United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Robert Lamont Ireland, an inmate confined at the Roxbury
Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Maryland, has filed a
Petition for habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
For reasons set forth below, the Petition shall be DENIED and
DISMISSED as time-barred.
September 8, 2017, the Court received Ireland's
self-represented Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Petition was signed on August
21, 2017 and is deemed filed as of that date. See Houston
v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 270-76 (1988); United States
v. McNeill, 523 Fed.Appx. 979, 983 (4th Cir. 2013);
United States v. Dorsey, 988 F.Supp. 917, 919-920
(D. Md. 1998) (holding a petition shall be deemed to have
been filed on the date it was deposited with prison
authorities for mailing under the prison mailbox rule.)
Petition challenges Ireland's 1992 convictions in the
Circuit Court for Somerset County. On September 21, 2017, the
Court issued an Order requiring Respondents to file a limited
answer to the Petition within forty-five days and granted
Ireland twenty-eight days to file a reply. ECF No. 3.
Respondents filed a Limited Answer to the Petition on October
23, 2017, seeking dismissal of the Petition as time-barred.
ECF No. 4. Ireland has not filed a Reply.
to the state court docket on February 26, 1992, a jury
convicted Ireland on four counts of second-degree assault in
the Circuit Court for Somerset County. ECF No. 4-1. On that
same date he was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years
confinement, consecutive to all other sentences he was
currently serving. Ireland appealed to the Court of Special
Appeals of Maryland, which affirmed his convictions in an
unreported opinion on January 14, 1993. Id. The
petition for writ of certiorari was denied by the Court of
Appeals on May 11, 1993. See Ireland v. State, 330
Md. 319 (1993). Ireland did not seek review in the United
States Supreme Court ("Supreme Court"). Therefore,
his convictions became final for direct appeal purposes on
August 9, 1993, when the 90-day period for filing a petition
for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court expired.
See Supreme Court Rule 13.1 (requiring petition for
writ of certiorari to be filed within ninety days of date of
judgment from which review is sought); Clay v. United
States, 537 U.S. 522, 525 (2003) (state judgment becomes
final for habeas purposes when the time expires for filing a
petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court or
ninety days following the decision of the state's highest
October 6, 1993, Ireland filed a post-conviction petition in
the Circuit Court for Somerset County, which was denied by
Judge Richard D. Warren on January 6, 1994. He did not seek
leave to appeal that decision. ECF No. 4-1. Thus, the denial
of post-conviction relief became final on February 7, 1994.
See Md. Rule 8-204(b) (application for leave to
appeal must be filed within 30 days after entry of judgment
or order from which appeal is sought).
to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
("AEDPA"), when filing a federal habeas corpus
petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, defendants
convicted in state court on a non-capital offense are subject
to a one-year statute of limitations. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2244(d). Ireland, whose conviction became final in
August of 1993, had one year from the effective date of AEDPA
to file his petition in this Court. See Brown v.
Angelone, 150 F.3d 370, 374-75 (4th Cir. 1998) (one-year
grace period for habeas corpus petitioner whose convictions
became final prior to the April 24, 1996 enactment of AEDPA);
see also Hernandez v. Caldwell, 225 F.3d 435, 439
(4th Cir. 2000) (Section 2244(d) one-year limitation period
expires on April 24, 1997, for convictions which became final
prior to April 24, 1996).
had one year from April 24, 1996 to file a § 2254
petition. This Petition was filed on August 21, 2017, over
twenty-one years later. No. state post-conviction petition
was pending during that time period to statutorily toll the
limitation period under § 2244(d)(2). Thus, the Petition
was filed outside the one-year statute of limitations period.
offers no explanation for the late filing except to state
that he "was not advised or made aware by attorney I had
to file within (1) year after convictions..." ECF No. 1
at 5. Under certain circumstances, the
AEDPA's statute of limitations may be subject to
equitable tolling. See, e.g., Harris v. Hutchinson,
209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir. 2000); United States v.
Prescott, 221 F.3d 686, 687-88 (4th Cir. 2000); see
also Wall v. Kholi, 562 U.S. 545, 549 (2011). The Fourth
Circuit has consistently held that a party seeking to avail
himself of equitable tolling must show that (1) extraordinary
circumstances, (2) beyond his control or external to his own
conduct, (3) prevented him from filing on time. Rouse v.
Lee, 339 F.3d 238, 246 (4th Cir. 2003) (en banc).
Further, to be entitled to equitable tolling a petitioner
must show: "(1) that he has been pursuing his rights
diligently, and (2) that some extraordinary circumstance
stood in his way and prevented timely filing."
Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 649 (2010) (citing
Pace v. DiGulielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005)).
has failed to make such a showing and has otherwise failed to
demonstrate any ground on which equitable tolling applies.
Legal inexperience is not a justification for equitable
tolling. See United States v. Sosa, 364 F.3d 507,
512 (4th Cir. 2004) (stating that ignorance of the law is not
a basis for equitable tolling); Cross-Bey v. Gammon,
322 F.3d 1012, 1215 (8th Cir. 2003) ("Even in the case
of an unrepresented prisoner alleging a lack of legal
knowledge or legal resources, equitable tolling has not been
warranted.") (internal quotations omitted); Felder
v. Johnson, 204 F.3d 168, 171-73 (5th Cir. 2000) (lack
of notice of AEDPA amendments and ignorance of the law are
not rare and exceptional circumstances that warrant equitable
tolling). Ireland's Petition for habeas corpus relief is
time-barred under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A-D) and is
dismissed and denied with prejudice.