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Carpenter v. Commissioner of Correction

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 30, 2018

BETH ANN CARPENTER, Petitioner,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION ON MOTION TO DISMISS [DKT. 11]

          Hon. Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge.

         Petitioner Beth Ann Carpenter (“Carpenter” or “Petitioner”) brings this writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 to challenge her conviction of capital felony in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-54b, conspiracy to commit murder in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-48 and 53a-54a, accessory to commit murder in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-8(a) and 53a-54(a). See [Dkt. 2 (Habeas Petition) ¶ 3; Dkt. 11-2 (Mot. Dismiss Ex. B, State v. Carpenter, 275 Conn. 785, 794, 882 A.2d 604 (2005))]. Respondent Commissioner of Correction (“Respondent”) has moved to dismiss on the basis that the § 2254 petition is untimely. For the foregoing reasons, this motion is GRANTED.

         Background[1]

         The facts underlying Ms. Carpenter's conviction involve the 1994 death of a man killed by a gunman who was hired by Ms. Carpenter's lover. See [Dkt. 2 ¶ 4]. Several years after the murder was carried out, Ms. Carpenter was charged with and convicted of capital felony, conspiracy to commit murder, and accessory to commit murder. She received a sentence of life without parole. [Dkt. 2 ¶ 3; Dkt. 11-2 at 794]. Ms. Carpenter appealed the jury verdict and the Connecticut Supreme Court affirmed the jury verdict on October 11, 2005. See [Dkt. 11-2]. She then petitioned for certiorari, but the United States Supreme Court denied it on March 20, 2006. See [Dkt. 11-3 (Mot. Dismiss Ex. C, Carpenter v. Connecticut, 547 U.S. 1025, 126 S.Ct. 1578 (2006))].

         Over two years later on May 2, 2006, Ms. Carpenter filed her first petition for a writ of habeas corpus in Connecticut state court. See [Dkt. 11-4 (Mot. Dismiss Ex. D, Carpenter First Habeas Docket) at 1]. She withdrew this petition on October 14, 2010. Id. at 3.

         On December 14, 2012, Ms. Carpenter filed her second petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the state. See [Dkt. 11-5 (Mot. Dismiss Ex. E, Carpenter Second Habeas Docket) at 2]. This petition was denied on June 18, 2015. See id.; [Dkt. 11-6 (Mot. Dismiss Ex. F, Carpenter v. Warden, No. TSRCV134005058S, 2015 WL 4173947 (Conn. Super. Ct. June 18, 2015))]. Ms. Carpenter appealed this ruling on July 8, 2015, and the judgment was affirmed on March 28, 2017. See [Dkt. 11-7 (Mot. Dismiss Ex. G, Carpenter v. Comm'r of Corr., 171 Conn.App. 758 (Conn. App. Ct. 2017)]. She petitioned the Connecticut Supreme Court for certification for appeal from the appellate court but was denied on May 10, 2017.

         Rather than filing a petition with the United States Supreme Court, she filed a § 2254 petition here. She argues trial counsel was ineffective for two reasons: (1) they failed to lay a proper foundation that resulted in precluding an expert's testimony, and (2) they failed to advise her to consider a plea agreement. See [Dkt. 2 ¶¶ 10-39].

         Discussion

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) sets a one-year limitations period for filing § 2254 petitions. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). The one-year limitations period begins to run on the latest of one of four possible dates:

(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.

Id. Here, the parties dispute whether the latest date is (A) the date when the judgment became final, (C) the date on which a Supreme Court initially recognized a constitutional right, or (D) the date when the ...


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