United States District Court, D. Maryland
WILLIE E. CHATMAN, Petitioner,
WARDEN DOVEY, et al. Respondents.
L. Russell, III United States District Judge
February 1, 2016, Petitioner Willie Chatman filed the instant
28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition attacking his
2012 convictions and sentences on drug offenses entered in
the Circuit Court for Washington County, Maryland. (ECF Nos.
1, 4). Respondents Warden Dovey and the Attorney General of
the State of Maryland filed an Answer on April 20, 2016. (ECF
No. 8). Although afforded additional time to file a Reply,
Chatman has not done so. The Court finds no need for an
evidentiary hearing. See Rule 8(a), Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District
Courts and Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016); see also
Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455 (4th Cir. 2000)
(holding that district court did not err in refusing to grant
habeas petitioner a hearing under 28 U.S.C.
§2254(e)(2)). For the reasons that follow, the Petition
will be denied and dismissed with prejudice.
State Court Proceedings
was charged in the Circuit Court for Washington County with
multiple counts of possession of a controlled dangerous
substance (“CDS”) and possession with intent to
distribute CDS, based upon evidence that was seized during
the search of Chatman's apartment. (ECF Nos. 8-1, 8-2).
Chatman's motion to suppress the evidence, heard on March
22, 2012, was denied by Circuit Court Judge Daniel Dwyer on
April 4, 2012. (Id.). On May 12, 2012, Chatman's
case was tried before a jury, Circuit Court Judge Kenneth
Long presiding. At the conclusion of trial, the jury found
Chatman guilty of four counts of possession of CDS and two
counts of possession of CDS with the intent to distribute.
(ECF Nos. 8-1, 8-3, 8-7). Chatman was sentenced to a
cumulative twenty-year term of confinement. (ECF No. 8-1).
counseled direct appeal, Chatman raised claims of: trial
court abuse of discretion for the failure to investigate a
juror asking the rest of the jury, before evidence had been
presented, “how can he be not guilty;” trial
court lack of subject matter jurisdiction to order the
forfeiture of Chatman's property; and trial court error
in determining that sufficient probable cause supported the
search of the specific residence named in the search warrant.
(ECF No. 8-4). The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
reversed the trial court's forfeiture order, but
otherwise affirmed Chatman's judgment of conviction. (ECF
No. 8-7). Chatman only sought further review of one question
in the Court of Appeals of Maryland, going to his juror
misconduct claim. He posed the following question:
Under Johnson v. State, 423 Md. 137 (2011), in which
this Court said, “the [trial] court has a duty to fully
investigate allegations of juror misconduct before ruling on
a motion for a mistrial, and that failure to conduct a voir
dire examination of the jurors before resolving the issue of
prejudice is an abuse of the trial judge's discretion,
” is “juror misconduct” limited to
misconduct between “a juror and a witness, defendant or
third party, ” as the Court of Special Appeals held, or
does it extend to instances of misconduct between jurors,
i.e. when, as here, one juror asked the rest of the jury
before deliberation “how can he be not guilty?”
(ECF No. 8-8).
21, 2014, the Court of Appeals denied Chatman's request
for further review. (ECF No. 8-9).
instituted state post-conviction proceedings on October 28,
2014. (ECF Nos. 8-1, 8-9, 8-10). He raised claims for
ineffective assistance of counsel and due process violations.
(ECF Nos. 8-9, 8-10). A hearing was held on April 1, 2015.
(ECF No. 1). On May 5, 2015, the Circuit Court issued a
statement of reasons for denying the petition. (ECF No.
8-10). The decision became final thirty days later, before
Chatman's June 10, 2015 application for leave to appeal
was filed. (ECF No. 8-11). On August 13, 2015, the appeal was
dismissed as untimely by the Court of Special Appeals of
Maryland. (ECF No. 8-12).
Procedurally Defaulted Claims
asserts three claims: (1) the trial judge abused his
discretion when he neglected to fully investigate the
allegation of juror misconduct; (2) the trial court erred in
determining there was probable cause to support the search of
the residence named in the search warrant; and (3) the
sentencing guidelines applied to his case were incorrect.
(ECF No. 1 at 6; ECF No. 4 at 6). Respondents argue that