United States District Court, D. Maryland
CHRISTIAN DARRELL LEE, Prisoner Identification No. 371696 2452455, Petitioner,
WARDEN and ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MARYLAND, Respondents.
THEODORE D. CHUANG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Darrell Lee, currently confined at the Maryland Correctional
Institution in Hagerstown, Maryland, has filed a Petition for
Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S 2254. The Petition
challenges Lee's 2011 conviction in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore County, Maryland for first-degree murder and a
related firearm offense. On March 2, 2016, Lee supplemented
his Petition pursuant to an Order of this Court and filed a
document entitled "Motion to Correct and Lift Unlawful
and Illegal Detention, " which the Court construed as an
attachment to the Petition. Respondents filed a Limited
Answer to the Petition on June 8, 2016, seeking dismissal of
the Petition on the basis that Lee's claims are
time-barred. On August 10, 2016, the Court issued an Order
granting Lee leave to file a Response to the Limited Answer
to explain why his Petition is not time-barred. Lee has not
done so. For the reasons set forth below, the Petition is
dismissed as time-barred.
January 18, 2008, Lee was convicted by a jury in the Circuit
Court for Baltimore County, Maryland of first-degree murder
and the use of a handgun during the commission of a violent
crime or felony. Lee appealed the conviction, the judgment of
conviction was reversed, and the matter was remanded for a
new trial. See Lee v. State, 12 A.3d 1238, 1254 (Md.
entered a guilty plea on November 9, 2011. On December 9,
2011, the court sentenced Lee to life imprisonment, all but
40 years suspended, for the murder charge and 20 years of
imprisonment on the firearm charge, to run concurrently. Lee
did not file an appeal, so his conviction became final for
purposes of direct review on January 9, 2012. See
Md. Rule 8-204(b)(2) (requiring that an application for leave
to appeal be filed in the Court of Special Appeals
"within 30 days after entry of the judgment or order
from which the appeal is sought").
April 17, 2012, Lee filed a petition for post-conviction
relief in the circuit court, which was denied after a
November 14, 2012 hearing. Lee's application for leave to
appeal the decision, filed on January 11, 2013, was summarily
denied by the Court of Special Appeals in an unreported
opinion on November 14, 2013. The court's mandate issued
on December 16, 2013. Where, as here, the Court of Special
Appeals denies an application for leave to appeal, no further
review is available. See Md. Code Ann., Cts. &
Jud. Proc. S 12-202 (West 2011).
Court received Lee's undated Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus on December 17, 2015. Because the envelope in which
the Petition was mailed was post-marked December 15, 2015,
the Petition shall be deemed filed with this Court on that
date. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 270-76
(1988); United States v. Dorsey, 988 F.Supp. 917,
919-20 (D. Md. 1998) (holding that a petition shall be deemed
to have been filed on the date it was deposited with prison
authorities for mailing under the prison mailbox rule);
see also United States v. McNeill, 523 F.App'x
979, 982-83 (4th Cir. 2013).
Petition to this Court, Lee claims that he has been denied
his right to effective assistance of trial counsel because
counsel refused to raise the defense strategy that Lee wanted
to present in order to prove his innocence, leaving him with
the belief that his only alternative was to plead guilty.
Respondents argue that the Petition is time-barred.
one-year statute of limitations applies to habeas petitions
in non-capital cases for a person convicted in state court.
See 28 U.S.C. S 2244(d) (2012). Section 2244(d)
(1) A I-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-
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the
conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time ...