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Locklear v. Warden

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 10, 2018

TIMOTHY K LOCKLEAR, Petitioner
v.
WARDEN and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND, Respondents

          MEMORANDUM

         On December 27, 2017, [1] Timothy K. Locklear filed this 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition attacking his 2014 convictions for first degree burglary, third degree burglary, and second degree assault ECF No. 1. On February 15, 2018, respondents filed a limited answer arguing that the petition should be dismissed as untimely. ECF No. 5. Pursuant to Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701 (4th Cir. 2002), the court afforded Locklear an opportunity to explain why his petition should not be dismissed as time-barred., ECF No. 6. Locklear did not respond, and the time for doing so has expired.

         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 necessarily entitled to hearing under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2)). For the reasons set forth herein, the court shall DENY the petition, DENY a certificate of appealability, and DISMISS this action with prejudice.

         FACTUAL HISTORY

         Following a jury trial in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland, Locklear was convicted of first degree burglary, third degree burglary, and second degree assault. ECF No. 5- 1 at 7. On May 22, 2014, Locklear was sentenced to a total of 20 years' imprisonment. Id. at 5, 7. On May 28, 2014, Locklear filed a timely notice of appeal.[2] Id. at 7. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed Locklear's criminal judgment on June 2, 2015, and issued its mandate on July 6, 2015. Id. at 8. Locklear did not seek further review in the Maryland Court of Appeals. Thus, Locklear's criminal conviction became final for purposes of 28 U.S.C! § 2244(d)(1)(A) on July 21, 2015, when his time to seek certiorari review from the Court of Appeals expired. See Md. Rule 8-302(a).

         On November 24, 2015, Locklear filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, which denied relief on June 29, 2016. ECF No. 5-1 at 8. On July 27, 2016, Locklear timely filed an application for leave to appeal the post-conviction court's decision with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Id. at 9; see Md. Rule 4-408, 8-204(b)(2). The Court of Special Appeals denied the application on February 16, 2017, and issued its mandate on March 21, 2017. ECF No. 5-2.

         Locklear filed the instant § 2254 petition on December 27, 2017. ECF No. 1 at 15. The petition raises three claims pertaining to the fact that his trial date "went beyond Hicks, " ECF No. 1 at 7, an apparent reference to Hicks v. State, 403 A.2d 356 (Md, 1979), which concerns the time frame for bringing a defendant to trial and possible "extraordinary cause[s]" warranting the extension of this time frame. Two of Locklear's claims concern the trial court's finding that good cause existed to delay Locklear's trial and one claim concerns trial counsel's alleged ineffective assistance for going "behind [Locklear's] back on his own discretion and set a court date beyond [his] hicks [date] ... with the prosecut[o]r." ECF No. 1 at 5-8 (some capitalization altered). According to Locklear's petition, he raised all three grounds on direct appeal and in his petition for post-conviction relief.

         The respondents assert that Locklear's petition should be dismissed because more than a year of untolled time elapsed between the date Locklear's conviction became final and the date he filed the instant petition. ECF No. 5 at 3-5. On February 16, 2018, this court issued an order granting Locklear 28 days to present an argument that his petition should not be dismissed as untimely. ECF No. 6. Locklear has not responded.

         DISCUSSION

         An application for writ of habeas corpus may be granted only for violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States. 28 U.S.C., § 2254(a). However, 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 retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence.

         This one-year period is, however, tolled while properly filed post-conviction ...


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