United States District Court, D. Maryland
Catherine C. Blake, United States District Judge.
is James Hamilton Wells's ("Wells") petition
for writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S 2254.
Respondents, by their counsel, have filed a response (Resp,,
ECF No.)) to which Wells has replied (Pet'r's Reply,
ECF No. 7). After consideration of the pleading, exhibits,
and applicable law, the court finds a hearing unnecessary.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016); Rule 8,
"Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings in the United
States Courts, " 28 U.S.C. folio; see also Fisher v.
Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455 (4th Cir. 2000) (stating there is
no entitlement to a hearing under 28 U.S.C. S 2254(e)(2)).
The petition shall be denied and dismissed for the reasons
who is self-represented, is challenging his 2010 life
sentence in the Circuit Court for Worcester County, Maryland,
for felony murder (Pet., ECF No. 1 at 1-2). The facts of the
case which led to his conviction are summarized as follows.
April 29, 1977, at approximately 9:30 a.m., Wells and his
co-defendant, William Henry Jackson ("Jackson"),
armed with handguns, entered a jewelry shop operated by
Bernard Sugar ("Sugar") and Charlotte Farber
("Farber"). Jackson v. State, 408 A.2d
711, 713 (Md. 1979). They forced Sugar and Farber to the
floor, and took jewelry valued at more than $10, 000 from a
safe and display cabinets. Id. Shortly thereafter,
Charlene Kelly ("Kelly") entered the store and
asked for Farber. Id. After Wells told her that
Farber was not there, but would return in half an hour, Kelly
became suspicious and after leaving the store contacted the
police. Id. Ten minutes later, Howard County police
arrived and announced their presence. Id. Wells started
to leave by the front door but, after seeing the police, ran
back inside the store. Id. He and Jackson then
attempted to leave by the rear door, but were again deterred
by the police and retreated into the store. Id.
being no other escape route, Wells grabbed Farber, held her
in a headlock, and held his gun to her neck.
(Id). Jackson did the same with
Sugar. Id. at 713-14. Wells and Jackson, using
Farber and Sugar as shields, left the store by the rear exit,
ignoring the police order to stop and release the hostage..
Id. at 714. They stole a police car and attempted to
drive away with the hostages. Id. After police
gunfire disabled the vehicle, they stole another police car
and fled, still holding the hostages at gunpoint.
Id. They next forced a civilian to stop his car,
entered it with the hostages, and sped away. Id.
After evading one roadblock, they were finally stopped at
another roadblock after police gunshots punctured the
car's tires. Id.
police manning the roadblock, unaware of the presence of the
hostage, fired at the car. Id. Officers from three
counties as well as state police converged on the scene and
placed the car under heavy gunfire. Id. One Howard
County police officer, armed with a shotgun, jumped onto the
hood of the car. Id. At that moment Wells had his
arm out the rear window, waving a revolver. Id. The
officer swung his shotgun over the top of the car in an
attempt to strike Wells's arm and knock the revolver from
his hand. Id. The shotgun discharged. Id.
The pellets from the shotgun hit Sugar, who had been lying in
the front seat of the car, in the back of the neck.
Id. Sugar died as a result of the wound.
Id. After a struggle, Wells and Jackson were removed
from the vehicle and taken into custody. Id.
originally set for trial in the Circuit Court for Baltimore
County, the case was removed to Worcester County on March 3,
1978. Jackson, 408 A.2d at 713 n.1; (Pet., ECF No. 1
at 1). On June 12, 1978, Wells and Jackson pleaded guilty to
first-degree murder under the indictment returned against
them, and the State agreed to recommend a life sentence for
each of them and to nol pros all other related
charges. Jackson, 408 A.2d at 713; see also
(Pet. Ex. 1, Mem. & Op. Granting Post Conv. Relief, ECF
No. 1-2 at 1 n.1). Both were sentenced to life in prison.
Jackson, 408 A.2d at 713; see also (Pet.,
ECF NO.1 at 1). The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
affirmed the judgments, as did the Court of Appeals of
Maryland. Jackson, 408 A.2dat713, 79..
October 8, 1998, Wells filed a petition for post conviction
Relief in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. (Resp. Ex.
1, Crim. Docket, ECF No. 5-1 at 5). He raised two grounds for
relief: 1) that the on-the-record colloquy of the guilty plea
was not taken in accordance with applicable law; and 2) that
the State failed to disclose "Brady"
material that could have affected the sentence imposed,
requiring a new sentencing hearing. (Pet. Ex. 1, Mem. &
Op. Granting Post Conv. Relief, ECF No. 1-2 at 1). The
circuit court resolved the first ground against Wells,
finding that it could have been brought in a prior post
conviction petition. (Id. at 2). However, the circuit
court found that "Brady" information was
withheld by the State and granted post conviction
hearing, Wells was resentenced on December 19, 2000, to life
imprisonment. (Pet. Suppl., Mem. Op. Denying Post Conv.
Relief, ECF No. 1-1 at 3). Wells did not file an application
for leave to appeal this disposition. As a result, the
circuit court's decision became final on January 18,
2001. See Md. Rule 8-204(b) (providing that
application for leave to appeal be filed within 30 days after
entry of judgment or order from which appeal is sought). On
January 15, 2001, Wells filed a motion for review of sentence
by a three-judge panel, which was denied on November 19,
2001. (Resp. Ex. 1, Crim. Docket, ECF No. 5-1 at 6). On March
12, 2001, Wells filed a motion for modification of sentence
in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. (Id.. The
motion for modification was held in abeyance on May 4, 2001.
(Id.)., The motion was denied on April 10, 203..
(Resp. Ex. 1, Crim. Docket, ECF No. 5-1 at 3).
14, 2009, Wells filed a motion to re-open post conviction
proceedings and/or in the alternative, petitioner's first
petition for post conviction relief relating to sentencing,
which was entered on the docket on July 22, 2009. (Resp. Ex.
1, Crim. Docket, ECF No. 5-1 at 2). Wells alleged that: 1)
"the State withheld 'Brady' material
and therefore he is entitled to a new trial or in the
alternative to reopen his post conviction"" and 2)
alternatively, "he is entitled to a new sentencing
because at re-sentencing his counsel's representation
fell below an objective standard of reasonableness."
(Pet. Suppl. 1, Mem. Op. Denying Post Conv. Relief, ECF No.
1-1 at 3). The motion to reopen post conviction was denied in
a memorandum opinion signed on October 22, 2010, and docketed
on November 8, 2010. (Pet. Suppl. 1, Mem. Op., ECF No. 1-1 at
13; Resp. Ex. 1, Crim. Docket, ECF No. 5-1 at 3).
filed a motion to alter, amend, and/or revise judgment, which
was denied on November 30, 2010. (Resp. Ex. 1, Crim. Docket,
ECF No. 5-1 at 3). He next filed an application for leave to
appeal the denial of his motion to reopen post conviction to
the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, raising the
following ground: "the Circuit Court erred, as a matter
of law, in denying the Petitioner's Post Conviction
[sic] without according the Petitioner his right to
hearing (and the assistance of counsel at the same) to prove
his re-sentencing was defective due to the ineffective
assistance of his counsel at the resentencing hearing."
(Pet., ECF No. 1 at 2). On December 20, 2012, the application
was dismissed as untimely filed. (Id. at 3; see
also Pe'r's Reply Ex. 1, Order, ECF No. 7-1 at
3). Wells filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the
Maryland Court of Appeals, which was denied on April 22,
2013. (Pet., ECF NO.1 at 3; Pet'r's Reply Ex. 3,
Order, ECF No. 7-3 at 2).
filed the instant petition on March 26, 2014. He subsequently
filed a supplement to ...