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Dauntain v. Bishop

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 2, 2018

BRANDON ADAM DAUNTAIN, Petitioner
v.
WARDEN FRANK B. BISHOP JR. and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND Respondents

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On September 13, 2017, [1] Petitioner Brandon Adam Dauntain filed the instant 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus Petition attacking his 2001 state convictions for attempted second-degree murder, first-degree sex offense, and related charges. ECF No. 1. Respondents filed an Answer to the Petition, and Dauntain has filed a reply to the Answer. ECF Nos. 7, 9.

         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.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In 2001, Dauntain was charged in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County with numerous offenses arising out of his March 28, 2001 attack of two victims. ECF No. 7-1 at 3; see also ECF No. 7-10 at 2-7 (summarizing victims' account of the attack). Before proceeding to a jury trial, Dauntain moved to suppress evidence, including statements that he made to police while in custody and physical evidence seized from Dauntain at the time of his arrest. ECF No. 7-2 at 62. After conducting a hearing, the trial court ruled in Dauntain's favor on both motions. Id. at 62-147 (hearing about custodial statements); ECF No. 7-3 (hearing about arrest). The court explained that Dauntain was in police custody but had not been read his Miranda[2] rights at the time he made certain statements, and accordingly suppressed those statements. ECF No. 7-2 at 147. Likewise, the court ruled that, at the time of his arrest, the police lacked probable cause and therefore suppressed all of the physical evidence seized from Dauntain upon his arrest. ECF No. 7-3 at 40.

         Following a jury trial, Dauntain was convicted of more than a dozen charges, including attempted second-degree murder, first-degree sex offense, arson, assault, and burglary. ECF No. 7-1 at 11. In January 2002, Dauntain was sentenced to life imprisonment, with the first 10 years to be served without the possibility of parole. Id. at 12. Dauntain timely appealed, and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed his convictions. ECF No. 7-1 at 14; ECF No. 7-10. Dauntain timely filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Maryland Court of Appeals, which denied the petition on September 18, 2003. ECF No. 7-1 at 14. Dauntain did not seek review by the United States Supreme Court; thus, his convictions became final on December 17, 2003, 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 September 10, 2004, Dauntain filed a Petition for Post Conviction Relief (PCR) with the Circuit Court. Id. at 15; ECF No. 7-11. According to the docket sheet, Dauntain's PCR petition was referred to the Office of the Public Defender on September 15, 2004. ECF No. 7-1 at 15. However, no further action occurred in Dauntain's case until October 10, 2014, when an Assistant Public Defender entered an appearance. Id. A supplemental PCR petition was filed and a hearing was conducted. Id. at 17. On December 20, 2016, the Circuit Court denied the PCR petition. Id. The Circuit Court granted Dauntain's request for an extension of time to file an appeal of the PCR denial, and Dauntain filed an application for leave to appeal on February 8, 2017. Id. at 17-18. However, in an order issued April 6, 2017, the Court of Special Appeals ruled that the Circuit Court lacked the authority to extend the time for filing an application for leave to appeal, vacated the Circuit Court's order, and dismissed Dauntain's application as untimely. ECF No. 7-13.

         On September 13, 2017, Dauntain filed the instant § 2254 Petition, arguing that he is entitled to habeas corpus relief because “[p]olice[] admitted at motions hearing that at no time was I read my rights the night of my arrest nor was I marandized [sic]. Judge ruled that police had no probable cause to stop me and that my [e]ntire arrest was illegal.” ECF No. 1 at 5. Respondents have answered, arguing that Dauntain's Petition should be rejected because the trial court ruled in Dauntain's favor on these challenges and suppressed the unconstitutionally obtained evidence. ECF No. 7 at 18-19. In the alternative, Respondents note that the Petition could be dismissed as time-barred or as procedurally defaulted. Id. at 8 n.1, 18 n.2. Further, Respondents argue that, to the extent Dauntain's claim is read as presenting a Fourth Amendment challenge, it is not cognizable on habeas corpus review, as the issue was fully litigated in state court. Id. at 19 n.3. The Court gave Dauntain an opportunity to explain why his Petition should not be dismissed as time-barred and to reply to the Respondent's other arguments, ECF No. 8, and Dauntain timely did so, ECF No. 9.[3]

         ANALYSIS

         Section 2254 states that a district court “shall entertain an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).

         A. Timeliness

         Timeliness is a threshold consideration when examining a 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 ...

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