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Oropeza v. Pierce

United States District Court, D. Delaware

April 10, 2014

KEVIN B. OROPEZA, Petitioner,
v.
DAVID PIERCE, Warden, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE, Respondents

Decided Date: April 9, 2014.

Kevin B. Oropeza. Pro se petitioner.

Karen Sullivan, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for respondents.

Page 439

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Sue L. Robinson, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the court is Kevin B. Oropeza's (" petitioner" ) application for a writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (D.I. 2; D.I. 25) For the reasons that follow, the court will dismiss petitioner's § 2254 application as time-barred by the one-year period of limitations prescribed in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).

II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In November 1992, a Delaware Superior Court jury convicted petitioner of first degree murder, first degree conspiracy, and

Page 440

two related weapons charges. See State v. Oropeza, 2010 WL 1511570, at *1-2 (Del. Super. Apr. 16, 2010). The Superior Court sentenced him to life in prison plus a term of years. On November 1, 1993, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed petitioner's convictions and sentence. See Oropeza v. State, 633 A.2d 371 (Table), 1993 WL 445482 (Del. Nov. 1, 1993).

On February 12, 2010, petitioner filed his first motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Delaware Superior Court Criminal Rule 61 (" Rule 61 motion" ). See Oropeza, 2010 WL 1511570. The Superior Court denied the motion, and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed that decision on February 17, 2011. See Oropeza v. State, 15 A.3d 217 (Table), 2011 WL 578729 (Del. Feb. 17, 2011).

In 2011, petitioner filed a § 2254 application asserting seven grounds for relief, which can be divided into the following three categories: (1) the Delaware State Courts misinterpreted Delaware precedent and Delaware law in denying his Rule 61 motion and holding that petitioner was not entitled to relief under Allen v. State, 970 A.2d 203 (Del. 2009); (2) he is actually innocent of the murder; and (3) ineffective assistance of counsel. The State filed an answer, asserting that the application should be denied in its entirety as time-barred or, alternatively, because the claims either fail to assert issues cognizable on federal habeas review or are procedurally barred. (D.I. 28)

III. ONE YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (" AEDPA" ) was signed into law by the President on April 23, 1996, and it prescribes a one-year period of limitations for the filing of habeas petitions by state prisoners. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). The one-year limitations period begins to 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 ...

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