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Stokes v. Dovey

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 22, 2018

DARYL KEVIN STOKES, #313-631 Petitioner
v.
WARDEN RICHARD DOVEY and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND Respondents

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending is Daryl Kevin Stokes' Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his 2003 judgment of conviction for armed robbery and related offenses. (ECF 1). Respondents Warden Richard Dovey and the Attorney General of the State of Maryland filed a limited Answer seeking dismissal of the Petition as time-barred. (ECF 5). Stokes has filed a Response. (ECF 7). Respondents subsequently provided additional information at direction of this Court, and Stokes filed a Reply. (ECF 8, 11, 13).[1]

         The case is briefed and ready for disposition. After considering the pleadings, exhibits, and applicable law, this Court finds a hearing unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016); Rule 8, Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings in the United States District Courts; see also Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455 (4th Cir. 2000) (stating a petitioner is not entitled to a hearing under 28 U.S.C. §2254(e)(2)). The Court will DENY AND DISMISS the Petition as time-barred.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On February 12, 2003, Stokes was convicted by a jury sitting in the Circuit Court for Harford County of three counts each of armed robbery, robbery, first degree assault, second degree assault, one count of use of a handgun in the commission of a felony and crime of violence, and other related offenses. (ECF 5-1). On April 28, 2003, the Circuit Court sentenced Stokes to three concurrent twenty-year sentences for the armed robbery convictions and a ten-year consecutive sentence for the use of a handgun in a crime of violence conviction. All other sentences were merged. Id.

         On June 10, 2003, Stokes filed a Motion for Modification or Reduction of Sentence that was held sub curia. (ECF 5-1 at 8).

         On February 17, 2005, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed Stokes' judgment of conviction. Id; see also ECF 5-1 at 9; Memorandum Opinion, Stokes v. Bishop, ECF No. RDB-12-840 (D. Md. 2014); ECF 5-2.[2] The Court of Appeals of Maryland denied Stokes' request for further review on June 10, 2005. (ECF 5-2).

         On August 27, 2008, Stokes filed a Petition for Post-Conviction relief in the Circuit Court for Harford County. (ECF 5-2). The Circuit Court conducted a hearing on Stokes' Post-Conviction Petition on February 6, 2009. Id. On April 17, 2009, the state post-conviction court denied relief. Id.

         On April 28, 2011, a “Letter of Defendant to Judge Eaves requesting a modification of his sentence” was denied. Id. at 11.

         In an unreported opinion filed on August 10, 2011, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland summarily denied Stokes' Application for Leave to Appeal. Id. The mandate issued on September 12, 2011. (ECF 5-2).

         On May 28, 2014, Stokes' submitted a filing that the Circuit Court treated as a Motion to Reopen Post-Conviction proceedings and denied. (ECF 5-1). On September 17, 2015, the Court of Special Appeals denied Stokes' Application for Leave to Appeal. (ECF 5-3).

         This Court treats the Petition as filed on the date it was signed, April 23, 2015. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988); United States v. Dorsey, 988 F.Supp. 917, 919-20 (D. Md. 1998); Rule 3(d) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (applying the “mailbox rule”).

         On September 6, 2016, this Court ordered Respondents to clarify whether the 2003 Motion for Modification remained pending. (ECF 8 at 2).

         On October 11, 2016, Respondents filed a Response asserting that because Stokes' April 20, 2011, Petition for Modification of Sentence was filed well more than 90 days after his April 28, 2003 sentencing, the pleading was a nullity under Maryland Rule 4-345(e), [3] unless construed by the sentencing court as a request for a ruling on the pending year 2003 petition for reduction or modification of sentence. Respondents assert that the Circuit Court's actions on Stokes' April 20, 2011 filing indicate that the court treated the filing as a request for a ruling on the year 2003, Motion for Reduction or Modification of Sentence. The Circuit Court then denied the 2003 Motion. (ECF No. 11). ...


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