United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
before the Court is a § 2254 Petition for a Writ of
Habeas Corpus filed by Petitioner, Willie Porchia
(“Porchia”). Doc. 2. Before addressing
Porchia's habeas claims, the Court will review the
relevant procedural history of the case in state court.
20, 2013, a jury in Ouachita County found Porchia guilty of
four counts of delivery of a controlled substance within 1,
000 feet of a church. Porchia was sentenced as a habitual
offender to four ten-year terms on each of the delivery
convictions and four ten-year terms on the proximity
enhancement,  to be served consecutively. Doc.
appealed his conviction. On November 19, 2014, the Arkansas
Court of Appeals affirmed, ruling that neither of the two
trial errors raised by Porchia were preserved for
appeal. Porchia v. State, 2014 Ark.App.
662 (“Porcia I”).
February 19, 2015, Porchia filed a pro se Rule 37
petition in the trial court raising various ineffective
assistance of counsel claims. Doc. 10-3 at 366-375.
On March 20, 2015, the trial court held that it lacked
jurisdiction over Porchia's claims because his Rule 37
Petition was filed beyond the sixty-day time period for
seeking such post-conviction relief. Doc. 10-3, pp.
attempted to appeal the denial of Rule 37 relief, but he
filed his pro se notice of appeal too late. On
November 17, 2016, the Arkansas Supreme Court denied
Porchia's request to file a belated appeal. Porchia
v. State, 2016 Ark. 403 (“Porchia
II”); Doc. 14-12.
January 7, 2019, Porchia, initiated this § 2254 habeas
action in which he asserts ten claims of ineffective
assistance of trial counsel, five claims of ineffective
assistance of appellate counsel, three claims of trial error,
and additional allegations that he was deprived of a fair
trial and an impartial jury based on assorted discovery,
confrontation, and due process violations. Doc. 1 &
5. Porchia also alleges that that he is
“actually innocent” of the sentencing enhancement
under Ark. Code Ann. § 5-64-411. Doc. 2 at
Response, Respondent argues that Porchia's habeas
Petition must be dismissed because all of his claims are both
time-barred and procedurally defaulted. Doc. 10.
Porchia has filed a Reply. Doc. 12. Thus, the issues
are joined and ready for disposition.
reasons explained below, the Court concludes that all of
Porchia's habeas claims are barred by the one-year
statute of limitations contained in 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1). Accordingly, his habeas Petition must be
dismissed, with prejudice.
Porchia Is Not Entitled To Any Statutory Tolling
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA), a one-year statute of limitations governs a state
prisoner's federal habeas corpus challenge to his
conviction. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). In most cases,
including this one, the limitations period begins to run on
“the date on which the judgment became final by the
conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for
seeking such review.” § 2244(e)(1)(A).
state prisoner fails to seek discretionary review of his
conviction in the state's highest court, the judgment
becomes “final” when the time for seeking such
review expires. Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134,
150 (2012); see Johnson v. Hobbs, 678 F.3d 607, 610
(8th Cir. 2012) (in cases decided by the Arkansas Court of
Appeals, a conviction becomes “final” when the
prisoner can no longer file a petition for review with the
Arkansas Supreme Court).
November 19, 2014, the Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed
Porchia's conviction. From that date, Porchia had
eighteen calendar days to file a petition for review with the
Arkansas Supreme Court. Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 2-4(a) (stating
petitions for review must be filed within 18 calendar days of
the date of the Arkansas Court of Appeals' decision).
Because the eighteenth day fell on Sunday, December 7, 2014,
Porchia's last day to file a timely petition for review
was December 8, 2014. See Ark. R. App. P. - Crim 17.
By electing not to seek such review, Porchia's conviction
was final and AEDPA's statute of ...