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Sparkman v. Shearin

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

November 7, 2013

RONALD SPARKMAN, Petitioner,
v.
BOBBY P. SHEARIN, et al., Respondents.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROGER W. TITUS, District Judge.

In answer to Petitioner's application for a writ of habeas corpus, Respondents move to dismiss the petition as time-barred. ECF No. 6. A one-year statute of limitations applies to habeas petitions in non-capital cases for a person convicted in a state court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).[1] This one-year period is, however, tolled while properly filed post-conviction proceedings are pending and may otherwise be equitably tolled. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2); Harris v. Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir. 2000). In accordance with the decision in Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701, 704 (4th Cir. 2002), Petitioner was afforded an opportunity to explain why his § 2254 petition should not be dismissed as time-barred. Petitioner has responded. ECF No. 10.

On May 17, 2007, Petitioner was convicted, after a jury trial in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, of first-degree murder and related handgun offenses. ECF No. 6, Ex. 1 & 2. On July 24, 2007, he was sentenced to life in prison, plus a consecutive 20 year term for using a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence. Id.

Petitioner noted a timely appeal, raising the following claims:

1. Did the court below err by admitting into evidence a letter purportedly written by Appellant?
2. Was the evidence legally sufficient to sustain Appellant's convictions?

Id., Ex. 2. On March 26, 2009, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed Petitioner's convictions. Id. On August 24, 2009, the Court of Appeals denied Petitioner's Petition for Writ of Certiorari, which raised only the claim concerning admitting the letter into evidence. Id., Ex.

2. Petitioner did not seek review in the Supreme Court of the United States.

On September 16, 2010, Petitioner filed a Motion for a New Trial based on newly discovered evidence. Id., Exs. 1 & 3. Following a hearing, the Circuit Court denied the motion on January 25, 2011. Id., Ex. 1 & 3. Petitioner's appeal was denied on May 3, 2012, by the Court of Special Appeals, and the Court of Appeals denied Petitioner's request for review on August 21, 2012. Id.

Petitioner has not instituted state post-conviction proceedings. ECF No. 1.

In the instant petition, Petitioner asserts the following claims:

1. Motion for New Trial: Police report reporting other suspect;
2. Motion for New Trial; DNA results withheld by state;
3. Motion for New Trial: Eye witness testified petitioner wasn't present on the scene ...

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