United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge.
response to the above-captioned Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254, Respondents assert
that the petition is time-barred. (ECF No. 3). The Court
granted Petitioner David Gatton 28 days to file a Reply, to
address whether his petition is time-barred and provide
argument that he is entitled to an equitable tolling of the
statute of limitations. (ECF No. 4). Gatton has filed his
Reply. (ECF No. 5). No hearing is necessary. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016).
1, 2000, Gatton pled guilty to murder in the second degree
and one count of use of a handgun in the commission of a
crime of violence in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City,
Maryland. (ECF No. 3-1). The Circuit Court sentenced Gatton
to serve 48 years in prison. (Id.).
filed an application for leave to appeal which was denied by
the Court of Special Appeals in an unreported decision on May
7, 2001. (ECF No. 3-2). Gatton sought no further review with
the United States Supreme Court, making his conviction final
August 6, 2001, the date for seeking such review expired.
See Sup. Ct. Rule 13.1. Absent tolling of the
one-year limitation for seeking federal habeas relief, the
deadline for Gatton to file a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus was August 6, 2002, or one year after his conviction
filed a petition for post-conviction relief on May 12, 2005,
in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. That petition was
denied on January 25, 2006. (ECF No. 3-1). The Court of
Special Appeals summarily denied Gatton's application for
leave to appeal the denial of post-conviction relief on June
22, 2006, with the court's mandate issuing on July 27,
2006. (ECF No. 3-3). Because the one-year filing deadline had
already passed when Gatton sought post-conviction relief,
these proceedings did not toll the filing deadline under 28
U.S.C. §2244(d)(2), which states that the filing
deadline is tolled while properly filed post-conviction
proceedings are pending.
moved to reopen post-conviction proceedings on December 27,
2011, and the Circuit Court for Baltimore City denied
Gatton's motion on February 6, 2014. (ECF No. 3-1). He
filed an application for leave to appeal the decision; the
Court of Special Appeals denied the application on December
15, 2014, with the court's mandate issuing on January 14,
2015. (ECF No. 3-4). These proceedings also did not operate
to toll the one-year filing period under 28 U.S.C.
order to reach the merits of Gatton's claims, there must
be some basis for finding that the petition has been filed in
a timely manner. In his Reply, Gatton relies on the provision
in 28 U.S.C. §2244(d)(1)(C), pertaining to the
recognition of a constitutional right by the United States
Supreme Court. That provision states as follows:
(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an
application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in
custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The
limitation period shall run from the latest of-
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was
initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has
been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made
retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review;
28 U.S.C. §2244(d)(1)(C).
relies on one Supreme Court case and two subsequent decisions
issued by the Maryland appellate courts. (ECF No. 5 at 2-3).
Gatton relies on the Supreme Court case Bradshaw v.
Stumpf, 545 U.S. 175 (2005), for the proposition that a
guilty plea is not voluntary where a criminal defendant is
not informed of the crime's elements. See id. at
183 (citing Henderson v. Morgan, 426 U.S. 367
(1976)). Gatton further relies on the Court's observation
that “the court taking a defendant's plea is
responsible for ensuring a record adequate for any review
that may later be sought.” Id. at 183
(internal quotation and citation omitted). The Court also
observed, however, that “the constitutional
prerequisites of a valid plea may be satisfied where the
record accurately reflects that the nature of the charge and
the elements of the crime were explained to the defendant by
his own, competent counsel.” Id. The Maryland
appellate decisions Gatton relies on, Abrams v.
State, 933 A.2d 887, 900 (2007) and State v.
Daughtry, 18 A.3d 60, 81 (2011), apply the holding of
Bradshaw to particular guilty plea proceedings from
the Maryland state courts. The Maryland Court of Appeals in
Daughtry held that the requirements of Maryland Rule
4-242(c) are met when the court relies on the defendant's
affirmation that he discussed his guilty plea with his
counsel. 18 A.3d at 81.
reliance on Bradshaw is misplaced. First,
Bradshaw was decided in 2011. Thus, even if it had
announced a newly recognized a constitutional right, which it
does not, the deadline for filing a federal habeas petition
relying on that right was 2012. Second, Bradshaw
does not announce a newly recognized constitutional right
made retroactive to cases on collateral review. A
constitutional right can only be made retroactive by a
holding of the Supreme Court. See Tyler v. Cain, 533
U.S. 656, 664 (2001), see also Beard v. Banks, 542
U.S. 406, 412 (2004) (observing that principle that not all
newly recognized constitutional requirements apply
retroactively acts as limitation on federal courts' power
to grant habeas corpus relief). Nothing in the
Bradshaw decision indicates that it is a watershed
case or that it announces a new rule which must be applied
reliance on Maryland appellate court decisions is also
misplaced. In order for the alternative calculation of the
starting date of the one-year filing deadline found in
2244(d)(1)(C) to apply, the precedent relied upon must be a
decision issued by the United States Supreme Court. Thus, the
one-year period for Gatton to file a federal habeas ...