United States District Court, D. Maryland
TRACY A. SAVOY, Petitioner,
FRANK BISHOP, WARDEN, NORTH BRANCH CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, et al., Respondents.
W. TITUS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
A. Savoy (“Savoy”) filed in this Court a petition
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254
(“Petition”) on March 1, 2013. ECF No. 1. Savoy
challenges his 2004 convictions in two separate cases in the
Circuit Court for Charles County, Maryland, alleging that his
sentences were illegal pursuant to Maryland Rule 4-243(c) and
(d). Id. at 1-6. The threshold issue in this case is
whether the one-year limitations period under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2244(d) was tolled by his Motions to Reconsider
Sentence filed in state court.
review of the pleadings, the Court finds no need for a
hearing. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2); Rule 8(a),
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts; Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.
2016). For the reasons that follow, the Petition
will be dismissed and a Certificate of Appealability will not
Background and Procedural History
Savoy's Actions in State Court
April 6, 2004, Savoy entered guilty pleas in two separate
cases before the Circuit Court for Charles County, Maryland:
Case Nos. 08-K-03-000719 and 08-K-03-001262. ECF No. 1-1 at
1. Savoy pled guilty to attempted first-degree murder, use of
a handgun in a commission of a felony, and conspiracy to
commit robbery with a deadly weapon. Id. He was
sentenced on June 15, 2004, to (1) life imprisonment, with
all but thirty years suspended, for attempted first-degree
murder; (2) twenty years for use of a handgun in a commission
of a felony, to run concurrently with the life sentence; and
(3) twenty years for conspiracy to commit robbery with a
deadly weapon, to run concurrently with the other sentences.
Id. at 2. Savoy did not file a direct appeal. ECF
No. 1 at 3. Therefore, his convictions became final for
direct review purposes on July 15, 2004. See Md.
Rule 8-204(b)(2) (requiring application for leave to appeal
to be “filed within 30 days after the entry of the
judgment or order from which the appeal is sought.”).
Savoy did not directly appeal the judgments, he did timely
file Motions to Reconsider Sentence, as well as Applications
for Review of Sentence, in both cases on June 29, 2004, and
July 12, 2004, respectively. ECF Nos. 6-1 at 13; 6-2 at 12.
After reviewing the Applications for Review of Sentence, the
Circuit Court affirmed both of Savoy's sentences. ECF
Nos. 6-1 at 14; 6-2 at 12. No action was taken on the Motions
to Reconsider Sentence. See ECF Nos. 6-1; 6-2.
Savoy filed petitions for post-conviction relief in 2010 in
the state court, the Court need not address these filings
because they are not dispositive of the threshold issue of
whether Savoy's Motions to Reconsider Sentence filed in
2004 tolled the one-year limitations period required by 28
U.S.C. § 2244(d).
Savoy's Petition in Federal Court
Petition filed on March 1, 2013, Savoy argued that his
sentence was illegal pursuant to Maryland Rule 4-243(c) and
(d). ECF No. 1 at 6. On June 6, 2013, Respondents filed a
Limited Answer to Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and
Order to Show Cause [ECF No. 6], arguing that the Petition
was time-barred and should be dismissed on that basis. ECF
No. 6 at 1-2. Savoy filed a “Traverse to the
Answer”-which the Court will construe as a reply-where
he asserted that the Petition was timely because the one-year
limitations period required by § 2244(d)(1) was tolled
pursuant to § 2244(d)(2) during the pendency of his
Motions to Reconsider Sentence filed in 2004. ECF No. 7 at
12, 2013, the Court directed Respondents to supplement their
Limited Answer to address whether Savoy's Motions to
Reconsider Sentence in state court constituted properly filed
state post-conviction proceedings which served to statutorily
toll the limitations period required by 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1). ECF No. 11. Respondents filed a Supplemental
Answer [ECF No. 12], contending that the Motions to
Reconsider Sentence did not constitute properly filed state
post-conviction proceedings and that the limitations period,
therefore, was not tolled. ECF No. 12 at 1.
Court stayed this case on October 29, 2015, noting that
“[s]imilar questions concerning when a motion [for
reconsideration of sentence] is a ‘properly filed
application for State post-conviction or other collateral
review' for tolling purposes under 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(2)” were also under consideration in
Mitchell v. Green, , DKC-13-2063 (D. Md.) and
Wells v. Wolfe, CCB-14-985 (D. Md.). ECF No. 20.
Those cases were stayed pending a decision by the United
States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in
Woodfolk v. Maynard,, No. 15-6364 (4th Cir.).
Woodfolk presented the question, inter
alia, whether a motion for reduction or modification of
a sentence in state court served to toll the one-year
limitations period that applies to § 2254 petitions. The
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued
its decision in Woodfolk on May 23, 2017, without
reaching that question. Woodfolk, 857 F.3d 531 (4th
Cir. 2017). On July 20, 2017, this Court lifted the stay in
this action. ECF No. 26. Accordingly, the case is now ripe
threshold issue in this case is whether Savoy's 2004
Motions to Reconsider Sentence filed in state court tolled
the one-year limitations period under 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d). Only if the Petition ...