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Woods v. Graham

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 9, 2018

ROBERT D. WOODS
v.
RICHARD GRAHAM, JR. and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND

          MEMORANDUM

          CATHERINE C. BLAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Robert D. Woods filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the constitutionality of his convictions in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. ECF No. 1. In the petition, Mr. Woods raises one claim: the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence at trial. Id. at 5-6.[1]Respondents have filed an answer. ECF No. 6.

         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; See also Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455 (4th Cir. 2000) (Petitioner not necessarily entitled to evidentiary hearing under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2)). For reasons that follow, the petition for writ of habeas corpus will bedenied and dismissed with prejudice.

         Background and Procedural History

         Mr. Woods was charged with the May 12, 2008, burglary of Box and Save, a grocery store in Dundalk, Maryland. Ans. Ex. 6, Ct. of Special Appeals Op. at 10, ECF No. 6-6. On September 10, 2009, a jury trial sitting in the Circuit Court of Baltimore County convicted Mr. Woods of second degree burglary and malicious destruction of property. Pet. at 2, ECF TsTo. 1; Ans. Ex. 3, Sept. 10, 2009 Trial Trans, at 54, ECF No. 6-3. The Court sentenced Woods to thirteen years of imprisonment. Pet. at 1; Ans. Ex. 3 at 63.

         The facts adduced at trial were summarized by the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland on direct appeal:

The State introduced surveillance videotapes taken from the 48 motion cameras, running "24/7, " positioned inside the store. The introduced tapes ran from 11:25 p.m. on May 12, 2008, to 4:20 a.m. on May 13, 2008, and showed two men breaking into the store and unsuccessfully attempting to open the safe. Still photographs from the videotapes were also introduced into evidence. A night manager of the store testified to the approximately $30, 000 worth of damage the burglars did to the store, mostly to the security and alarm systems and the safe.
Detectives Thomas Lamb and Gary Lappa, both of the Baltimore County Police Department, testified that, after the burglary, John Pratt and [Mr. Woods] were identified as suspects. Detective Lamb executed a search warrant for Pratt's house; Detective Lappa executed a search warrant for [Mr. Wood]'s house. During a search of Pratt's house, the police recovered from Pratt's bedroom several walkie talkie devices, headphones, and a police scanner. During a search of appellant's house, the police recovered from appellant's bedroom headphones and police scanners set to the Baltimore County Police Channel.

Ans. Ex. 6 at 10-11.

         Mr. Woods and John Pratt were arrested during the execution of the search warrants. When questioned by Detective Lamb, Mr. Pratt initially denied committing the burglary or knowing Mr. Woods. Ans. Ex. 2, Sept. 9, 2009 Trial Trans, at 131-32, ECF No. 6-2. Mr. Pratt told Detective Lamb that the burglary was "bigger than me and if I tell you anything else, they will kill me and my family." Id.

         The Court of Special Appeals' summary of the facts continues in relevant part:

Pratt, who had pled guilty to burglary of the store, testified against appellant. He identified himself and appellant as the burglars from the two still photographs directly derived from the videotape from the store. Pratt testified as to his and appellant's actions inside the store. He acknowledged that he had several prior convictions for burglary and theft. On cross examination, Pratt testified that he did not remember being asked by the police about appellant, telling the police that the burglary was "bigger than" the police knew, or telling the police that he was afraid for his family.
[Mr. Woods's] girlfriend testified that during the last couple of years, Pratt visited her and [Mr. Woods] at 1060 Bethune Street where she and [Mr. Woods] lived for nine years. A Baltimore City Police Department videotape was introduced into evidence and showed [Mr. Woods] with a bag walking ...

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