United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Allen Legg, a self-represented petitioner involuntarily
committed to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
(“DHMH”),  filed this petition for writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (ECF No. 1).
Respondents, the Acting CEO of Spring Grove Hospital Center,
the institution where Legg is confined, and the Attorney
General of the State of Maryland, filed a response. (ECF No.
reviewed the parties' submissions, 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) (petitioner not entitled to a hearing under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(e)(2)). For the reasons set forth herein, the
court shall DISMISS the petition and shall DECLINE to issue a
certificate of appealability.
stated, Legg's primary claim is that he is not the
individual who assaulted an employee at the Harford County
Detention Center on July 27, 2006, and thus should not be
held by Maryland authorities. Legg also raises a second claim
that the incompetency plea entered in connection with the
incident that led to his present detention at Spring Grove
was obtained outside his presence and without his
consent. (ECF No. 1 at pp. 1-5).
afternoon of July 27, 2006, Bel Air police officers Novak and
Zulauf responded following a report that a white male was
panhandling money and cigarettes from shoppers at the Bel Air
Town Center. (ECF No. 5-10 at p. 1). Zulauf asked the
individual, whom he identified as William Legg,
leave. Legg became aggressive with both officers and was
arrested for assault, failing to obey a lawful order,
disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest, and taken to the
Bel Air Police Department for processing. (Id. at
pp. 1-2). Later that day, Legg was taken to the Harford
County Detention Center, where he assaulted Corrections
Officer (“CO”) David Chester during a transfer
from the “bullpen” to a holding cell. State
v. Legg, Case No. 6R00053969 (Dist. Ct. of Md. for
Harford Co.), attached at ECF No. 5-1; ECF No. 5-2
(Application for Statement of Charges).
second incident involving CO Chester is at issue here. Legg
was provided court-appointed counsel, Assistant Public
Defender Kelly A. Casper, by the District Court. On July 17,
2007, the District Court committed Legg to DHMH for treatment
following a verdict of not criminally responsible
September 11, 2007, an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) recommended Legg be released from
confinement and placed on conditional release for five years.
See Legg v. Spring Grove Hospital Center, et al.,
Civil Action No. DKC-16-2814 (D. Md.), ECF No. 5-6. Before
the Harford County District Court ordered his release, Legg
left Spring Grove without permission on September 23, 2007,
thereby voiding his conditional release. Id., ECF
No. 5-5. This pattern of return, conditional release, and/or
elopement continued from September of 2007 to May of 2016.
Id., ECF No. 5, Ex. 4-17.
application for writ of habeas corpus may be granted only for
violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). The federal habeas statute at 28
U.S.C. § 2254 sets forth a “highly deferential
standard for evaluating state-court rulings.” Lindh
v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333 n.7 (1997); see also
Bell v. Cone, 543 U.S. 447 (2005). The standard is
“difficult to meet, ” and requires courts to give
state-court decisions the benefit of the doubt. Cullen v.
Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 181 (2011) (internal quotation
marks and citations omitted); see also White v Woodall,
___ U.S.___, ___, 134 S.Ct. 1697, 1702 (2014), quoting
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 103 (2011)
(state prisoner must show state court ruling on claim
presented in federal court was “so lacking in
justification that there was an error well understood and
comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fair
federal court may not grant a writ of habeas corpus unless
the state's adjudication on the merits: 1) resulted in a
decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable
application of, clearly established federal law, as
determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or 2)
resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the state court proceeding. 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (d). A
state adjudication is contrary to clearly established federal
law under § 2254(d)(1) where the state court 1)
“arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by
[the Supreme] Court on a question of law, ” or 2)
“confronts facts that are materially indistinguishable
from a relevant Supreme Court precedent and arrives at a
result opposite to [the Supreme Court].” Williams
v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405 (2000).
applying this standard, the court must first determine
whether each claim is cognizable for federal review and, if
deemed cognizable, whether the claim has been fully exhausted
in the state courts ...