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Collins v. Shoop

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division

July 20, 2018

John R. Collins, Petitioner,
Warden Tim Shoop, Respondent.



         Introduction John Collins, a state prisoner, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. 1). The Warden filed a Motion to Dismiss the Petition as time barred, procedurally defaulted, and/or for presenting non-cognizable claims (Doc. 7). Respondent's Motion to Dismiss indicates that Tim Shoop is now Warden at Chillicothe Correctional Institution (Doc. 7 at 1). Accordingly, the case caption is updated to read “John R. Collins v. Warden Tim Shoop.” Collins responded to the Motion (Doc. 9). The case was referred to Magistrate Judge Kathleen Burke for a Report and Recommendation (R&R). The R&R (Doc. 10) recommends this Court dismiss the Petition as untimely. Collins timely objected to the R&R (Doc. 11). This Court has reviewed de novo those portions of the R&R challenged in the Objection. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Hill v. Duriron Co., 656 F.2d 1208 (6th Cir. 1981).


         As Collins does not meaningfully object to the procedural history and facts set forth in the R&R (Doc. 10 at 2-9), this Court incorporates them by reference and briefly sets forth the timeline of his state appeals.

         In July 2014, a plea hearing was held in Collins' state court criminal proceedings. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court accepted Collins' plea, ordered a presentence report, and referred him to Court Diagnostics for a mitigation examination (Doc. 7-1 at 413). In September 2014, Collins was sentenced to 170 months of imprisonment -- seventeen months for each of ten counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, to be served consecutively (id. at 37-38).

         The state appellate court affirmed the judgments of the trial court in May 2015 (id. at 148- 69), and the Ohio Supreme Court denied Collins' motion for a delayed appeal and dismissed the matter in September 2015 (id. at 200). Collins filed an Ohio Appellate Rule 26(B) application to reopen his appeal, which was also denied in September 2015 (id. at 212-13). In April 2017, over a year and a half later, Collins filed a “motion for appropriate relief” with the state appellate court. The motion was denied (id. at 219-21). Collins did not appeal the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.

         Between October 2015 and January 2016, Collins filed various motions for state post-conviction relief, but the motions were denied in February 2016 (Doc. 10 at 7-8). Collins filed a motion for “unaltered discovery documents” in April 2016, which was denied in May 2016 (Doc. 7-1 at 365-75). In June 2017, Collins filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Ohio Supreme Court (id. at 376-84). The petition was dismissed in September 2017 (id. at 464).

         On October 31, 2017, Collins filed this Petition (Doc. 1).

         Standard of Review

         A district court shall not grant a habeas corpus petition with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in the state courts unless the adjudication resulted in a decision that (1) was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law as determined by the Supreme Court; or (2) was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented to the state courts. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). To determine whether a state court decision is contrary to or an unreasonable application of clearly established Supreme Court precedent, courts look only to the holdings of Supreme Court decisions as of the time of the relevant state court decision. Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 71-72 (2003). A state court's factual findings are presumed correct unless rebutted by clear and convincing evidence. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Moore v. Mitchell, 708 F.3d 760, 774-75 (6th Cir. 2013).


         As an initial matter, Collins makes several conclusory criticisms of, and general objections to, the R&R as a whole. However, he does not offer any specific factual or legal basis for many of these statements. The purpose of written objections is “to provide the district court with the opportunity to consider the specific contentions of the parties” and to “focus attention on those issues-factual and legal-that are at the heart of the parties' dispute.” Kelly v. Withrow, 25 F.3d 363, 365 (6th Cir. 1994) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “A general objection to the entirety of the magistrate's report has the same effects as would a failure to object. The district court's attention is not focused on any specific issues for review, thereby making the initial reference to the magistrate useless.” Howard v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991). “[V]ague, general, or conclusory objections” do not trigger this Court's de novo review. See Cole v. Yukins, 7 Fed.Appx. 354, 356 (6th Cir. 2001). This Court will therefore address only Collins' specific objections.

         The R&R recommends dismissing the Petition as time barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A). Collins does not raise any specific objections to the conclusion that the Petition is time barred absent tolling, or that statutory tolling is insufficient to save the Petition (see Doc. 10 at 12-15). Instead, he contends that traditional equitable tolling and actual innocence tolling apply (Doc. 11 at 2-7, 10-12). In the alternative, he argues the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) “as written and as applied in this case unconstitutionally restricts this Court's ability to remedy federal Constitutional violations” (id. at 10, 12-13). Collins further argues that he never entered a guilty plea, and that the state court and R&R findings that a guilty plea was entered, and entered knowingly ...

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