United States District Court, D. Maryland
JASON SCOTT, Inmate Identification No. 50651-037, Petitioner,
J.T. SHARTLE, FCC Warden, SUSAN G. McCLINTOCK, USP Warden, Tucson, AZ, and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND, Respondents.
THEODORE D. CHUANG United States District Judge.
Jason Scott, an inmate at the United States Penitentiary in
Tucson, Arizona ("USP-Tucson"), has filed a
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S
2254, two Motions for an Injunction, and a Motion for
Reconsideration. For the reasons set forth below, the
Petition is dismissed, the Motions for an Injunction are
collectively construed as a new Complaint that shall be
transferred to the United States District Court for the
District of Arizona, and the Motion for Reconsideration is
January 20, 2016, Scott filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S 2254 in the District of
Arizona. The Petition challenges Scott's September 25,
2013 conviction in the Circuit Court of Maryland for Prince
Georgess County for murder in the first degree after the
entry of a plea of guilty in which he maintained his
innocence pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford, 400
U.S. 25, 37-39 (1970). On February 9, 2016, the District of
Arizona transferred Scott's Petition, Motion to Toll
AEDPAss One-Year Time Limit to File a Motion to Vacate
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S 2254, and other motions to the
District of Maryland.
Court issued an Order on April 28, 2016 requiring Respondents
("the Government") to file an Answer to the
Petition and denying several motions. Scott filed a Notice of
Interlocutory Appeal from that Order. The United States Court
of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed the interlocutory
appeal on August 23, 2016, with the mandate issuing on
October 17, 2016.
Government filed a Limited Answer to the Petition on June 7,
2016, seeking dismissal of the Petition based on the
arguments that Scott failed to exhaust available state court
remedies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S 2254(b) and that his claims
are now time-barred. On June 24, 2016, Scott filed a Response
to the Limited Answer. The Court ordered Scott to file a
supplemental response specifically to present any evidence
that his claims have been properly exhausted and that the
Petition was timely filed. Scott filed such a supplemental
response on July 8, 2016.
addition to the Petition, there are three motions currently
pending before the Court. On July 5, 2016, Scott filed a
Motion for an Injunction in which he complained about certain
conditions of confinement at USP-Tucson. Scott then filed in
the District of Arizona a Motion for an Injunction and a
Motion for Reconsideration of the Motion to Vacate his
Maryland conviction, which were then transferred to this
Court on August 30, 2016. The two Motions for an Injunction
articulate identical grounds for relief.
entered an Alford plea in the Circuit Court of
Maryland for Prince George's County to two counts of
first-degree murder and was sentenced on September 25, 2013
to life imprisonmen,, with 85 years to be served and the
remainder suspended. Scott did not file a notice of appeal.
Consequently, his judgment became final for purposes of
direct review on October 25, 2013. See Md. Rule
8-204(b)(2) (providing that an application for leave to
appeal must be filed within 30 days after the entry of
judgment or order from which the appeal is sought). Scott has
not filed any state post-conviction proceedings. In his
Petition to this Court, Scott proclaims his innocence, but he
does not specifically define his claims for reliefor provide
grounds to challenge his plea.
Exhaustion of State Court Remedies
Government argues that the Petition should be dismissed
because Scott has not exhausted all available state court
remedies. A petitioner seeking habeas relief in federal court
must exhaust each claim by first pursuing the remedies
available in state court. 28 U.S.C. S 2254(b)(1) (2012);
Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 510 (1982). This
exhaustion requirement is satisfied by seeking review of the
claim in the highest state court with jurisdiction to
consider the claim. See 28 U.S.C. S 2254(c).
person convicted of a criminal offense in Maryland,
exhaustion may be accomplished either on direct appeal or in
post-conviction proceedings. To exhaust a claim on direct
appeal in non-capital cases, a defendant must assert it in an
appeal to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland and then
to the Court of Appeals of Maryland by way of a petition for
a writ of certiorari. See Md. Code Ann., Cts. &
Jud. Proc. SS 12-201, 12-301 (West 2011). To exhaust a claim
through post-conviction proceedings, a defendant must assert
it in a petition filed in the Circuit Court where the inmate
was convicted within 10 years of the date of sentencing.
See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. SS 7-101 to -103
(West 2011). After a decision on a petition, further review
is available through an application for leave to appeal filed
with the Court of Special Appeals. Id. S 7-109. If
the Court of Special Appeals denies the application, there is
no further review available and the claim is exhausted. Md.
Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. S 12-202. However, if the
application is granted but relief on the merits of the claim
is denied, a petitioner must file a petition for a writ of
certiorari to the Court of Appeals. See Williams v.
State, 438 A.2d 1301, 1304-05 (Md. 1981).
did not file a direct appeal, and the time for. doing so has
long since expired. The 10-year time limit for filing a
post-conviction petition in state court to challenge his 2013
conviction and sentence, however, has not yet expired.
Because Scott has yet to exhaust his state remedies before
the highest court with jurisdiction to consider the ...