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Rattler v. Graham

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

October 30, 2017

WARDEN R. GRAHAM, et al., Respondents.



         Alfred Rattler, an inmate at the Western Correctional institution in Cumberland. Maryland, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus regarding his 2000 convictions for armed robbery and related offenses. ECF No. 1 (supplemented by ECF No. 3. ECF No. 4. ECF No. 6). In a limited answer. Respondents Warden R. Graham and the Attorney General of the State of Maryland argue that the petition is time-barred under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"). ECF No. 5. Rattler argues that his claim is not time-barred because he has presented a colorable claim of actual innocence and is entitled to equitable tolling of his time limitation. ECF No. 11 at 6.[1] No evidentiary hearing is necessary. See Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United Stales District Courts; see also 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2). For the reasons set forth herein, the Petition is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         In October 1999. after a jury trial in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Rattler was convicted of armed robbery, assault, illegal use of a handgun, and illegal possession of a handgun. ECF No. 9-1 at 1: ECF No. 9-2. Rattler was sentenced on June 7. 2000. to a twenty-five year term of confinement. Id. He appealed his conviction, and on May 11. 2001. the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed Rattler's conviction for illegal use of a handgun and illegal possession of a handgun, vacated his first degree assault convictions and remanded the case for resentencing on the armed robbery conviction. ECF No. 9-2 at 1 5. Rattler filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Maryland, which was denied on September 14. 2001. See Rattler v. State, 365 Md. 475 (2001). Rattler's convictions became final on December 14. 2001. See Harris v. Hutchinson. 209 F.3d 325. 328 n.1 (4th Cir. 2000) (noting that lime for appealing state court conviction concludes when time for filing petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court, ninety days, expires).

         Rattler filed a motion for a new trial on September 11. 2000. which was denied on November 30. 2001. ECF No. 9-1 at 38. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed this ruling. ECF No. 9-3. and the court's mandate issued on February 10. 2003. ECF No. 9-1 at 45. Rattler did not seek further review of this decision and the judgment became final on February 25. 2003. See Md. Rule 8-302 (requiring petition for writ of certiorari be filed in the Court of Appeals no later than 15 days after the Court of Special Appeals issues its mandate).

         On July 27. 2007. Rattler filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the circuit court. ECF No. 9-1 at 46. which, after being amended, the court denied on January 19. 2012. ECF No. 9-1 at 67. Rattler's application for leave to appeal the denial of other post-conviction relief was denied by the Court of Special Appeals on April 8. 2013. ECF No. 9-4 at 2. The court denied Rattler's motion for reconsideration and issued its mandate on January 2[3]). 2014. id. at 1.

         Rattler Hied the instant petition on June 14. 2015.[4] ECF No. 1. He alleges prosecutorial misconduct in that the stale's attorneys tailed to turn over forensic reports regarding the bullet that was recovered from the crime scene, ECF No. 3 at 5. failed to disclose the details of the "deal/arrangement between Ronald Calvin Hawkins and the Maryland Virginia law enforcement agencies." id. at 22, and elicited false testimony from Hawkins, id., at 37. Rattler explains that motions regarding the turning over of the forensic reports and any known deals were argued in pretrial motions. Id. at 5. 24. Rattler also alleges here that the search and seizure warrants issued in his case were improperly obtained. ECF No. 4-1 at 10. The legality of the warrants was also litigated at a pretrial suppression hearing. Id.

         On October 28. 2015. Respondents filed a limited answer, arguing that Rattler's petition is time-barred and should be dismissed on that basis. ECF No. 9 at 7. The Court issued an Order on October 30, 2015. granting Rattler twenty-eight days from that date to file a response addressing the timeliness issue. ECF No. 10. Rattler's response was received on November 25. 2015. ECF No. 11.


         A one-year statute of limitations applies to habeas petitions in non-capital cases for persons convicted in state court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1); Wail v. Kholi, 562 U.S. 545. 550 (2011). Section 2244(d)(1) provides that:

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 Slate 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 ...

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