United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
W. Thompson United States District Judge
petitioner, Corey Williams, currently resides in Norwalk,
Connecticut. He has filed a petition for writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his 2006
state court convictions for possession of narcotics with
intent to sell and interfering with a police officer.
See Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus, Doc. No. 1. For the
reasons set forth below, the petition is being dismissed.
in Connecticut Superior Court for the Judicial District of
Stamford at Norwalk convicted the petitioner of one count of
possession of narcotics with intent to sell in violation of
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 21a-277(a) and one count of
interfering with an officer in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat.
§ 53a-167a. On February 22, 2006, a judge imposed a
total effective sentence of ten years of imprisonment
followed by six years of special parole. See Pet.
Writ Habeas Corpus at 1; State v. Williams, 110
Conn.App. 778, 783 (2008). The petitioner appealed his
convictions and sentence. On October 14, 2008, the
Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed the convictions. See
Id. at 798. On December 11, 2008, the Connecticut
Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certification
to appeal the decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court.
See State v. Williams, 289 Conn. 957 (2008).
August 2006, the petitioner filed a petition for writ of
habeas corpus in Connecticut Superior Court for the Judicial
District of Tolland at Rockville challenging his 2006
convictions. See Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus at 3;
Williams v. Warden, No. TSR-CV06-4001270-S (Conn.
Super. Ct. Aug. 23, 2006). On December 3, 2010, after a
hearing, a superior court judge denied the petition. See
Williams v. Warden, No. CV064001270S, 2010 WL 5692092,
at *2 (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 3, 2010).
petitioner appealed the denial of the state habeas petition.
On February 12, 2013, the Connecticut Appellate Court
dismissed the appeal of the decision denying the
petitioner’s state habeas petition. See Williams v.
Comm’r of Correction, 140 Conn.App. 903 (2013). On
March 27, 2013, the Connecticut Supreme Court denied
certification to appeal the decision of the appellate court.
See Williams v. Comm’r of Correction, 308
Conn. 922 (2013).
petitioner filed the present petition on February 5, 2016. He
raises two grounds in support of the petition. He argues (1)
that his conviction was not in accordance with law because he
was not in exclusive possession of the vehicle and there were
no narcotics in his possession and (2) that the State of
Connecticut did not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable
petitioner states in his petition that he filed a prior
petition for writ of habeas corpus in this court. See
Williams v. Tarascio, Case No. 14cv66(RNC). He raised
four grounds in support of that petition. See Id.
(Pet. Writ of Habeas Corpus, Doc. No. 2.) The first
and the third grounds raised in that petition are the same as
the two grounds raised in the present petition. See
Id. at 9, 13. On December 8, 2014, the court dismissed
the prior petition without prejudice to reopening on the
ground that it contained exhausted and unexhausted grounds
for relief. See Id. (Ruling and Order, Doc. No.
The court informed the petitioner that he had several options
with regard to how he might proceed as to the unexhausted
claims. See Id. at 3-4. On January 12, 2016, the
petitioner filed a motion to reopen the judgment in the prior
petition. See Id. (Motion to Reopen, Doc. No. 19.)
The motion remains pending.
habeas corpus statutes impose a one-year statute of
limitations on federal petitions for a writ of habeas corpus
challenging a judgment of conviction imposed by a state
court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). The present
petition is barred by the one-year statute of limitations.
limitations period commences when the conviction becomes
final and is tolled while a properly filed application for
post-conviction relief is pending in state court.
See 28 U.S.C. §2244(d); Rivas v.
Fischer, 687 F.3d 514, 533 (2d Cir. 2012).
time of the conclusion of the direct appeal process with
respect to the petitioner’s convictions on December 11,
2008, the petitioner had already filed a state habeas
petition. See Williams v. Warden, No.
TSR-CV06-4001270-S (Conn. Super. Ct. Aug. 23, 2006). Thus,
the limitations period did not begin to run at that time and
remained tolled during the pendency of petitioner’s
state habeas petition. The state habeas petition became final
on March 27, 2013, when the Connecticut Supreme Court denied
certification to appeal the decision of the appellate court.
See Lawrence v. Florida, 549 U.S. 327, 329, 334
(2007) (habeas petition is not "pending" for
purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2) when state courts
have entered a final judgment but a petition for certiorari
has been filed in U.S. Supreme Court); Smaldone v.
Senkowski, 273 F.3d 133, 137-38 (2d Cir. 2001)
("ninety-day period during which a petitioner could have
but did not file a certiorari petition to the United States
Supreme Court from the denial of a state post-conviction
petition" is excluded from tolling under 28 U.S.C.
2244(d)(2)), cert. denied, 535 U.S. 1017 (2002). The
limitations period began to run on March 28, 2013.
the petitioner filed a prior federal habeas petition within
the one-year limitations period, the filing of a federal
habeas petition does not toll the running of the one-year
limitations period. See Duncan v. Walker, 533 U.S.
167, 181-82 (2001). Thus, the limitations period expired on
March 27, 2014. The present petition was filed on February 5,
2016, so it is barred by the statute of limitations.
doctrine of equitable tolling applies in section 2254 cases.
See Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 645 (2010).
Equitable tolling may be applied in habeas cases only in
extraordinary and rare circumstances, and the petitioner is
required to show that he has been pursuing his rights
diligently but extraordinary circumstances prevented him from
timely filing his petition. See Pace v. DiGuglielmo,
544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005). The threshold for a petitioner to
establish equitable tolling is very high. See Smith v.
McGinnis, 208 F.3d 13, 17 (2d Cir.), cert.
denied, 531 U.S. 840 (2000).
petitioner sets forth no facts that could establish that
tolling of the statute of limitations is warranted.
Accordingly, the petition is being ...