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Watkins v. Wolfe

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 30, 2014

MARVIN DARNELL WATKINS #205-91 Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN JOHN S. WOLFE, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM

WILLIAM M. NICKERSON, District Judge.

Respondent moves to dismiss Marvin Darnell Watkins' Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus as time-barred pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). (ECF 4). Watkins has responded, [1] arguing the applicable limitations period should be deemed equitably tolled because he attempted to return to state court many times to seek an evidentiary hearing to address his post-conviction concerns. He further argues that the one-year limitations period set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2254 constitutes an ex post facto law that improperly restricts the right to seek habeas corpus relief.[2] (ECF 6). After reviewing these papers, the Court finds no need for an evidentiary hearing. See Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts; see also 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2). For reasons set forth herein, the Court shall dismiss the Petition with prejudice as it contains one claim that is not cognizable and otherwise is time-barred.

Procedural History

On February 12, 1990, Watkins pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City to one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder. On March 26, 1990, Watkins was sentenced to life imprisonment with all but 50 years suspended on the first-degree murder conviction, 20 years concurrent incarceration on the second-degree conviction, and five years' probation upon release. (ECF 4-1 and 4-2; ECF 1). Watkins did not file an application for leave to appeal the entry of his guilty plea and sentence. ( Id. ). His judgment of conviction became final for direct appeal purposes in 1990.

On November 25, 1996, Watkins filed a post-conviction petition in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. (ECF 4-1 and 4-2; ECF 1). On October 17, 1997, post-conviction relief was denied. Watkins did not file a timely application for leave to appeal the denial of post-conviction relief. (ECF 4-1; ECF 1). His collateral review proceedings thus became final on November 17, 1997, when the time for doing so expired. See Md. Rule 8-204(b) (application for leave to appeal must be filed within 30 days after entry of judgment or order from which appeal is sought).

On April 1, 2002, Watkins sought to reopen post-conviction proceedings in the Circuit Court. (ECF 1; ECF 4-1). On July 9, 2002, the motion was denied; the ruling on the motion became final on August 8, 2002, when the time for seeking leave to appeal expired. See Md. Rule 8-204(b).

On December 4, 2002, Watkins filed another motion to reopen post-conviction proceedings which was denied on March 13, 2003. (ECF 4-1; ECF 1). The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland denied leave to appeal; the court's mandate issued on July 5, 2005. ( Id.)

While the motion to reopen post-conviction proceedings was pending, Watkins filed a motion to correct illegal sentence in the Circuit Court. The motion was denied by order dated April 7, 2004. (ECF 4-1; ECF 1). A second order denying the motion to correct illegal sentence was entered on June 3, 2004. ( Id. ). This judgment was affirmed by the Court of Special Appeals in an opinion filed on July 28, 2006. The mandate issued on August 28, 2006. (ECF 4-3). Judgment became final on September 12, 2006, when the time for seeking review in the Court of Appeals of Maryland expired. See Md. Rule 8-302 (certiorari petition must be filed no later than 15 days after the Court of Special Appeals issues its mandate).

On March 19, 2008, Watkins filed a motion to reopen post-conviction proceedings, which was denied on April 22, 2008. (ECF 4-1; ECF 1). On May 13, 2009, the Court of Special Appeals denied leave to appeal; the court's mandate issued on June 12, 2009. (ECF 4-4; ECF 1).

On March 27, 2012, Watkins filed another motion to reopen post-conviction proceedings, which was denied on April 27, 2012. His request for en banc review was denied on June 6, 2012. (ECF 4-1; ECF 1).

On July 31, 2012, Watkins filed his second post-conviction petition, which the Circuit Court determined to be a request to reopen post-conviction proceedings and denied on February 19, 2013. (ECF 4-1; ECF 1). Watkins did not file a timely application for leave to appeal that determination, and the ruling became final on March 21, 2013. See Md. Rule 8-204(b).

On May 6, 2013, Watkins filed a motion to reopen post-conviction proceedings, which was denied on July 3, 2013. (ECF 4-1; ECF 1). Watkins' application for leave to appeal was denied on February 21, 2014, with the mandate issuing on March 24, 2014. (ECF 4-1; ECF 1, Ex. 6).

On April 15, 2014, Watkins signed his first federal habeas corpus Petition, received and instituted by the Clerk the following day, [3] presenting two claims: (1) the trial court committed reversible error by failing to comply with the "knowing and intelligent" requirement of Maryland Rule 242(c); and (2) the trial court violated his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by accepting his guilty plea ...


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