United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. Hazel United States District Judge.
March 4, 2016, Petitioner Anthony Tremell Chase filed the
instant 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus application
attacking his 1993 convictions. ECF No. 1. On May 2, 2016,
Respondents filed an Answer which solely addresses the
timeliness of Chase's application. ECF No. 3. Chase was
advised of his opportunity to file a reply, ECF No. 4, and he
has now done so. ECF No. 7. For the foregoing reasons,
Chase's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is denied.
was convicted by the Circuit Court for Prince George's
County, Maryland of first degree murder, kidnapping, and
armed robbery of Mary Bernice Edelen, and the attempted first
degree murder and kidnapping of Angela Annette Edelen. Chase
was also convicted of burglary, unlawful use of a handgun,
and related offenses. ECF No. 1; ECF No. 1 -1; ECF No. 3-1.
On May 28, 1993, Chase was sentenced to life without parole
plus a consecutive 70 years imprisonment. Id.
noted a timely appeal. ECF No. 3-1 at 9. The Court of
Special Appeals of Maryland, in an unreported opinion filed
on July 13, 1994, upheld Chase's conviction. ECF No. 1;
ECF No. 3-1 at 12. The court issued its mandate on August 12,
1994. ECF No. 3-1 at 12. Chase did not seek further review of
his conviction and sentence. Chase's judgment of
conviction thus became final in 1994. On January 17, 1997,
Chase filed a petition for postconviction relief in the
Circuit Court for Prince George's County, which he
withdrew on September 24, 1997. ECF No. 3-1. He filed another
petition for post-conviction relief on October 24, 1997,
which he withdrew on October 16, 1998. Id.
February 11, 2005, Chase filed another petition for
post-conviction relief. As a result of these proceedings, on
November 30, 2005, he was granted the opportunity to file a
belated motion for reconsideration of sentence. ECF No. 1; ECF
No. 3-1. The petition was denied in all other respects.
Id. Chase filed an application for leave to appeal
the denial of post-conviction relief which was denied on
April 18, 2006. Id. The court issued its mandate on
May 23, 2006. Id. On January 29, 2014, Chase moved
to reopen the closed post-conviction proceedings. The motion
was denied on August 1, 2014. ECF No. 3-1. Chase's
application for leave to appeal the denial of the motion to
reopen was denied on December 22, 2015; the court issued its
mandate on January 26, 2016. Id.
April 24, 1996, President Clinton signed the Antiterrorism
and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA") of 1996
into law. Among the changes made by this law was the addition
of a one-year statute of limitations in non-capital cases for
persons convicted in a state court. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).
Although the statute is silent as to how it should be applied
to persons like Chase, whose convictions were finalized
before April 24, 1996, it was later clarified that such
persons had one year from the effective date, i.e., until
April 24, 1997, to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus
in federal court. See Brown v. Angelone, 150 F.3d
370, 375 (4th Cir. 1998). This one year period is, however,
tolled while properly filed post-conviction proceedings are
pending. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2); Harris v.
Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir. 2000);
Hernandez, 225 F.3d at 439 (4th Cir. 2000).
had no proceedings pending from the effective date of the
AEDPA, April 24, 1996, until January 17, 1997, when he first
filed a petition for post-conviction relief- a period of
eight months. ECF No. 3-1. The statute of limitations was
tolled from January 17, 1997, until Chase withdrew the
petition on September 24, 1997. Id. Another month of
the limitations period lapsed from the withdrawal of the
petition on September 24, 1997, until Chase refilled a
petition for post-conviction relief on October 24, 1997.
Id. The balance of the limitations period expired
between Chase's withdrawal of his post-conviction
petition on October 16, 1998, and the date he refiled
post-conviction proceedings, over seven years later, on
December 1, 2005. ECF No. 1; ECF No. 3-1.
Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631 (2010), the Supreme
Court concluded that equitable tolling applies to the
AEDPA's statute of limitations. Id. at 633.
Specifically, the Court found that in order to be entitled to
equitable tolling, the movant must show (1) that he has
diligently pursued his rights and (2) that some extraordinary
circumstance prevented the timely filing. Id. at
649. The question of whether equitable tolling applies hinges
on the facts and circumstances of each particular case.
See Harris v. Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 329-30 (4th
response, Chase indicates that he filed a motion for
reconsideration of sentence which was denied on April 26,
2006, and that he had several petitions for post-conviction
relief filed during his incarceration. ECF No. 7 at 1. Chase
further offers that he has "continuously had some type
of motion pending in the state courts." Id. As
noted above, there were large periods of time where Chase did
not have properly filed post-conviction proceedings pending
which would toll the limitations period. Chase's
arguments do not support equitable tolling of the limitations
pro se status and any attendant lack of knowledge of the law
is not the type of extraordinary circumstance which would
justify equitable tolling. See Barrow v. New Orleans S.S.
Ass 'n, 932 F.2d 473, 478 (5th Cir. 1991) (refusing
to apply equitable tolling where the delay in filing was the
result of petitioner's unfamiliarity with the legal
process or his lack of legal representation); Rouse v.
Lee, 339 F.3d 238, 248-49 (4th Cir. 2003) (negligent
mistake by party's counsel in interpreting AEDPA statute
of limitations does not present extraordinary circumstances
warranting equitable tolling); Smith v. McGinnis,
208 F.3d 13, 18 (2d Cir. 2000) (pro se status does
not establish sufficient ground for equitable tolling);
Felder v. Johnson, 204 F.3d 168, 171-73 (5th Cir.
2000) (lack of notice of AEDPA amendments and ignorance of
the law are not rare and exceptional circumstances that
warrant equitable tolling); Francis v. Miller, 198
F.Supp.2d 232, 235 (E.D.N.Y.2002) (ignorance of the law and
legal procedure is not so exceptional as to merit equitable
tolling). Therefore, the Petition shall be dismissed as
time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).
Rule 11(a) of the Rules Governing Proceedings under Section
2254 "the district court must issue or deny a
certificate of appealability when it enters a final order
adverse to the applicant. .. If the court issues a
certificate, the court must state the specific issue or
issues that satisfy the showing required by 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(2)." In Slack v. McDamel,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 COA [certificate of appealability] 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.
Chase does not satisfy ...