United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. GRIMM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Moment is incarcerated at Western Correctional Institution in
Cumberland, Maryland. On December 14, 2016, he filed a Petition
for Writ of Habeas Corpus, which he later supplemented,
challenging his 2011 judgment of conviction in the Circuit
Court for Montgomery County, Maryland for intimidating or
corrupting officers of the court and threatening state
officials. Pet., ECF No. 1; Supp. Pet., ECF No. 6.
Respondents filed a Response arguing that the Petition should
be denied because the claims presented are procedurally
defaulted and lack merit. Resp't's Resp., ECF No. 5.
Moment filed a Reply. ECF No. 12. No evidentiary hearing is
necessary. See Rule 8(a), Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts;
see also 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2). I find that
Petitioner's claims are procedurally defaulted and his
arguments lack merit based on the findings of the State
Court. Therefore, the Petition IS DENIED and
August 8, 2011, a jury in the Circuit Court for Montgomery
County convicted Moment of two counts of intimidating or
corrupting an officer of the court and ten counts of
threatening a state official. State Ct. Docket 117643C, Entry
No. 126. Moment represented himself at trial.
Post-Conviction Statement of Reasons and Order of Court
(“Stat. Reas. & Or.”) 2, 10, ECF No. 1-1. On
November 7, 2011, the Circuit Court sentenced Moment to five
years of incarceration followed by five years of probation
with the remainder of his time suspended. State Ct. Docket
117643C, Entry No. 145; see also Moment v. Morgan,
Civil Action No. WDQ-14-3039, ECF No. 5-5 (Moment v.
Maryland, No. 1445 (Md. Ct. Sp. App. Sept. Term 2011))
(“Md. Ct. Spec. App. Unreported Case”). On
December 24, 2015, Moment was released from prison. Stat.
Reas. & Or. 16. On March 3, 2016, a bench warrant was
issued against Moment for a violation of his probation and on
August 2, 2016, he was found to have violated his probation.
State Ct. Docket 117643C, Entry Nos. 245, 278. On February
13, 2017, Judge Jackson resentenced Moment to serve three
counts concurrently and four counts consecutively for a total
of 19 years imprisonment. Id. at 306.
raised three claims on direct appeal: 1) whether the trial
court erred in failing to conduct a competency evaluation; 2)
whether the trial court committed plain error by allowing the
state to introduce prejudicial and inadmissible evidence at
trial; and 3) whether the evidence was legally sufficient to
convict him. Pet. 2.
Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed Moment's
conviction in an unreported opinion filed on August 19, 2013.
Md. Ct. Spec. App. Unreported Case; Pet. 2-3. The Court of
Appeals of Maryland vacated the decision, granted
Moment's Petition for Writ of Certiorari, and remanded
the matter to the Court of Special Appeals for further review
in light of that Court's intervening opinions in Wood
v. State, 81 A.3d 427 (Md. 2013) and Kennedy v.
State, 85 A.3d 106 (Md. 2014), which addressed
competency evaluations. Moment v. State, 86 A.3d
1274 (Md. March 24, 2014) (table). On May 12, 2014, the Court
of Special Appeals found there was sufficient evidence at
trial to support the jury's conclusion that Moment
committed the offenses for which he was charged and the trial
court did not err in not making a competency determination,
and issued a second opinion which affirmed Moment's
conviction. Md. Ct. Spec. App. Unreported Case 24-27, 40;
see also Pet. 2-3.
through his appellate counsel, filed a Petition for a Writ of
Certiorari, seeking review of the Court of Special
Appeals' resolution of the competency issue. Moment
v. Morgan, No. WDQ-14-3039, ECF No. 5-6. In a separately
filed pro se petition, Moment asked the Court of Appeals to
review issues not previously raised on direct appeal.
Id. On August 28, 2014, the Court of Appeals denied
both the counselled and pro se requests for certiorari
review. Id. Moment did not pursue review before the
United States Supreme Court. Consequently, his judgment
became final for the purpose of direct appeal on November 26,
2015. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) (stating that judgment
becomes final upon “conclusion of direct review or the
expiration of the time for seeking such review”); Sup.
Ct. Rule 13.1 (A Petition for Writ of Certiorari must be
filed no later than 90 days after entry of judgment from
which review is sought).
March 5, 2012, Moment initiated post-conviction proceedings
in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. On August 20,
2012, the Circuit Court for Montgomery
County transferred the case to the Circuit Court for Prince
George's County for the limited purpose of conducting a
hearing. State Ct. Docket 117643C, Entry Nos. 173, 183.
post-conviction litigation before the Circuit Court for
Montgomery County, Moment argued that 1) he “was forced
to proceed to trial without counsel” in violation of
his rights under the 5th, 6th, 8th, and 14th Amendments; 2)
the indictment, trial, conviction, and sentencing were
unlawful because a Prince George's County judge presided
over the trial while sitting in Montgomery County Circuit
Court; 3) the State tampered with evidence presented at
trial; and 4) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his
convictions. Stat. Reas. & Or. 4; see also Pet.
3. During the post-conviction hearing, Moment also argued
that Rene Joy, Assistant State's Attorney for Prince
George's County, lacked jurisdiction to indict him in
Montgomery County and, as a result, his trial, conviction,
and sentence were unlawful. Stat. Reas. & Or. 4 n.3.
Honorable Krystal Q. Alves held a hearing on the Petition for
Post-Conviction Relief on December 10, 2015. On October 14,
2016, Judge Alves denied Moment's claims for relief
finding that he could not raise an ineffective assistance of
counsel claim having waived his right to counsel, that venue
in Montgomery County was proper, that he failed to establish
that the State tampered with evidence, and that his challenge
to the sufficiency of evidence was barred by res
judicata. Stat. Reas. & Or. 10-15. Moment did not
file a timely application for leave to appeal this decision,
and the decision became final on November 13,
2016. See Md. Rule 8-204 (Applications
for Leave to Appeal to the Court of Special Appeals must be
filed within 30 days after the entry of judgment or order
from which the appeal is sought).