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Currica v. Miller

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 1, 2017

CALVIN F. CURRICA, #354-168 Petitioner
v.
WARDEN RICHARD MILLER, and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND Respondents

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PAULA XINIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending is self-represented petitioner Calvin F. Currica's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in which he challenges his convictions entered in 2008 in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. ECF No. 1.[1] Respondents have filed a response. ECF No. 2.[2] As relief, Currica seeks a new trial and a reduction of his sentence. After review of the parties' submissions and exhibits, the Court finds that additional information is needed before consideration of the issues can proceed.

         BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 14, 2008, Currica was indicted in case no. 109922 for murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon. On March 20, 2008, Currica was separately indicted in case no. 109946 with carjacking (counts 1 and 9), conspiracy to commit kidnapping (counts 4, 12, and 18), robbery with a dangerous weapon (counts 5 and 13), conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon (counts 6, 14, and 20), first-degree assault (counts 7 and 21), conspiracy to commit first-degree assault (counts 8 and 22), attempted carjacking (count 15), attempted kidnapping (count 17), and attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon (count 19). ECF No. 12-1 (Resp. Ex. 1, docket sheets).

         On August 11, 2008, Currica, who was represented by counsel, entered a guilty plea in case no. 109922 to second-degree murder (count one of that indictment was amended), and a guilty plea to two counts of carjacking in case no. 109946. ECF No. 12-1, 12-2 (Plea transcript). The parties have not included a copy of the plea agreement with their submissions.

         At the plea hearing held on November 18, 2008, the trial judge told Currica, and Currica affirmed that he understood, that “[w]hen you are charged with second degree murder, which is what the charge will be changed to, you are liable for a maximum penalty of 30 years in jail or less depending on what I determine, and you can be placed on probation for any suspended sentence I might impose.” ECF 12-2 at p. 10. (plea transcript). Turning next to the carjacking charges, the trial court explained to Currica that “each of these charges carries the possibility of being put in jail for up to 30 years. Once again, I can impose whatever sentence, including jail time and a period of suspended jail time, if I wish to do so.” Id. at p. 11. Currica confirmed that he understood. Id. At the end of the hearing, the Court sentenced Currica to a total of 80 years of incarceration.[3] The court imposed 30 years for second-degree murder and two 25 years consecutive terms for carjacking. ECF No. 12-1, 12-3 at p. 55-56 (Resp. Ex. 3 sentencing transcript).

         On November 21, 2008, Currica filed an Application for Review of Sentence by a three-judge panel, which was denied on September 2, 2009, and a Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence which was denied on May 7, 2013. ECF No. 12-1. On June 19, 2012, Currica filed a Motion to Correct an Illegal Sentence, which was denied on July 16, 2012. ECF No. 12-1.

         On June 2, 2014, Currica filed a self-represented Petition for Post-Conviction Relief, which he amended on September 22, 2014, to assert the following claims:

(1) the Circuit Court breached the plea agreement which he claimed limited his sentence to a maximum of 51 years;
(2) the State breached the plea agreement by seeking a sentence higher than 51 years;
(3) trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to file an Application for Leave to Appeal his Convictions; and
(4) the plea agreement was for a combined sentence of 30-51 years.

ECF No. 12-1; ECF No. 12-4 at pp. 2-3 (Resp. Ex. 4, Post-Conviction Petition); ECF No. 12-5 (Resp. Ex. 5, Supplemental Petition); ECF No. 12-7 at p. 5 (Resp. Ex. 7, Post-Conviction Hearing Transcript).[4]

         On November 24, 2014, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County held a hearing on the Petition for Post-Conviction Relief. ECF No. 12-7. The Court denied relief in part and granted relief in part. The court rejected Currica's claims that the sentencing court and the State breached the plea agreement, but granted him thirty days to file a belated Application for ...


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