United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
GEORGE J. HAZEL, District Judge.
Ricky Lee Mannen ("Mannen"), a prisoner currently incarcerated within the Maryland Division of Correction ("DOC") and housed at the Central Maryland Correctional Facility, filed a habeas corpus petition challenging his March 8, 2012 conviction in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City for second-degree assault and a weapons violation. Because Mannen attacks the underlying conviction and/or the sentence imposed by the state court, his petition is construed as a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Court must dismiss his claim, however, because Mannen has not exhausted his remedies.
When filing a federal habeas corpus application under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a petitioner must show that all of his claims have been presented to the state courts. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b) and (c); see also Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 491 (1973). This exhaustion requirement is satisfied by seeking review of the claim in the highest state court with jurisdiction to consider it. In the Maryland state courts, a petitioner seeking to attack his criminal conviction and/or sentence may do so on direct appeal or by post-conviction. Here, Mannen indicates he filed an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland regarding the firearm conviction, but did not seek further appellate review in the Court of Appeals of Maryland. See ECF No. 1 at 2-3. His allegations concerning his plea agreement, as well as his allegations concerning errors committed by his counsel, the prosecutor, and the trial judge, were all raised in his post-conviction petition, which Mannen subsequently withdrew. See ECF No. 1 at 4. Thus, to the extent Mannen wishes to contest his underlying conviction and sentence imposed by the Circuit Court, he did not avail himself of state review of his claims prior to filing the instant petition. Accordingly, the Court cannot consider Mannen's allegations concerning his § 2254 since he did not exhaust his remedies.
When a district court dismisses a habeas petition solely on procedural grounds, a certificate of appealability will not issue unless the petitioner can demonstrate both "(1) that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right' and (2) that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.'" Rouse v. Lee, 252 F.3d 676, 684 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Slack v. Daniel, 529 U.S. ...