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Crosby v. Maryland Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 9, 2018

ROBERT ANTHONY CROSBY, #344-818, Petitioner
v.
MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND, Respondents

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge

         On October 17, 2016, [1] Petitioner Robert Anthony Crosby filed this 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (2012) habeas corpus Petition attacking his 2007 convictions for distributing cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. ECF No. 1. On December 21, 2016, Respondents filed an answer solely addressing the timeliness of Petition. ECF No. 5. After being advised of his right to do so, Petitioner responded to the answer. ECF Nos. 6, 7. Subsequently, this Court ordered the Respondents to address the merits of the Petition. ECF No. 8. The Respondents have done so, and Petitioner has replied to these arguments. ECF Nos. 12, 13.

         This matter has been fully briefed. 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; Local Rule 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. § 2254(e)(2)). For the reasons set forth herein, the Court will deny and dismiss the Petition with prejudice.

         FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Following a jury trial in the Circuit Court for Washington County, Maryland, Petitioner was convicted of distributing cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. ECF No. 1 at 1. On July 6, 2007, he was sentenced to 40 years' imprisonment for the distribution conviction, with the first 25 years to be served without the possibility of parole. ECF No. 1 at 1; ECF No. 4-1 at 9. He received a concurrent term of 20 years' imprisonment for the conspiracy conviction. ECF No. 4-1 at 9. Petitioner noted a timely appeal. In an unreported opinion filed on July 23, 2009, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed the convictions. ECF No. 5-2. A petition for a writ of certiorari was denied by the Court of Appeals of Maryland on November 13, 2009. Crosby v. State, 938 A.2d 432 (Md. 2009). Petitioner did not seek review by the United States Supreme Court. Thus, his convictions became final on February 11, 2010, when the time for seeking further review expired. See Sup. Ct. Rule 13.1 (petition for writ of certiorari to be filed no later than 90 days after entry of judgment from which review is sought).

         On October 2, 2013, more than three years after his conviction became final, Petitioner filed a petition for post-conviction relief (“PCR”) pursuant to the Maryland Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act, Md. Code Ann., Crim. Pro. § 7-102, et seq. ECF No. 5-1 at 10; ECF No. 12-3 at 1. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the court denied the PCR on July 6, 2015. ECF No. 12-3. Petitioner applied for leave to appeal this decision to the Court of Special Appeals, which denied his application on March 18, 2016. ECF No. 5-1 at 14. The Court of Special Appeals' mandate issued on April 8, 2016. ECF No. 5-1 at 14. The Clerk received Petitioner's § 2254 Petition on October 19, 2016. ECF No. 1.

         CLAIMS FOR RELIEF

         In his § 2254 petition, Petitioner contends that he is entitled to habeas relief because the State committed Brady[2] violations when it: (1) “merely indicated that the forensic chemist was an expert and provided a lab report indicating the results of lab testing as well as a chain of custody, ” but failed to provide “additional information regarding the expert witness or lab testing”; and (2) disclosed that a confidential informant “was working ‘in consideration for leniency in charges' . . . [but] failed to provide any additional information regarding [the informant], the specific charges she was facing, or the benefit she was receiving in exchange for her cooperation.” ECF No. 1 at 5, 7. Petitioner also seeks habeas relief on the ground that his counsel was ineffective for allowing certain evidence to be presented to the jury regarding his alleged involvement in a prior unrelated robbery. ECF No. 1 at 8. Specifically, he refers to counsel's failure to move in limine to exclude such evidence, her decision to ask follow-up questions of a witness testifying about the robbery, and her failure to move for a mistrial or seek a curative jury instruction based on such testimony. ECF No. 1 at 8.

         DISCUSSION: TIMELINESS

         Timeliness is a threshold consideration when examining Petitioner's claims. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d),

(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 ...

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