Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Tidmore v. Wolfe

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 11, 2018

BRIAN K. TIDMORE, #429998, SID #1774564 Petitioner
v.
WARDEN WOLFE and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND Respondents

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending is Brian K. Tidmore's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his 2014 judgment of conviction by way of a not guilty plea on an agreed statement of facts pursuant to which he was convicted in the Circuit Court for Wicomico County, Maryland. Specifically, he was found guilty of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute as a volume dealer, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, and possession of cocaine. Respondents filed an Answer (ECF 5), to which Tidmore filed a Reply. (ECF 6).

         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) (petitioner is not entitled to a hearing under 28 U.S.C. §2254(e)(2)). The Court will DENY AND DISMISS the Petition with prejudice.

         PETITIONER'S CLAIMS

         Tidmore presents interrelated and overlapping claims for relief which can be summarized as follows: (1) the trial court erred in failing to dismiss his charges due to a violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD); (2) the trial court erred by failing to dismiss his charges due to a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial; and (3) the warden of the prison in Georgia where he was incarcerated violated his Fourteenth Amendment Due Process rights by failing to have his IAD paperwork delivered to the Circuit Court for Wicomico County. (ECF 1 at 7, 9-11).

         BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On March 2, 2007, Tidmore was the sole occupant of a vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation in Salisbury, Maryland. A K-9 dog assisted in detecting a bag in the car that contained approximately 500 grams of cocaine. See Agreed Statement of Facts, Trans. (ECF 5-6 at 47, 51) On March 26, 2007, a Wicomico County grand jury returned an indictment charging Tidmore with volume possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of cocaine. (ECF 1 at 5-1 at 8).

         Tidmore's trial was scheduled to begin on July 10, 2007. When Tidmore failed to appear, the trial date was continued to August 24, 2007. Tidmore again failed to appear, (ECF 1 at 5-1 at 9-10; ECF 5-2, 5-3).

         Tidmore absconded to Georgia where he was arrested, convicted on narcotics charges unrelated to the ones he was facing in Maryland, and sentenced to ten years of incarceration by a Georgia state court. He was released on parole in May of 2014. (ECF 5-9 at 2-3).

         On July 1, 2010, Tidmore's attorney filed a Motion for a Speedy Trial in his Maryland case. ECF 1 at 5-1 at 10; ECF 5-5 at 23. Shortly after, the State's Attorney's Office for Wicomico County lodged a detainer against Tidmore in Georgia.

         On September 14, 2010, Tidmore signed a waiver of extradition and forms requesting to stand trial in Maryland. The forms were sent to the Wicomico County Sheriffs Department and the District of Attorney of Wicomico County. (ECF 5-6 at 9-16).

         Tidmore was released on parole from his Georgia conviction on May 7, 2014. (ECF 5-6 at 8). He was transported to Maryland on May 11, 2014. Id.

         I. 2014 PROCEEDINGS IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR WICOMICO COUNTY

         Upon his return to Maryland, Tidmore moved to dismiss the indictments, asserting violations of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers ("IAD") and his right to a speedy trial. (ECF 5-5, 5-6). Tidmore testified at the two-day motions hearing conducted on August 1 and 4, 2014, that once he learned of the Maryland detainer, he informed his Georgia case manager of his desire to return to Maryland to stand trial. Tidmore testified he signed the relevant forms in Georgia on September 14, 2010, and was given documentation about three days later showing that the warden sent the forms to the Wicomico County Sheriffs Office and the county "District Attorney" in Wicomico County. (ECF 5-6 at 9-16). Tidmore's testimony was supported by a letter from the warden at the Georgia prison as well as a U.S. Postal Service "green card" that confirmed the mailing. (ECF 5-6 at 27). Tidmore could not remember whether the paperwork was sent to the Circuit Court for Wicomico County. Id. Tidmore testified that he inquired "constantly" about returning to Maryland, and his Georgia case workers called "Wicomico County" on "multiple occasions." Id. at 18.

         At the end of the hearing, the trial court denied Tidmore's Motion to Dismiss, finding he had not complied with the notice requirements of Md. Correctional Services Art. 8-405(b). The trial judge stated:

Correctional Services Section 8-405(b)... states the written notice and request for final disposition required under subsection A of this section shall be given or sent by the prisoner to the Warden, Commissioner of Corrections or other official having custody of the prisoner, who shall promptly forward it, together with the certificate, to the appropriate prosecuting official and the court by registered or 1 certified mail, return receipt requested.
It's undisputed that nothing was sent to the Court in this case. The Statute is plain on its face, and there is a good purpose for that. There is a salutary purpose of that statute by requiring it [request for trial documents] to go to Court because if it's not sent to the State's Attorney at least the Court is aware of the situation and the Court can invoke the Defendant's right to a speedy trial.

(ECF 5-6 at 36) (emphasis added).

         On August 4, 2014, Tidmore pleaded not guilty to an agreed statement of facts after which the Court found him guilty and sentenced him to 20 years of incarceration with all but seven years suspended. The sentence includes a mandatory minimum of five years. (ECF 5-6 at 58; ECF 1 at l.).[1]

         II. DIRECT APPEAL

         Tidmore raised two questions on direct appealed to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland:

1. Did the circuit court err in denying appellant's Motion to Dismiss due to a violation of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers when, while detained in Georgia in 2010, he provided written notice of his request for final disposition in this case that was sent by the warden in Georgia to the State's Attorney's Office for Wicomico County?
2. Did the circuit court err in denying appellant's Motion to Dismiss due to a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial when the State's Attorney's Office for Wicomico County had notice in September, 2010 of appellant's waiver of extradition and desire to be tried in Maryland but failed to take any action in the case until May, 2014?

(ECF 5-9).

         On August 11, 2015, the Court of Special Appeals affirmed Tidmore's convictions in an unreported opinion. Tidmore v. Maryland, CSA No. 1451, September Term; see also ECF 5-9. Tidmore filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari in the Court of Appeals of Maryland requesting further review which the Court of Appeals of Maryland denied on October 19, 2015. (ECF 5-10 at 30).

         III. PETITION FOR POST CONVICTION RELIEF

         On December 23, 2015, Tidmore filed a Petition for Post-Conviction Relief, raising a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. (ECF 1 at 5; ECF 5-1 at 14). On July 29, 2016, Tidmore was granted post-conviction relief in the form of permission to file a Belated Motion for Modification of Sentence. (ECF 5-1 at 15). All other claims in Tidmore's Post-Conviction Petition were withdrawn with prejudice. Id. Tidmore filed a Motion for Modification in the Circuit Court for Wicomico County on October 3, 2016, which that Court denied on July 25, 2017. See http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/casesearch/inquiry (last viewed March 27, 2018).

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The federal habeas statute at 28 U.S.C § 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).

         The statute sets forth a "highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings." Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333 n. 7 (1997); see also Bell v. Cone, 543 U.S. 447, 853 (2005). This standard is "difficult to meet, " and requires federal courts to give state-court decisions the benefit of the doubt. Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 181 (2011) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A state prisoner must show that a state court ruling on a claim presented in federal court was "so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement." Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 103 (2011).

         A federal court may not grant a writ of habeas corpus unless the state's adjudication on the merits: (1) "resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States" or (2) "resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

         A state adjudication is "contrary to" clearly established federal law under § 2254(d)(1) where the state court "arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the Supreme] Court on a question of law" or "confronts facts that are materially indistinguishable from a relevant Supreme Court precedent and arrives at a result opposite to [the Supreme Court]." Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405 (2000). Under the "unreasonable application analysis, " a "state court's determination that a claim lacks merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as 'fairminded jurists could disagree' on the correctness of the state court's decision." Harrington, 562 U.S. at 101 (quoting Yarborough. v Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). In other words, "a federal habeas court may not issue the writ simply because [it] concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied established federal law erroneously or incorrectly." Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010).

         Under section 2254(d)(2), "a state-court factual determination is not unreasonable merely because the federal habeas court would have reached a different conclusion in the first instance." Wood v. Allen, 558 U.S. 290, 301 (2010). "[E]ven if reasonable minds reviewing the record might disagree about the finding in question, " a federal court may not conclude that the state court decision was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts. Id.

         Further, "a determination of a factual issue made by a State court shall be presumed to be correct[, ]" and the petitioner bears "the burden of rebutting the presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Nicolas v. Attorney Gen. of Md., 820 F.3d 124, 129 (4th Cir. 2016). "Where the state court conducted an evidentiary hearing and explained its reasoning with some care, it should be particularly difficult to establish clear and convincing evidence of error on the state court's part." Sharpe v. Bell, 593 F.3d 372, 378 (4th Cir. 2010). This is especially true where the state court has "resolved issues like witness credibility, which are 'factual determinations' for purposes of Section 2254(e)(1)." Id.

         DISCUSSION

         When undertaking an evaluation of §§ 2254(d)(1) and (2), where the Court of Appeals of Maryland has summarily denied a request for further review of the Court of Special Appeals' determination, a federal habeas court must "look through" the summary decision to the last reasoned decision. Brumfield v. Cain, __U.S.__, 135 S.Ct. 2269, 2276 (2015) (citations omitted). The last reasoned opinion on the claims Tidmore presents here was issued by the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland on direct review.

         I. CLAIM OF TRIAL COURT ERROR FOR DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.