United States District Court, D. Maryland
Catherine C. Blake United States District Judge.
Leftwich, currently confined at the Maryland Correctional
Training Center in Hagerstown, Maryland, has filed a petition
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
ECF No. 1. The petition challenges Leftwich's 2011
conviction in the Circuit Court for Howard County, Maryland
for fourth-degree burglary, theft under $1, 000, and rogue
and vagabond. Id. The Attorney General filed a
response arguing that the petition should be denied on the
merits. ECF No. 8. Subsequently, Leftwich filed a reply to
the response (ECF No. 11), as well as a motion for
appropriate relief (ECF No. 13).
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 (D.
Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow, Leftwich's
petition will be dismissed and his motion for appropriate
relief will be denied. A certificate of appealability will not
facts at Leftwich's jury trial in the Circuit Court for
Howard County, as adduced by the Court of Special Appeals of
Maryland, are summarized as follows. Early in the morning on
November 17, 2010, Detective Brown of the Harford County
Sherriff's Department conducted surveillance of
Leftwich's residence in Edgewood, Maryland. ECF No. 8-2
at 7. At approximately 12:20 a.m., Detective
Brown observed Leftwich's pick-up truck depart from the
residence and proceed on Maryland Route 152 near the
intersection of Interstate 95. Id. at 7. Detective
Brown followed the truck as it traveled south on Interstate
95, west on Interstate 695, Interstate 70, Maryland Route 29,
and west on Maryland Route 99 into Howard County, before
heading down a “no outlet” street. Id.
at 7-9. After waiting for about 10 minutes, Detective Brown
saw the truck, driven by Leftwich, return to Maryland Route
99. Id. Leftwich continued to turn onto nearby
streets, disappearing for 10 to 29 minutes at a time.
Id. Detective Brown saw no other passengers in the
truck, but observed bags and packages in the passenger seat.
Id. at 7, 11.
Brown followed the truck as it returned to Edgewood in
Harford County. Id. at 11. Along the way, the truck
made three stops at gas stations, where Leftwich exited the
vehicle and used a credit card to pay for gas. Id.
Detective Brown called ahead to another detective, who
arrested Leftwich when he reached his residence. Id.
Detective Brown then executed a search and seizure warrant
for Leftwich's truck and person, and seized over fifty
morning of November 17, 2010, Corporal Raymond Conner of the
Howard County Police Department arrived at Leftwich's
residence after receiving a call that “Harford County
had some property pertaining to some addresses in Howard
County.” ECF No. 8-2 at 25. After conducting a brief
review of the seized property, Corporal Conner believed that
the property belonged to Howard County residents.
Id. He then contacted the likely owners to ask them
to claim their property. Id.
Howard County residents testified that on November 17, 2010,
upon inspection of their vehicles, they discovered that
several items were missing. Id. at 13-23. Some of
those residents identified the missing articles from
photographs of the items seized from Leftwich on the morning
of his arrest. Id. at 19-23.
did not testify at trial. ECF No. 1 at 2. The jury convicted
him of six counts of theft under $1, 000, seven counts of
rogue and vagabond, and two counts of fourth-degree burglary.
ECF No. 8-2 at 5. He was sentenced to serve a total of 21
years in prison, or one sentence of three years'
imprisonment as to each of the seven victims. See id
at 5 n.2.
raised two issues on appeal to the Court of Special Appeals
of Maryland: 1) whether the evidence was sufficient to
sustain his convictions for fourth-degree burglary and rogue
and vagabond; and 2) whether he was improperly convicted of
both fourth-degree burglary and theft based on the same acts
with respect to two victims. ECF No. 8-2 at 5. By unreported
opinion filed on December 4, 2012, the Court of Special
Appeals affirmed all but two of Leftwich's convictions,
making no impact on the sentence as imposed. Id. at
47. Leftwich then filed a petition for a writ of certiorari,
which the Court of Appeals of Maryland denied on March 26,
2013. See ECF No. 8-1 at 17.
5, 2012, while his direct appeal was pending in the Court of
Special Appeals, Leftwich filed a pro se petition for
post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court for Howard County
and raised these allegations of error:
(A) trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance with
respect to 18 issues and faced a conflict of interest;
(B) the trial court made prejudicial comments in the presence
of the jury;
(C) the prosecution employed improper pre-trial and trial
(D) appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise
all relevant issues on appeal.
ECF No. 8-3 at 7-21. On February 13, 2013 and August 12,
2013, Leftwich filed pro se supplements to his
post-conviction petition. ECF No. 8-1 at 16-17. On February
7, 2014, Leftwich filed an additional supplement through
counsel, raising a single issue: that trial counsel rendered
ineffective assistance by incorrectly informing him that the
State's key witness would not be present to testify, thus
prompting him to reject the State's plea offer and elect
to proceed to trial. See Id. at 18; ECF No. 8-8 at
21. In total, Leftwich raised 56 allegations in his petition
for post-conviction relief, including those raised in
supplements. See id at 3-21.
circuit court heard Leftwich's post-conviction petition
on December 19, 2013, March 6, 2014, June 2, 2014, and June
9, 2014. See ECF No. 8-1 at 18-19. By order entered
on April 8, 2015, the Circuit Court for Howard County denied
Leftwich post-conviction relief. ECF No. 8-7.
Leftwich filed an application for leave to appeal the denial
of his post-conviction petition, raising the following
(A) the post-conviction court erred when it disregarded
evidence that was obtained in violation of Leftwich's
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights and
which was used to procure his arrest and conviction;
(B) the post-conviction court erred when it disregarded
evidence of Leftwich's illegal arrest, which was made
without probable cause and which provided an ...