United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge
pending and ready for resolution in this habeas action is the
limited question whether Petitioner's application
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 was filed within the
applicable statute of limitations.
17, 2013,  the court received the 28 U.S.C. §
2254 habeas corpus application filed by Petitioner William
James Mitchell, attacking his 2005 judgments of conviction
for attempted first degree murder and related offenses. ECF
No. 1. He raises several issues, including whether the trial
judge's failure to recuse himself violated
Petitioner's right to testify and to a fair trial in
contravention of the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments
to the United States Constitution and whether his attorneys
provided ineffective representation by failing to move that
the trial judge recuse himself, by putting forth a defense
theory of the case that trial counsel knew was not supported
by the evidence, and by failing to object to the admission of
highly prejudicial evidence for which a proper foundation had
not been laid.
of responding to the petition in full, Respondents filed a
limited answer on October 2, 2013, raising only the statute
of limitations. ECF No. 6. On November 19, 2013, Mitchell
filed a reply. ECF No. 11. Following appointment of counsel,
a telephone conference was held on June 2, 2015, after which
the court approved the parties' joint briefing schedule.
ECF No. 20. The schedule was adjusted, and supplemental
briefs were filed.
October 16, 2015, the court granted the parties' joint
motion to stay proceedings pending the decision of the United
States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in
Woodfolk v. Maynard, No. 15-6364. ECF Nos. 24; 25.
The Fourth Circuit issued its opinion on May 23, 2017.
See Woodfolk v. Maynard, 857 F.3d 531
(4th Cir. 2017). The appellate court's mandate
was issued on June 14, 2017.
27, 2017, the court lifted the stay and approved the
parties' proposed supplemental briefing schedule. ECF No.
28. Respondents filed their supplemental answer on August 20,
2017. ECF No. 29. Mitchell filed his supplemental reply on
September 6, 2017. ECF No. 30. 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; 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 dismiss the petition as
untimely, but grant a certificate of appealability.
and Procedural History
13, 2005, following a jury trial, Mitchell was found guilty
in the Circuit Court for Harford County of attempted first
degree murder and related offenses. ECF No. 1, pp. 1-2; ECF
No. 6-1, pp. 15-16. He did not testify at trial. ECF No. 1,
p. 2. Mitchell was sentenced on October 24, 2005, to a total
of 70 years imprisonment. ECF Nos. 1, pp. 1-2; 6-1, p. 17.
timely appealed his convictions and sentence to the Court of
Special Appeals of Maryland, which, in an unreported opinion
issued on July 27, 2007, affirmed Mitchell's convictions,
but vacated one of his sentences and remanded the case to the
circuit court for resentencing. ECF Nos. 1, p. 2; 6-1, p. 19;
6-2, p. 26. The Court of Special Appeals' mandate was
issued on August 27, 2007. ECF Nos. 6-1, pp. 19-20; 6-2, p.
27. Mitchell then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari
in the Court of Appeals of Maryland, which granted the
petition on November 7, 2007. ECF Nos. 1, p. 3; 6-1, pp.
20-21; 6-3, p. 1. After the case had been briefed and argued,
however, on March 12, 2008, the Court of Appeals dismissed
the writ, finding that it had been improvidently granted. ECF
Nos. 1, p. 3; 6-3, p. 4. Mitchell did not seek further
review. ECF No. 1, p. 3.
1, 2009, Mitchell filed a motion to correct an illegal
sentence in the Circuit Court for Harford County. ECF Nos. 1,
p. 4; 6-1, p. 22. At a hearing held on July 22, 2009, the
circuit court resolved both the motion to correct an illegal
sentence and complied with the Court of Special Appeals'
remand. ECF Nos. 1, p. 4; 6-1, p. 22. Mitchell was
resentenced to 65 years imprisonment. ECF Nos. 1, p. 4; 6-1,
p. 22. He did not appeal the new judgment, which became final
for direct appeal purposes on August 21, 2009. See
Md. Rule 8-202 (requiring that notice of appeal be filed
within 30 days of date of judgment from which review is
September 2, 2009, Mitchell filed a motion for
modification/reduction of sentence pursuant to Md. Rule
4-345(e) which, at Mitchell's request, was held
in abeyance. ECF Nos. 1, p. 4; 6-2, p. 22; 23-1. On February
3, 2010, Mitchell filed a petition for post-conviction relief
in the Circuit Court for Harford County. ECF Nos. 1, p. 4;
6-1, p. 23. After conducting a hearing, the court denied the
petition on November 3, 2010. ECF Nos. 1, p. 5; 1-12; 6-1, p.
24. On December 2, 2010, Mitchell filed an application for
leave to appeal the denial, which the Court of Special
Appeals summarily denied on December 19, 2011. ECF Nos. 1, p.
5; 6-1, p. 24; 6-4, pp. 1-2. The court's mandate was
issued on January 19, 2012. ECF No. 6-4, p. 3.
September 20, 2012, Mitchell requested that the circuit court
activate proceedings on his motion for modification/reduction
of sentence. ECF Nos. 1, p. 8; 6-1, p. 25. The court denied
the motion on October 1, 2012. ECF Nos. 1, p. 8; 6-1, p. 25.
noted above, the current Petition was received by this court
on July 17, 2013. ECF No. 1.
threshold issue in this case is the timeliness of the
Petition. 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)(1);
Wall v. Kholi, 562 U.S. 545, 550 (2011). Section
2244(d) provides that:
(1) A 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
limitation period shall run from the latest of--
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the
conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for
seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application
created by State action in violation of the Constitution or
laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was
prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was
initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has
been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made