Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Thompson v. Davis

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division

July 25, 2019

RONALD WAYNE THOMPSON, TDCJ No. 01648728, Petitioner,
LORIE DAVIS, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.



         On this day, the Court considered Petitioner Ronald Wayne Thompson's [hereinafter “Petitioner”] pro se “Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (ECF No. 1)[1] [hereinafter “Petition”], filed on September 10, 2018, in the above captioned cause. Therein, Petitioner challenges Respondent Lorie Davis's [hereinafter “Respondent”] custody over him based on his guilty-plea conviction for murder, enhanced, in Cause Number 20080D00241 in the 210th Judicial District Court in El Paso County, Texas. The Court also considered Respondent's “Answer with Brief in Support” (ECF No. 16) [hereinafter “Answer”] and the state court records each filed on January 8, 2019 (ECF Nos. 11-15). Therein, Respondent argues that the Court should dismiss the Petition because the claims are time-barred.

         After due consideration, having reviewed the Petition, Answer, and state court records, the Court is of the opinion that Petitioner's claims are time-barred and that Petitioner is not entitled to equitable tolling, for the reasons that follow. Accordingly, the Court will deny the Petition and dismiss this cause with prejudice. Additionally, the Court will deny Petitioner a certificate of appealability.


         On January 23, 2008, Petitioner was indicted by a grand jury for capital murder. Clerk's R. 5 (Indictment), Jan. 8, 2019, ECF No. 15-2. Subsequently, he pleaded guilty to the lesser included offense of murder as part of a plea agreement with the State. Id. at 40 (Mem. in Supp. of State Writ, July 12, 2017); Supp. Clerk's R. 6-12 (Plea Agreement, May 19, 2010), Jan. 8, 2019, ECF No. 13-1. Petitioner did not object to the following summary of the facts presented by the prosecutor during his plea hearing:

If this case were to have proceeded to trial, the State would have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that on or about the 31st day of July, 2007, in the County of El Paso, State of Texas, Ronald Thompson, hereinafter referred to as defendant, did then and there intentionally cause the death of an individual, namely Haley Chan, by striking Haley Chan about, the head . . . [w]ith . . . [a] board.

Reporter's R. 15-16 (Plea Tr., May 19, 2010), Jan. 8, 2019, ECF No. 12-1. In addition, Petitioner pleaded guilty to two enhancements. Clerk's R. 6 (J. of Conviction - Waiver of Jury Trial, May 19, 2010), Jan. 8, 2019, ECF No. 15-2. On May 19, 2010, he was sentenced to forty years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Id. Petitioner did not appeal.

         On July 12, 2017, Petitioner filed a state writ application. Id. at 22-39 (State Appl. For Writ of Habeas Corpus, July 12, 2017). Therein, Petitioner made two claims. First, he asserted that his plea was unlawfully induced. Id. at 27. Second, he asserted that his attorneys provided ineffective assistance when they failed to reveal to the trial court that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, was mentally retarded, and was heavily medicated with psychotropic drugs. Id. at 29. On December 5, 2017, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Petitioner's application without written order. Clerk's R. 1 (Action Taken), Jan. 8, 2019, ECF No. 11-1.

         In his federal Petition, Petitioner now claims that he “was heavily medicated for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression . . . with adverse side effects that made it impossible for [him] to understand what was going on at the time of trial.” Pet'r's Pet. 6, Sept. 10, 2018, ECF No. 1. Hence, he argues, his plea was involuntary. Id. In addition, Petitioner claims that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by telling him to lie to the trial court about his mental health and medications, advising him that he would receive a death sentence if he did not accept the plea deal, and failing to request a competency hearing prior to his plea. Id. For the above reasons, Petitioner asks the Court to “set aside the guilty plea.” Mem. in Supp. 4, Sept. 10, 2018, ECF No. 1-1.


         Claims pursuant to § 2254 are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). The limitations period runs from the latest of four different events: (1) when “the judgment became final, ” (2) when “the impediment to filing an application created by the State action in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action, ” (3) when “the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court . . . and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review, ” or (4) when “the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.” Id. §§ 2244(d)(1)(A)-(D).

         The limitations period is tolled by statute when “a properly filed application for State post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending.” Id. § 2244(d)(2). “[A]n application is ‘properly filed' when its delivery and acceptance are in compliance with the applicable laws and rules governing filings . . . [including] the time limits upon its delivery.” Artuz v. Bennett, 531 U.S. 4, 8 (2000) (emphasis in original).

         Additionally, the limitations period is not jurisdictional and is subject to equitable tolling. Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 645 (2010). However, equitable tolling is not available for “garden variety claims of excusable neglect.” Lookingbill v. Cockrell, 293 F.3d 256, 264 (5th Cir. 2002) (quoting Rashidi v. American President Lines, 96 F.3d 124, 128 (5th Cir. 1996)). It is justified only “in rare and exceptional circumstances.” Cousin v. Lensing, 310 F.3d 843, 848 (5th Cir. 2002) (quoting Davis v. Johnson, 158 F.3d 806, 811 (5th Cir. 1998)). Such circumstances include situations where a petitioner is actively misled by the respondent, “or is prevented in some extraordinary way from asserting his rights.” Id. (quoting Coleman v. Johnson, 184 F.3d 398, 402 (5th Cir. 1999)). Moreover, “[e]quity is not intended for those who sleep on their rights.” Fisher v. Johnson, 174 F.3d 710, 715 (5th Cir. 1999) (quoting Covey v. Arkansas River Co., 865 F.2d 660, 662 (5th Cir. 1989)). Rather, “[e]quitable tolling is appropriate where, despite all due diligence, a plaintiff is unable to discover essential information bearing on the existence of his claim.” Id. at 715 n.14 (quoting Pacheco v. Rice, 966 F.2d 904, 906-07 (5th Cir. 1992)). Furthermore, a petitioner has the burden of proving his entitlement to equitable tolling. Phillips v. Donnelly, 216 F.3d 508, 511 (5th Cir.), modified on reh'g, 223 F.3d 797 (5th Cir. 2000). To satisfy his burden, he must show “(1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way” of timely filing his § 2254 motion. Lawrence v. Florida, 549 U.S. 327, 336 (2007) (quoting Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005)).

         III. ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.