United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. Grimm United States District Judge
Gregory Holden filed a 28 U.S.C. S 2254 habeas corpus
Petition attacking his 2014 convictions for first degree
murder and openly carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to
injure. ECF NO.1; Holden v. State, No. 1713, Sept.
Term 2014, slip op. at 18 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Mar. 15, 2016)
(unreported) ("Md. Ct. Spec. App. Op."), ECF No.
3-5 (starting at 17). Respondents filed an Answer, and Holden
filed a Reply. ECF Nos. 3, 4. Upon review, the Court finds no
need for an evidentiary hearing. See Rule 8(a),
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts; Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016); see
also Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455 (4th Cir. 2000)
(Petitioner not entitled to hearing under 28 U.S.C. S
2254(e)(2)). For the reasons set forth herein, the Petition
IS DENIED and DISMISSED with prejudice.
& PROCEDURAL HISTORY
25, 2012, Holden was indicted in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City on charges of first degree murder and openly
carrying a dangerous weapon with intent to injure. State Ct.
Docket 1, ECF NO.3-1. These charges stemmed from the 2011
stabbing death of Holdenss neighbor, Dwight Jones. Prior to
trial, Holden filed numerous motions, two of which are
relevant to this habeas petition. First, Holden moved to
suppress evidence recovered from an apartment associated with
him (his motherss apartment), arguing that the search warrant
used to gain entry into the apartment was invalid because the
officers gained entry before they obtained the warrant, and
its supporting affidavit lacked probable cause. Sept. 2, 2014
Mot. Hr'g Tr. 8-18, ECF No. 3-2; see Md. Ct.
Spec. App. Op. 6-7 (text of affidavit). The Circuit Court
denied this motion. Sept. 2, 2014 Mot. Hr'g Tr. 18.
Holden moved to exclude evidence that the State intended to
present at trial regarding his DNA profile, which was
obtained by law enforcement during the course of an unrelated
2006 criminal investigation. Id. at 27, 62. Holden
argued that the DNA profile should have been expunged because
Holden was not charged in the 2006 investigation.
Id. at 27, 62-66. Further, Holden contended that the
DNA profile was not probative, as it neither included nor
excluded him as a contributor of DNA found in an apartment
near the crime scene. Id. at 63. The Circuit Court
granted the motion in part, prohibiting the State from
explaining the circumstances surrounding the collection of
Holdenss DNA in 2006, but otherwise denying Holdenss motion
and allowing the State to use the DNA profile. Id.
a jury trial, Holden was convicted of both charges. On
September 10, 2014, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for
the murder conviction and a consecutive term of three
years' imprisonment for the weapons conviction. State Ct.
Docket 1-2. Holden filed a direct appeal with the Maryland
Court of Special Appeals arguing, among other grounds not
relevant to this petition, that "[t]he trial court erred
by failing to grant Mr. Holdenss Motion to Suppress the items
recovered from the apartment where he resided, " and
"[t]he trial court erred in admitting evidence at trial
relating to Mr. Holdenss DNA profile." Md. Ct. Spec.
App. Op. 1 n.1. In an opinion issued on March 15, 2016, the
Court of Special Appeals affirmed Holdenss convictions. Mat
the suppression Issue, the Court of Special Appeals rejected
Holdenss argument that the affidavit used to obtain the
search warrant contained insufficient probable cause. The
[T]he issuing judge had a substantial basis to conclude that
the search warrant for apartment 701 South was supported by
probable cause. The warrant affidavit related that the
responding officers found Jones's dead body, in his
apartment (704 South). He had sustained multiple stab wounds.
Inside that apartment, the police found "suspected blood
and signs of a struggle." A blood trail led from that
apartment to the apartment complex hallway. Witnesses advised
that Jones had been in apartment 707 South, drinking with
[Holden] and several other people; that Jones, [Holden], and
[Holden's aunt] went to Jones's apartment, and that,
early on the morning of December 10, 2011, Jones had
expressed fear of [Holden]. Specifically, he was fearful
because he had had to throw [Holden] out of his apartment
because he had caught him "going through his
drawers." Jones told White [who lived in 707 South]
about that and then returned to his own apartment. Later that
morning, he was found dead in his apartment. Officers also
learned that Sandra, [Holden]ss mother, resided in apartment
701 South, and that a sign in sheet dated December 10, 2011
showed a "G. Holden" (the appellant) signing in and
"utilizing the tenant/address of 701 S.-.. Holden."
That apartment was on the same floor as the apartment in
which Jones was found deceased.
Because there was a blood trail leading from Jones's
apartment to the common hallway, a reasonable inference could
be drawn that, at a minimum, blood evidence could be found in
other locations on the same floor, and most likely in 701
South where the person with whom Jones had just had a dispute
and about whom Jones had expressed fear was living.
Id. at 9-10. The court concluded that it did not
need to "determine whether the good faith exception to
the exclusionary rule applie[d] because the issuing judge had
a substantial basis for finding probable cause to search
apartment 701 South." Id. at 10.
the DNA profile issue, the Court of Special Appeals rejected
Holdenss argument that the evidence was irrelevant and
inadmissible, explaining that "[i]n light of [Holdenss
trial counsels]] repeated suggestions that the police
investigation was lacking, evidence that the appellant's
DNA profile was compared with the DNA evidence at the scene,
while ultimately inconclusive, was relevant to show that the
police conducted a thorough investigation""
Id. at 14- 15. Further, the Court of Special Appeals
was not persuaded by Holden's challenge regarding the
absence of evidence of the chain of custody of the 2006 DNA
profile. The Court explained that in Holden's case,
"chain of custody is not pertinent, because the State
did not introduce the appellant's 2006 DNA sample, nor
did the State present evidence that the appellant's [2006
DNA] sample matched the physical evidence taken in this
case." Id. at 16-17. Finally, the Court of
Special Appeals noted that, even if it had concluded that the
DNA evidence should have been excluded as irrelevant or for
lack of chain of custody evidence, such error would be
harmless beyond a reasonable doubt because the DNA profile
evidence neither included nor excluded Holden as the source
of the DNA in question. Id. at 15, 17.
filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Maryland
Court of Appeals, raising multiple grounds including the
suppression of evidence seized via the allegedly flawed
search warrant and the use of Holden's DNA profile, as
discussed above. Cert. Pet. 5-14, ECF No. 3-5 (starting at
1); Cert. Pet. Supp. 11-16, ECF No. 3-6. On June 24, 2016,
the Court of Appeals denied the petition. Md.Ct.App. Order,
ECF No. 3-5 (at 43). Holden did not seek review by the United
States Supreme Court; thus, his convictions became final on
September 22, 2016, when the time for seeking such review
expired. See Sup. Ct. Rule 13.1 (petition for writ
of certiorari to be filed no later than 90 days of judgment
from which review is sought). He did not seek post-conviction
relief from the State court.
April 20, 2017,  Holden filed this § 2254 petition. He
asserts that ...