United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
W. Grimm, United States District Judge
Victor Jan Morrison, a prisoner housed at the Western
Correctional Institution, filed a motion seeking habeas
corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254 on September 30, 2015. Pet., ECF NO.1. Morrison claims
that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by
failing to communicate the Sate's plea offers and ensure
that he understood them. Id. at 9-10;
Pet'r's Resp. 2, 4, ECF NO.8. After reviewing the
parties' submissions, I find no need for an evidentiary
hearing. See Loc. R. 105(6); 28 U.S.C. S 2254(e)(2).
For the reasons set forth herein, the petition shall be
dismissed and a certificate of appealability shall not be
and Factual History
19, 2009, Morrison turned himself in to the authorities for a
robbery that occurred at a Wachovia Bank in Ellicott City,
Maryland the previous day. Md. Ct. Spec. App. Op. 1-2, ECF
No. 5-2. Morrison was subsequently charged in the Circuit
Court for Howard County with robbery, second-degree assault,
and theft. Cir. Ct. Howard Cnty., Md. Docket 3, ECF No.
Following a court order for a competency evaluation, Morrison
was found competent and ultimately criminally responsible.
Id. at 5-6; Competency Hr'g Tr. 4:21-5:5, ECF
No. 7-1. A jury convicted Morrison of robbery and theft of
over $500. Cir. Ct. Howard Cnty. Docket 2-3. Morrison was
sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. Answer 4, ECF No.
appealed, and on March 28, 2011, the Maryland Court of
Special Appeals affirmed the conviction. Md. Ct. Spec. App.
Op. 6. Morrison did not seek further review in the Maryland
Court of Appeals, and, thus, his judgment became final on
April 12, 2011, when the time for seeking such review
expired. Answer 5; see also Md. Rule 8-302.
thereafter, Morrison filed a petition for post-conviction
relief in the Circuit Court for Howard County claiming, among
other things, that his trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to communicate the Sate's plea offers to him and
ensure that he understood them. Pet. Post-Conviction Relief
5, ECF No. 7-6; Cir. Ct. Howard Cnty. Docket 9. Following a
hearing, the Circuit Court issued a decision on April 2, 2014
granting Morrison a belated panel review of his sentence
before a three-judge panel, but otherwise denying
post-conviction relief. Post-Conviction Mem. Op. 16, ECF No.
filed an application for leave to appeal the denial of his
ineffective of counsel claim. Appl. Leave Appeal, ECF No.
7-8. On February 15, 2015, the Court of Special Appeals
denied Morrisonss application and issued a mandate the
following month. Md. Ct. Spec. App. Mandate, ECF No. 5-3.
as I can discern, Morrisonss request for habeas relief
reasserts his claim that that trial counsel was ineffective
for failing to communicate the plea offers to him. Pet. 9-10;
Pet'r's Resp. 2, 4. For the reasons discussed below,
Morrison is not entitled to relief.
previously determined that the petition was filed within the
one-year limitations period set forth in 28 U.S.C. S
2244(d)(1). ECF NO.6. Further, Morrison no longer has any
state direct review available to him with respect to the
claim presented. See Answer 8. Thus, his claims are
exhausted for the purpose of federal habeas corpus review.
See 28 U.S.C. S 2254(c).
ineffective assistance of counsel claim will be analyzed
under the statutory framework of the federal habeas statute,
28 U.S.C. S 2254, which sets forth a "highly deferential
standard for evaluating state-court rulings." Lindh
v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333 n.7 (1997); see also
Bell v. Cone, 543 U.S. 447, 455 (2005). The standard is
"difficult to meet, " Cullen v.
Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 180 (2011) (quoting
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011)), and
requires courts to "give state-court decisions the
benefit of the doubt, " id. (quoting
Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24(2002)).
federal court may not grant a writ of habeas corpus unless
the state's adjudication on the merits: (1)
"resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or
involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established
federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United
States, " or (2) "resulted in a decision that was
based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light
of the evidence presented in the State court
proceeding." 28 U.S.C. S 2254(d).
adjudication is contrary to clearly established federal law
under S 2254(d)(1) where the state court (1) "arrives at
a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the Supreme] Court
on a question of law, " or (2) "confronts facts
that are materially indistinguishable from a relevant Supreme
Court precedent and arrives at a result opposite to [the
Supreme Court]." Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S.
362, 405 (2000). Under the "unreasonable
application" analysis under 2254(d)(1), a "state
court's determination that a claim lacks merit precludes
federal habeas relief so long as 'fairminded jurists
could disagree' on the correctness of the state
court's decision"" Harrington, 562
U.S. at 101 (quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541
U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). "[A] federal habeas court may not
issue the writ simply because [it] concludes in its
independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision
applied established federal law erroneously or