United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL United States District Judge.
Stevie Pierce. an inmate confined at the Eastern Correctional
Institution in Westover. Maryland, has filed a Petition for
Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ S 2254. ECF NO.1.
No hearing is necessary. Loe. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2(16.. For
reasons set forth below. the Petition shall be denied.
August 4. 2017. the Court received Pierce's
self-represented Petition tor Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Petition was signed on August
2. 2017. and shall be deemed filed as of that date. See
Houston v. Lack. 487 U.S. 266.
270-76 (1988): United States v. McNeill,
523 F. App'x. 979. 983 (4th Cir. 2013:; United States
v. Dorsey. 988 F.Supp. 917.999-20 (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 Pierce's 2010 conviction in the
Circuit Court for Baltimore City for distribution of heroin.
On August I1. 2017. the Court issued an Order requiring
Respondents to tile an answer to the Petition within forty
days and granted Pierce thirty days to file a reply. ECF
NO.3. Respondents filed a Limited Answer to the Petition on
September 12.2017. seeking dismissal of the
Petition premised on the argument that Pierce's claims
arc time-barred. ECF No. 4. Pierce has filed a Reply. ECF
Petition and Limitations Period
to the state court docket. Pierce pled guilty to the
distribution of heroin. ECF NO.4-.. Pursuant to the plea
agreement., on or about August 23. 20IO. he was sentenced to
a 28-year term. No appeal was filed. However. Pierce filed a
motion for modification of sentence on or about February 7.
2012. and his term was reduced to 20 years by Judge Lynn K.
Stewart on January 23. 2013. Id
. As he did not seek leave to
appeal from his new sentence. Respondents argue his criminal
judgment became final tor direct appeal purposes as of
February 22. 2013. See Md. Rule 8-204 (application
for leave to appeal must "be tiled within 30 days after
entry of the judgment or order from which the appeal is
November 15. 2013. Pierce filed a self~represented
post-conviction petition in the Circuit Court for Baltimore
City. On September 9.2015. Circuit Court Judge Pamela J.
White denied post-conviction relief. ECF NO.4-.. Pierce's
application for leave to appeal this decision was summarily
denied by the Court of Special Appeals for Maryland on
September 27. 2016. ECF No. 4-2. The mandate was issued on
February 7. 2017. Id.
contend that the Petition is untimely under 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(2.. When affording his time-line a generous
construction, they assert that Pierce's conviction became
final for direct appeal purposes on February 22. 2013. More
than eight months passed before Pierce filed his
post-conviction petition on November 15. 2013. In addition,
more than five months passed between the issuance of the
mandate denying Pierce's application for leave to appeal
the denial of his post-conviction petition (February 7. 2017)
and his filing of this Petition for habeas corpus relief
(August 2. 2017.. During this combined 13-month period there
were no pending collateral proceedings in state court to toll
the § 2244(d) limitations period.
Reply, Pierce argues that his Petition is not untimely. He
contends that on August 23. 00I0 he was sentenced to 28 years
and the sentence was reduced to 20 years on January 23. 2013.
based upon the grant of his motion for modification of
sentence. ECF NO.5. lie contends that his judgment did not
become final as of February 22. 2013. because he was allowed
to reopen his post-conviction petition on December 17.2055 in
order to file an application for leave to appeal.,
one-year statute of limitations applies to habeas petitions
in non-capital cases for a person convicted in state court.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Section 2244(d)
(1) A I-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