. Similarly, Petitioner could have discovered the
factual predicate of his related claim-challenging the
imposition of certain special conditions on his parole
sometime in 2009-at the time these conditions went into
effect. As a result, unless it is subject to either statutory
or equitable tolling, the limitations period under §
2244(d) for challenging these conditions in a federal habeas
petition expired a year later on September 13, 2006, and
sometime in 2010, respectively.
regard to his second claim concerning the BPP's
revocation of his parole, the proper inquiry is to determine
when Petitioner could have discovered, through the exercise
of due diligence, that his parole was revoked. In his
petition, Petitioner states he received notice of a parole
violation on November 7, 2014, and that his parole was
eventually revoked on December 22, 2014. As such, the latest
Petitioner could have discovered the factual predicate for
the claim would be December 22, 2014, the date his parole was
actually revoked. The limitations period under § 2244(d)
for raising the second claim in a federal habeas petition
therefore expired a year later on December 22, 2015, unless
either statutory or equitable tolling applies.
does not satisfy any of the statutory tolling provisions
found under § 2244(d)(1). There has been no showing of
an impediment created by the state government that violated
the Constitution or federal law and prevented Petitioner from
filing a timely petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(B).
There has also been no showing of a newly recognized
constitutional right upon which the petition is based, and
there is no indication that the claims could not have been
discovered earlier through the exercise of due diligence. 28
U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(C)-(D). Although § 2244(d)(2)
provides that “[t]he 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, ” it does not toll the
limitations period in this case either. As discussed
previously, Petitioner's state habeas application was not
filed until August 4, 2016, well after the limitations period
expired for his claims. Because Petitioner filed his state
habeas petition after the time for filing a petition under
§ 2244(d)(1) has lapsed, the state petition does not
toll the one-year limitations period. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2244(d)(2); Scott v. Johnson, 227 F.3d 260,
263 (5th Cir. 2000).
despite being given the opportunity to establish why his
petition should not be dismissed as untimely (Docket Entry
3), Petitioner failed to provide this Court with a valid
reason to equitably toll the limitations period in this case.
The Supreme Court has made clear that a federal habeas corpus
petitioner may avail himself of the doctrine of equitable
tolling “only if he shows (1) that he has been pursuing
his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary
circumstance stood in his way and prevented timely
filing.” McQuiggin v. Perkins, 133 S.Ct. 1924,
1931 (2013); Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 649
(2010). However, equitable tolling is only available in cases
presenting “rare and exceptional circumstances, ”
United States v. Riggs, 314 F.3d 796, 799 (5th Cir.
2002), and is “not intended for those who sleep on
their rights.” Manning v. Epps, 688 F.3d 177,
183 (5th Cir. 2012).
Petitioner does not assert any extraordinary circumstance
prevented him from filing earlier; instead, he incorrectly
contends the statute of limitations does not apply to him
because he is challenging the decisions of the BPP and not
the constitutionality of his underlying conviction.
See § 2244(d)(1) (stating the one-year
limitations period applies to any person in custody pursuant
to the judgment of a State court filing a habeas corpus
application). Petitioner's ignorance of the law, lack of
legal training or representation, and unfamiliarity with the
legal process do not rise to the level of a rare or
exceptional circumstance which would warrant equitable
tolling of the limitations period. U.S. v. Petty,
530 F.3d 361, 365-66 (5th Cir. 2008); see also Sutton v.
Cain, 722 F.3d 312, 316-17 (5th Cir. 2013) (a garden
variety claim of excusable neglect does not warrant equitable
tolling). Because Petitioner ...