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Jeffreys-Bey v. Wolfe

United States District Court, District of Maryland

February 2, 2015

MICHAEL M. JEFFREYS-BEY, #197457 Petitioner,
v.
JOHN WOLFE, et al . Respondents.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Petitioner Michael Jeffreys-Bey, a state inmate incarcerated at the Jessup Correctional Institution, filed the instant self-represented “flesh and blood”[1] Petition for habeas corpus relief challenging his 1989 convictions in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County.[2] Respondents have filed a Limited Response which addressed the timeliness of the Petition. ECF No. 9. Jeffreys-Bey, who was granted additional time to file a Reply, has done so.[3] ECF No. 12. Upon review of the papers and exhibits, the court finds no need for an evidentiary hearing. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2); Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. For reasons that follow, the court concludes that the Petition is time-barred, and it will be denied and dismissed by separate Order.

Procedural History

On February 3, 1989, a jury convicted Jeffreys-Bey of two counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and two counts of use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. ECF No. 9, Exs. 1 & 2. On March 17, 1989, Circuit Court Judge Graydon S. McKee sentenced Jeffreys-Bey to life plus fifteen years. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed Jeffreys-Bey’s convictions and sentences on December 21, 1989. He did not seek further review in the State appellate courts. Some fifteen years later, on April 21, 2005, Jeffreys-Bey filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court. ECF No. 9, Exs. 1 & 2. The petition was denied by Judge Michael P. Whalen on April 3, 2006. On December 29, 2006, Jeffreys-Bey’s application for leave to appeal was denied by the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. Id., Ex. 3. No further review was taken by Jeffeys-Bey.

On March 19, 2010, Jeffreys-Bey filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence in the Circuit Court, which was denied on July 22, 2010. Id., Exs. 1 & 4. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland denied Jeffreys-Bey’s appeal on September 10, 2013, and issued its mandate on October 11, 2013. Id. Jeffreys-Bey sought no further review in State court. Thus, the determination of his motion to correct an illegal sentence became final under Md. Rule 8-302(a) on October 26, 2013.

Statute of Limitations

Pursuant to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), when filing a federal habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, defendants convicted in state court on a non-capital offense are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. See 28 U.S.C. §2244(d).[4] Jeffreys-Bey, whose conviction became final in January of 1990, had one year from the effective date of AEDPA to file his petition in this Court. See Hernandez v. Caldwell, 225 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2000) (§ 2244(d) one-year limitation period expires on April 24, 1997, for convictions which became final prior to April 24, 1996).

This Petition was not, however, filed until December 3, 2013, approximately fifteen years later.[5] Under a generous construction, no state post-conviction petition was pending to statutorily toll the limitation period under § 2244(d)(2) from April 24, 1996 to April 11, 2005. Thus, this Petition was filed well outside the one-year statute of limitations period.

In his Reply, Jeffreys-Bey seemingly contends that the AEDPA does not apply to this case.[6]ECF No. 12. He offers no cogent explanation for the late filing and the court finds no grounds for equitable tolling.[7] Jeffreys-Bey did not advance his claims within a reasonable time of their availability. His Petition for habeas corpus relief is time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A-D) and shall be dismissed and denied with prejudice.

In Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473 (2000), the Supreme Court held that “[w]hen the district court denies a habeas petition on procedural grounds without reaching the prisoner’s underlying constitutional claim, a Certificate of Appealability (“COA”) should issue when the prisoner shows, at least, that ... jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Slack, 529 U.S. at 484. Jeffreys-Bey does not satisfy this standard, and the court declines to issue a COA. A separate Order shall be entered in accordance herewith.


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