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Jennings v. Davis

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

August 7, 2019

HENRY LEE JENNINGS, TDCJ #595880, Petitioner,
v.
LORIE DAVIS, Director, Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Correctional Institutions Division, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SIM LAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Henry Lee Jennings (TDCJ #595880) has filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody ("Petition") (Docket Entry No. 1) seeking relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 from a conviction that was entered against him in 1991. He has also filed a Federal 2254 Habeas Corpus Memorandum of Law in support of the Petition ("Memorandum") (Docket Entry No. 5) . After considering all of the pleadings and the applicable law pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings in the United States District Courts, this case will be dismissed for the reasons explained below.

         I. Background

         On July 17, 2019, Jennings filed the pending federal habeas corpus Petition to challenge a state court conviction that resulted in a 66-year sentence.[1] Public records clarify that Jennings was convicted of robbery on April 9, 1991, and sentenced to 66 years' imprisonment in Harris County Cause No. 580150.[2] That conviction, which was entered in the 174th District Court for Harris County, was affirmed on appeal on August 13, 1992. See Jennings v. State, No. B14-91-00344-CR, 1992 WL 193578 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 13, 1992, pet. ref'd) (unpublished) (rejecting Jennings's challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence and his claim that the robbery conviction violated double jeopardy after he pled guilty to a theft charge that was included in the same indictment).

         Jennings now contends that he is entitled to federal habeas corpus relief from the robbery conviction and sentence entered against him in 1991, because a "visiting unsworn judge" presided over his trial.[3] Jennings also asserts that his indictment was "faulty" or defective because he was charged with commit ting theft, but he was tried and convicted of committing the offense of robbery. [4]

         II. Discussion

         A. The One-Year Statute of Limitations

         According to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (the "AEDPA"), Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (1996), all federal habeas corpus petitions filed after April 24, 1996, are subject to a one-year limitations period found in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d), which 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.

28 U.S.C. § 2244 (d) (1). Because the pending Petition was filed well after April 24, 1996, the one-year limitations period clearly applies. See Flanagan v. Johnson, 154 F.3d 196, 198 (5th Cir. 1998) ...


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