United States District Court, D. Maryland
LINDA ALLEN CORDELL, #43159-037 Formerly known as LARRY CORDELL
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Respondent.
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Allen Cordell ("Cordell"), formerly known as Larry
Cordell,  pled guilty to one count of the sexual
exploitation of a minor for the purpose of producing child
pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C.§ 2251 (a). On May
28, 2008, Cordell was sentenced to 300 months imprisonment
and a lifetime period of supervised release. Criminal
judgment was entered on June 3, 2008. See United States v.
Cordell Criminal No. RDB-07-0478 (D. Md.) at ECF No. 26.
No appeal was noted.
October 22, 2008, Cordell filed a Motion to Vacate pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2255, dated October 16, 2008, raising
Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of counsel grounds to
her conviction. Id. at ECF No. 41. The Motion was
subsequently amended to raise additional ineffective
assistance claims. Id. at ECF No. 43. Cordell's
request to withdraw the Motion without prejudice was granted
on October 19, 2009. Id. at ECF No. 50.
February 3, 2017, the Clerk entered on the docket
Cordell's self-represented 28 U.S.C. S 2255 Motion to
Vacate, raising several grounds relating to the validity of
her 300-month sentence. The Motion was originally received
for filing on October 6, 2016, and is dated October 3, 2016.
See United Stales v. Cordell, Criminal No.
RDB-07-0478 (D. Md.) at ECF No. 108. On February 16,
2017, the Government was ordered to file a limited answer as
to the timeliness of the Motion. The matter has been briefed
by the parties. ECF Nos. 117 & 127.
noted, Cordell did not file an appeal. Affording her
sentencing the most generous construction, her conviction
became final on June 6, 2008. The one-year statute of
limitations set out under 28 U.S.C. S 2255(1)(1) began to run
on that date. See United States v. Sanders, 247 F.3d
139, 142 (4th Cir. 200I) (where no appeal taken, statute of
limitations begins to run on date the court entered the
judgment of conviction.. Therefore, Cordell had until June 6,
2009, to file a timely Motion to Vacate and did not do so.
one-year limitation period may be forgiven if a petitioner
shows that "1) extraordinary circumstance, 2) beyond
h[er] control or external to h[er] own conduct, 3)...
prevented h[er] from tiling on time." United States
v. Sosa 364 F.3d 507, 512 (4th Cir. 2004) (citing
Rouse v. Lee, 339 F.3d 238, 246 (4th Cir. 2003)
(en banc)). A petitioner must show some wrongful
conduct by a respondent contributed to the delay in filing,
or that circumstances beyond her control caused the delay.
See Rouse. 339 F.3d at 246. “[A]ny resort to
equity must be reserved for those rare instances where ... it
would be unconscionable to enforce the limitation period
against the party and gross injustice would result."
Harris v. Hutchinson. 209 F.3d 325, 330 (4th Cir.
2006). Generally, the petitioner must show that she has been
diligently pursuing her rights and some extraordinary
circumstance prevented her from filing a timely petition.
See Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005);
to, 339 F.3d at 246.
Reply, Cordell seemingly asserts that on September 13, 2016,
she filed a motion with the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit seeking authorization to file a second
or successive 9 2255 motion and was given "authorization
to do so. See United States v. Cordell, Criminal No.
RDB-07-0478 (D. Md.) at ECF No. 127. She believes that her
Motion is timely "due to the fact that I was granted
authorization by [three] judges from the United States Court
of Appeals ...to file my second or successive 2255 motion in
the District Court" Id.
Court finds Cordell's argument unavailing. Cordell's
28 U.S.C. 9 2244(b) Motion, seeking authorization to file a
second or successive 9 2255, was not granted by the Fourth
Circuit. The appellate court denied Cordell's motion as
unnecessary given the fact that her first 9 2255 Motion was
voluntarily withdrawn and dismissed without prejudice.
Further, the Fourth Circuit "expressed] no opinion as to
the timeliness or merit of any 9 2255 motion Cordell may file
in the district court." See United Slates v.
Cordell, Criminal No. RDB-07-0478 (D. Md.) at ECF No.
117-1; see also In re: Larry Cordell CA No. 16-3070
(4th Cir. 2016). The current 9 2255 Motion, filed more than
eight years after Cordell's conviction became final, is
addition to the above analysis, a Certificate of
Appealability must be considered. Unless a Certificate of
Appealability C'COA") is issued, a petitioner may
not appeal the district court's decision in a § 2255
proceeding. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1); Fed. R. App. P.
22(b). A COA may issue only if the petitioner -'has made
a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional
right." 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).
petitioner "must demonstrate that reasonable jurists
would find the district court's assessment of the
constitutional claims debatable or wrong, " Tennard
v. Dretke, 542 U.S. 274, 282 (2004) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted), or that "'the
issues presented are adequate to deserve
encouragement to proceed further, " Miller-El v.
Cockrel, 537 U.S., 327 (2003); see also see also
Buck v. Davis, __U.S. __, 137 S.Ct. 759, 773-74 (2017).
Cordell does not satisfy this standard, and the Court
declines to issue a Certificate of Appealability. The Motion
to Vacate shall be dismissed. A separate Order follows.
 On October 19, 2016, the Court ordered
that Defendant's name change request be granted and that
his committed name be changed from Larry Allen Cordell to
Linda Allen Cordell. See United States v. Cordell
Criminal No. RDB-07-0478 (D. Md.) at ECF Nos. 91-92.
Defendant will therefore be referred to in the feminine
pronoun in this Opinion.
The judgment was amended on June 6,
2008. See United States v. Cordell, Criminal No.
RDB-07-0478 (D. ...