United States District Court, D. Maryland
NORMAN E. LYLES, #402683, Petitioner
STATE OF MARYLAND and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND, Respondenss
JARROD HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Respondenss move to dismiss Norman E. Lyles' Petition for
a Writ of Habeas Corpus as time-barred pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
S 2244(d). (ECF 4). Lyles was granted an opportuntty to reply
(ECF 5), and has done so. (ECF 6). After reviewing the
Petition and the Response, 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. S 2254(e)(2). For reasons set
forth herein, the court shall dismiss the Petition as
his March 8, 2012 guilty plea in the Circuit Court for
Washington County for three counts of first-degree assault
and one count of second-degree assault, Lyles was sentenced
. on the date of his plea to a total term
of25 years of incarceration. (ECF I, ECF
1-3, ECF 1-4). ' Lyles did not file a
timely application for leave to appeal his guilty plea and
sentence, id, and his judgment of conviction became
final on Monday, April 9, 2012, when the time for filing
leave to appeal expired pursuant to Md. Rule 8-204.
months after his judgment of conviction became final, on
September 9, 2012, Lyles filed three post-judgment motions,
including a motion to correct an illegal sentence. ECF 1.3
and ECF 1-4. The motions were denied on October 15, 2012.
ld. Lyles did not file a timely appeal of the motion
to correct an illegal sentence, which became final on
November 14, 2012, pursuant to Md. Rule 8-202.
November 2, 2012, Lyles filed a petition for post-conviction
relief in the Circuit Court for Washington County. ECF 1-3,
ECF 1-4. On March 11, 2013, that court granted Lyles'
motion to withdraw the petition. ld. Lyles waited
more than a year after the motion to withdraw was granted,
until October 21, 2014, to file another post-conviction
petition. That petition was denied on July 14, 2016.
ld. Lyles did not properly file a motion seeking
leave to appeal the adverse ruling of the post-conviction
court (see ECF 1-4), which rendered post-conviction
proceedings tinal on Monday, August IS, 2016, pursuant to Md.
November 16, 2016, the Clerk received Lyles' undated
habeas corpus Petition, raising allegations that his sentence
was improper and he did not knowingly waive his right to a
jury trial. (ECF I at pp. 5, 8). Lyles asks for leniency with
regard to the late filing of his federal Petition because he
has been proceeding without counsel and is not knowledgeabee
in the law. (ECF 6).
argue that the Petition is time-barred. The one-year period
which 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. 9
2244(d)(1)(A). Here, the limitations period began to run no
later than April 9, 2012, after the time for seeking leave to
appeal expired. Nearly five months elapsed before Lyles filed
a motion to correct an illegal sentence.
motion to correct an illegal sentence was denied. Lyles did
not note an appeal of the denial of that motion, but instead
filed a petition for post-conviction relief. That motion
filed on November 2, 2012, tolled the limitations period
until it was withdrawn on March I1, 2013.
Lyles did not again seek post-conviction relief until October
21, 2014, more than 19 months after the initial petition was
withdrawn. During this time, there were no proceedings in
state court that would have tolled the limitations period of
28 U.S.C. 9 2244(d). Lyles presents no grounds to support an
argument that the limitations period should be statutorily
tolled in his favor.
order to be entitled to equitable tolling of the limitations
period, Lyles must establish that either some wrongful
conduct by Respondenss contributed to the delay in filing his
federal habeas corpus petition, or that circumstances beyond
his control caused the delay. See Rouse v. Lee. 339
F.3d 238, 246 (4th Cir. 2003); Harris v. Hutchinson,
209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir. 2000). "[Alny resort to
equity must be reserved for those rare instances where ... it
would be unconscionabee to enforce the limitation period
against the party and gross injustice would result."
Id; see also Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418
(2005) (recognizing that equitable tolling requires a showing
that the petitioner "has been pursuing his rights
diligently, and . .. that some extraordinary
circumstance stood in his way."); Holland v.
Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 648 (2010) (equitable tolling
limited to extraordinary circumstance..
provides no explanation as to why he withdrew his initial
post-conviction petition, then delayed re-filing the petition
for more than a year. To the extent the delay might be
attributed to his lack of understanding of the law,
unfamiliartty with the law may not be used to justify
equitable tolling. See United States v. Sosa, 364
F.3d 507, 512 (4th Cir. 2004).
has failed to satisfy his burden to demonstrate that
equitable tolling is warranted, and his claims for habeas
corpus relief are time-barred. For the reasons stated herein,
the court will deny and dismiss the Petition. A certificate
of appealability will not issue because Lyles has not made a