United States District Court, D. Maryland
DANNY C. HOSKINS, # 180134, Petitioner
RICHARD J. GRAHAM, JR., et al., Respondents
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge
17, 2014,  the court received the instant 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 habeas corpus application filed by Petitioner
Danny C. Hoskins attacking his 2001 judgment of conviction
for first-degree murder and related offenses. ECF No. 1.
Respondents filed an answer with exhibits on November 7,
2014. ECF No. 9. Hoskins filed a reply and supplemental
reply. ECF Nos. 11 & 13. On February 5, 2015,
Hoskins filed a motion to amend the petition, ECF No. 14,
which the court provisionally granted in an order dated
August 21, 2015, ECF No. 15. Respondents filed a supplemental
answer. ECF No. 18. Hoskins then filed a reply to the
supplemental answer. ECF No. 19. After reviewing the filings,
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. 2014); 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 will deny the petition and deny
the issuance of a certificate of appealability.
and Procedural History
October 15, 2001, after a jury trial, Hoskins was convicted
in the Circuit Court for Cecil County of first-degree
premeditated murder. ECF No. 9, Ex. 1, p. 12. He was sentenced
to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Id.; ECF No. 1, p. 1. Hoskins appealed, arguing that
the trial court should have granted a mistrial due to: (1)
prejudicial comments and misconduct by the State's
Attorney; and (2) impermissible shifting of the burden of
proof during the prosecution's closing argument. ECF No.
1, p. 1; ECF No. 9, Ex. 2, p. 2. In an unreported opinion
filed on October 16, 2003, the Court of Special Appeals of
Maryland affirmed the judgment of conviction. ECF No. 9, Ex.
4, p. 1, 8. The court's Mandate issued on November 17,
2003. ECF No. 1, p. 2; ECF No. 9, Ex. 4. Hoskins did not seek
further review by the Court of Appeals of Maryland. ECF No.
1, p. 2. Therefore, his conviction became final for direct
appeal purposes on December 2, 2003, when the time for filing
a petition for a writ of certiorari expired. See Md.
Rule 8-302(a) (requiring that petition for writ of certiorari
be filed not later than fifteen days after the Court of
Special Appeals issues its mandate).
his appellate proceedings were pending, on January 2, 2003,
Hoskins filed a motion for new trial in the Circuit Court,
raising three grounds for new trial: two allegations of
misconduct or fraud by the State's Attorney involving
evidence presented at trial or prior to trial; and the
admission of an expert witness and the testimony she provided
in her capacity as an expert. ECF No. 9, p. 6; ECF No. 9, Ex.
1, p. 28; ECF No. 9, Ex. 5, p. 1. The motion for new trial
was denied, after hearing,  on January 3, 2008. ECF No. 9,
Ex. 1, p. 31; ECF No. 9, Ex. 5, p. 1. Hoskins filed an
application for leave to appeal the denial, which was
dismissed on April 10, 2008, due to Hoskins' failure to
file timely his brief. ECF No. 9, Ex. 6; see also
Md. Rule 8-602(a)(7).
interim period, on February 23, 2004, Hoskins filed a
petition for post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court,
raising thirty-two allegations of ineffective assistance of
counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and judicial error. ECF
No. 1, p. 2; ECF No. 9, Ex, 1. p. 29. Following an April 12,
2010, hearing, ECF No. 9, Ex. 7, the post-conviction court
denied the petition on January 11, 2011. ECF No. 9, Ex. 8. On
February 11, 2011, Hoskins filed an application for leave to
appeal the adverse decision, ECF No. 9, Ex. 9, which the
Court of Special Appeals summarily denied on June 11, 2013,
ECF No. 9, Ex. 10. The intermediate appellate court's
mandate issued on July 12, 2013. Id.
presents the following issues for the court's review:
Ground One: The State withheld two police reports,
the first of which verified that Hoskins requested counsel
during his March 16, 2000, interrogation and the second
reflected that a man was seen walking away from the crime
scene on the morning of March 15, 2000, with a knife or saw
in his hand.
Ground Two: The searches of Hoskins on both March
16, 2000, and March 18, 2000, by the Cecil County
Sheriff's Department were conducted illegally.
Ground Three: The State violated 18 U.S.C.
Ground Four: Despite the defense's request that
the experts who performed the original serology and DNA tests
testify at trial, the State utilized substitutes.
Ground Five: The trial court erred in denying the
joint request of the State and defense to sequester the jury
Ground Six: One of Hoskins' trial attorneys
purportedly assaulted the State's Attorney in the
presence of the jury and trial judge.
Ground Seven: An Assistant State's Attorney for
Cecil County, a friend and continuous legal advisor of
Hoskins, advised Hoskins hours before the March 16, 2000,
interrogation to “participate” with the
Sheriff's Department and answer their questions
Ground Eight: Trial counsel failed to call
Hoskins' wife and step-daughter as witnesses.
Ground Nine: The post-conviction court erred in its
decision in stating that Hoskins had waived all of his
allegations and, in the alternative, had failed to establish
ineffective assistance of counsel.
Ground Ten: The State's Attorney intentionally
misled the trial court when he informed the court during
opening statements that “he had any evidence” to
support any of the sexual charges against Hoskins, and after
objections by Hoskins' counsel the trial court erred in
allowing the State to go forward with such evidence at both a
pre-trial hearing and during the trial, thereby prejudicing
ECF No. 1, pp. 3-5; ECF No. 14, pp. 1-2. Respondents mount a
variety of challenges to Petitioner's claims, including
lack of timeliness, failure to exhaust, procedural default,
failure to state a cognizable basis for relief, and, finally,
failure to state a basis for relief on the merits. See,
generally, ECF Nos. 9 and 18.
A 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. § 2244(d). Section 2244(d)
1-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 ...