United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD L. BASSFORD, Petitioner
BETTY JOHNSON, et al., Respondents
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
January 27, 2014, Petitioner Richard L. Bassford filed the
instant 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus application
attacking his conviction and sentence for theft over $1, 000
entered in the Circuit Court for St. Mary's
County. ECF 1. Respondents filed an Answer. ECF 7.
Petitioner has replied. ECF 8. The Court finds no need for an
evidentiary hearing. See Rule 8(a), Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District
Courts and Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016); see also
Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455 (4th Cir. 2000)
(Petitioner not entitled to a hearing under 28 U.S.C.
§2254(e)(2)). For the reasons to follow, the Petition
will be denied and dismissed with prejudice.
Richard L. Bassford was charged in the Circuit Court for St.
Mary's County with theft between $, 1000 and $10, 000 and
related offenses. ECF 7-1, pp. 1-5. On July 8, 2011, he pled
guilty to one count of theft between $1, 000 and $10, 000.
ECF 7-2. The remaining offenses were nolle prossed. ECF 7-1;
7-2. The parties and the court agreed to a sentence of eight
years. ECF 7-2, pp. 3, 6.
colloquy was conducted by the court. Id., pp. 4-9.
Bassford stated he entered the plea to one count of theft
between $1, 000 and $10, 000 and that he faced an eight year
term of incarceration. Id., pp. 5-6. He acknowledged
that he had discussed the elements of the offense with his
defense counsel. Id, p. 9. He acknowledged the
voluntariness of the plea and confirmed that he knowingly
waived his rights to: a jury trial, confront witnesses,
remain silent, and present a defense. Id., pp. 4-9.
Bassford confirmed his satisfaction with his counsel's
performance. He affirmed that he entered the plea voluntarily
because it was in his best interest and that he understood
the terms of the agreement and that those terms were
acceptable to him. Id., pp. 8-9.
support of the plea, the State recited the following facts
into the record:
Your Honor, on Saturday, November 27, 2010, Trooper Weisemann
of the Maryland State Police responded to the parking lot of
Big Lots here in Lexington Park, St. Mary's County,
When he arrived on the scene, he made contact with witness
Lawrence Carter, who stated that he was in the parking lot
when he observed two males enter the back of a white van in
the parking lot and remove a paint sprayer from the back of
that vehicle. They then took the paint sprayer and moved it
behind the wall at the end of the parking lot, and they left
Mr. Carter was concerned with the activity that he was
seeing, and so he contacted the sheriff's office. He
would be able to identify the men who took the paint sprayer
as the defendant here today, Mr. Bassford, and his
codefendant, Mr. Nelson.
Contact was made with one of the owners of the vehicle, Miss
Courtney Raley. She advised that the paint sprayer was in the
back of her van; that obviously the paint sprayer was not
there anymore; she had not given anyone permission to take
it; and that the paint sprayer's value was approximately
Mr. Nelson made a statement to law enforcement authorities
indicating that he and Mr. Bassford took the paint sprayer
and removed it because Mr. Bassford was owed money by the
Raleys for some work they had done. Mr. Bassford gave a
statement to the police that later turned out to be
All events occurred in St. Mary's County.
THE COURT: And the value of that paint ...