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Padilla v. Davis

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Galveston Division

February 21, 2018

LUCIANO VARGAS PADILLA, TDCJ# 01892209, Petitioner,
v.
LORIE DAVIS, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          GEORGE C. HANKS JR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         State inmate Luciano Vargas Padilla (TDCJ #01892209) has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Respondent has filed a motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 12) accompanied by the relevant state-court records (Dkt. 13). Padilla has responded (Dkt. 17). After reviewing all of the pleadings, the record, and the applicable law, the Court concludes that Padilla's petition is time-barred.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In August of 2013, after a jury trial, Padilla was convicted in state court in Brazoria County of one count of "illegal barter/expenditure of property/finance"- essentially, of helping to finance the purchase of cocaine (Dkt. 13-26 at pp. 5-6). At Padilla's trial, the State's evidence consisted of testimony showing that a confidential informant working with the Brazoria County Sheriffs Department had successfully organized a drug deal between the informant and three other men, one of whom was Padilla. The four men met at a Burger King, where Padilla and his accomplices showed the confidential informant $28, 000.00 earmarked for the purchase of a kilogram of cocaine that the confidential informant was claiming to sell. Immediately after the meeting, the informant signaled law enforcement officers, who pulled over the car in which Padilla and his accomplices were riding; the officers found the $28, 000.00 underneath Padilla's seat. Padilla took the stand and testified that he was only present at the drug deal because his two acquaintances had duped him by claiming that they were taking him to meet someone who wanted to hire him for a welding job (Dkt. 13-9 at pp. 160-66). The jury rejected this explanation and found that Padilla was indeed one of the cocaine buyers (Dkt. 13-9 at p. 207). The trial court entered judgment on the verdict on October 30, 2013 (Dkt. 13-26 at p. 6).

         Padilla appealed his conviction, and the First Court of Appeals of Texas affirmed the trial court (Dkt. 13-4). The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ("TCCA") refused Padilla's petition for discretionary review on May 13, 2015 (Dkt. 13-1). On March 21, 2016, Padilla filed a state habeas petition (Dkt. 13-26 at p. 3l).[1] The TCCA denied habeas relief on June 29, 2016 (Dkt. 13-25). Padilla filed this federal habeas petition on February 27, 2017 (Dkt. 1 at p. 9).

         II. THE ONE-YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

         This federal habeas petition is subject to the one-year limitations period found in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Flanagan v. Johnson, 154 F.3d 196, 198 (5th Cir. 1998). Section 2244(d) provides as follows:

         (d)(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 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 prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.
(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 ...

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