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Sallie v. Dovey

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 17, 2016

WILLIAM SALLIE, #484-480 Petitioner


         William Sallie, a self-represented Maryland prisoner, seeks habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. ECF 1 and ECF 5 (Supplemental Petition) (collectively, the “Petition”). He attacks his 1972 conviction in the Circuit Court for Harford County for rape, assault with intent to rape, and assault and battery. Sallie also submitted exhibits in support of the Petition. The Warden of the Roxbury Correctional Institution and the Maryland Attorney General (collectively, the “State”) have responded and offered a single exhibit, the docket sheet outlining proceedings relating to Sallie's criminal case. See ECF 8 and ECF 8-1. Sallie has replied. ECF 10. After reviewing the petition, answer and reply, the court finds no need for an evidentiary hearing. See Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts; see also 28 U.S.C. §2254(e)(2). For the reasons set forth below, the Petition shall be denied and a certificate of appealability shall not issue.

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         A. State Proceedings

         Sallie was charged in the Circuit Court for Harford County with rape and related offenses. He elected to be tried by a judge, and was convicted on January 14, 1972.

         On March 2, 1972, Sallie was sentenced to life imprisonment. ECF 8-1 at 4.[1] Judgment was affirmed on appeal. ECF 8-1 at 7. After completing direct appeal of his conviction, Sallie sought collateral review, filing several petitions for post-conviction relief. Each was denied. ECF 8-1 at 7-8, docket entries for March 8 and March 15, 2074, July 9, 1975, June 16, 1976, January 28, 1977, April 26, 1977, Sept. 7, 1983, and Dec. 7, 1983. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed the denial of a motion filed on April 6, 2015, seeking to reopen post-conviction proceedings. ECF 8-1 at 2, 9.

         B. Federal Proceedings

         In his petition, Sallie asserts that the trial judge failed to comply with Maryland Rule 4-246(b).[2] He also asserts that counsel provided ineffective assistance by allowing the case to proceed before a judge, rather than explaining what a trial by a jury entailed and by failing to file a motion in limine to suppress direct testimony concerning a “wet look” jacket described by the victim. ECF 1-1 at 1-4. He also notes a “rape kit” was not done. ECF 10 at 5.[3] Sallie complains that his sentence restricts his ability to obtain parole (ECF 10 at 1), and states that his was a “capital case where the only evidence used to sustain this conviction was unsupported, ” with “unreliable witness testimony.” Id. at 3-5.[4]

         In a limited answer to the petition, the State asserts that the merits of Sallie's claims cannot be examined because the Petition is untimely, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d), and Sallie has provided no basis for applying the doctrine of equitable tolling. ECF 8 at 3-4.

         In reply, Sallie argues that his limited knowledge of the law is sufficient to invoke the doctrine. He further contends that the interest of justice mandates federal review, because his sentence violates the Eighth Amendment. ECF 10 at 1-2.[5]

         II. Applicable Statutory Standards

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”) was enacted and signed into law on April 24, 1996. Prior to AEDPA, there was no time limitation on when a prisoner could file an original action for habeas corpus relief in federal court. AEDPA introduced a one-year limitations period for state prisoners filing under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The one-year period that applies to habeas petitions begins to run on the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or, if no appeal is taken, upon the expiration of the time for seeking such review. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A)[6]; see also Wall v. Kholi, 562 U.S. 545, 549 (2011).

         Petitioners whose conviction were finalized before April 24, 1996, 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); Hernandez v. Caldwell, 225 F.3d 435, 438-39 (4th Cir. 2000) (one-year period expired on April 24, 1997). The one-year period is tolled while properly filed post-conviction proceedings are pending and may otherwise be equitably tolled. See 28 U.S.C. §2244(d)(2); Harris v. Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir. 2000).

         III. Discussion

         Here, the limitations period began to run on April 24, 1996, the date on which AEDPA was enacted, and expired one year later, on April 24, 1997. Between April 24, 1997 and March 11, 2002, when Sallie filed an unspecified “motion” in the Circuit Court (see ECF 8-1 at 9, Opinion of June 4, 2007 (Plitt, J.), denying relief), there were no proceedings in State court that would serve to toll the limitations period of 28 U.S.C. § ...

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