United States District Court, D. Maryland
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. Â§2254(e)(2).
For the reasons set forth below, the Petition shall be denied
and a certificate of appealability shall not issue.
Factual and Procedural History
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.
March 2, 1972, Sallie was sentenced to life imprisonment. ECF
8-1 at 4. 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,
petition, Sallie asserts that the trial judge failed to
comply with Maryland Rule 4-246(b). 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. 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.
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.
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
Applicable Statutory Standards
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); see also Wall v. Kholi, 562 U.S.
545, 549 (2011).
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. Â§2244(d)(2);
Harris v. Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir.
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. § ...