The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a Shelby County inmate’s petition for post-conviction relief because the inmate failed to timely file his petition or prove an exception to timely filing. A post-conviction petition must be filed “within one (1) year of the date of the final action of the highest state appellate court to which an appeal is taken or, if no appeal is taken, within one (1) year of the date on which the judgment became final.” T.C.A. § 40-30-102(a). The statutory exceptions to the rule are as follows:
(1) The claim in the petition is based upon a final ruling of an appellate court establishing a constitutional right that was not recognized as existing at the time of the trial, if retrospective application of that right is required. Such petition must be filed within one (1) year of the ruling of the highest state appellate court or the United States [S]upreme [C]ourt establishing a constitutional right that was not recognized as existing at the time of the trial;
(2) The claim in the petition is based upon new scientific evidence establishing that the petitioner is actually innocent of the offense or offenses for which the petitioner was convicted; or
(3) The claim asserted in the petition seeks relief from a sentence that was enhanced because of a previous conviction and such conviction in the case in which the claim is asserted was not a guilty plea with an agreed sentence, and the previous conviction has subsequently been held to be invalid, in which case the petition must be filed within one (1) year of the finality of the ruling holding the previous conviction invalid.
T.C.A. § 40-30-102(b)(1)-(3). Also, “in very limited circumstances,” due process principles may require tolling of the post-conviction statute of limitations. Seals v. State, 23 S.W.3d 272 (Tenn. 2000) (due process required tolling the statute of limitations because of mental incompetence).
In the case at hand, the inmate filed a petition nearly three and one-half years after the judgment became final. Since neither the statutory grounds nor due process principles applied to toll the statute of limitations, the court of criminal appeals affirmed the post-conviction court’s dismissal of the petition.
Britton v. State, No. W2016-01298-CCA-R3-PC (Tenn. Crim. App. Aug. 21, 2017)