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United States v. Niles

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

February 13, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
AMASA PINCKNEY NILES IV, Defendant/Movant.

          ORDER DENYING § 2255 MOTION AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          Dana L. Christensen, Chief Judge United States District Court

         This case comes before the Court on Defendant/Movant Niles's motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Niles is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se.

         On November 28, 2017, Niles was ordered to show cause why his claims should not be dismissed with prejudice as time-barred. He responded on January 22, 2018.

         Niles was sentenced on January 30, 2013. He did not appeal. His sentence became final when his time to appeal expired, that is, on February 13, 2013. See Griffith v. Kentucky, 479 U.S. 314, 321 n.6 (1987). He filed his § 2255 motion (Doc. 45) more than four years later, on March 21, 2017.

         I. Applicable Law

         A one-year limitations period applies to each claim in a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Mardesich v. Cate, 668 F.3d 1164, 1171 (9th Cir. 2012). The first question, therefore, is whether Niles's time to file expired before he filed. If so, the second question is whether there is a good reason to accept his late filing anyway.

         The filing deadline is one year after the latest "trigger" date that applies to the claim. See 28 U.S.C. § 2255(f)(1)-(4). A defendant must file a § 2255 motion within one year of the latest of:

(1) the date on which the judgment of conviction becomes final;
(2) the date on which the impediment to making a motion created by governmental action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the movant was prevented from making a motion by such governmental action;
(3) the date on which the right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if that right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(4) the date on which the facts supporting the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.

Id.

         Even if a defendant fails to file within a year of the applicable "trigger" date, his claims will still be heard on their merits if his untimely filing is excused either by equitable tolling or by actual innocence. To obtain equitable tolling, the defendant must allege facts sufficient to support an inference that he pursued his rights diligently but was prevented from filing on time by an extraordinary circumstance that stood in his way. See, e.g., Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 649 (2010). To show actual innocence, he must allege facts sufficient to support an inference that, based on new evidence, it is more likely than not that no reasonable fact-finder could find him guilty beyond reasonable doubt. See, e.g., McQuiggin v. Perkins, 569 U.S. 383, 387 (2013).

         II. ...


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