United States District Court, D. Maryland
DWAYNE SPENCE, Prisoner identification No. 283997,
WARDEN STOUFFER and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND, Respondents.
THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Spence, a former inmate at the Central Maryland Correctional
Facility in Sykesville, Maryland has filed a Petition for a
Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging his confinement based on
his conviction in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City,
Maryland of unauthorized removal of property and a firearm
offense. Respondenss have filed a Limited Answer in which
they assert that the Petition should be dismissed because
Spence is no longer in custody and his claim is time-barred.
Spence has filed a Reply in which he argues that the merits
of his claims should nevertheless be addressed. Upon
consideration of the submitted materials, the Court finds no
need for an evidentiary hearing. See Rule 8(a),
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts; Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455
(4th Cir. 2000); D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set
forth below, the Petition is DISMISSED.
March 24, 2011, Spence was found guilty in the Circuit Court
for Baltimore City of unauthorized removal of property and a
handgun violation. Spence was sentenced to seven years of
imprisonment, which was deemed to have begun on January 23,
2009. After the Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed
his convictions, the Maryland Court of Appeals denied
Spencess petition for a writ of certiorari on November 19,
2012. Spencess conviction thus became final for purposes of
federal habeas review 90 days later, on February 19, 2013,
the deadline for seeking review by the United States Supreme
Court. See Sup. Ct. Rule 13.1.
March 4, 2013, Spence filed a state petition for
post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court for Baltimore
City. That petition was dismissed on June 2, 2014 for lack of
jurisdiction. Spence's application for leave to appeal
the dismissal was denied on January 14, 2015, and the mandate
issued on February 13, 2015. On June 8, 2015, Spence filed a
petition for a writ of coram nobis, which was
dismissed by the circuit court on September 29, 205.. Spence
did not appeal the dismissal.
Petition must be dismissed for two reasons. First, the Court
may not consider the Petition because it was filed after
Spence completed the sentence at issue. Federal habeas relief
is available to a prisoner who is "in custody." 28
U.S.C. S 2254(a) (2012). The Supreme Court has held that this
statutory language requires that a "habeas petitioner be
'in custody' under the conviction or sentence under
attack at the time his petition is filed." Maleng v.
Cook, 490 U.S. 488, 490-91 (1989); See Lackawanna
Cly. Dist. Attorney v. Cross, 532 U.S. 394, 40--02
(2001) (stating that when the petitioner "is no longer
serving the sentences imposed pursuant to his . .
. convictions"" he "cannot bring a
federal habeas petition directed solely at those
convictions".. Here, Spence's seven-year sentence,
which began to run on January 23, 2009, expired at the latest
on January 23, 2016. Spence filed his Petition in this Court
on May 18, 2017, well over a year after his sentence expired.
Because Spence was not in custody on the sentence in question
at the time he filed the Petition, it must be dismissed.
See Maleng, 490 U.S. at 490-91. Spence's
assertion that the claims should be considered by this Court
because the state court did not consider them is without
the Petition must be dismissed as time-barred. A one-year
statute of limitations applies to federal habeas petitions in
non-capital cases filed by a person convicted in state court.
See 28 U.S.C. S 2244(d). Specifically:
(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
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.
(2) the time during which a properly filed application for
State postconviction or other collateral review with respect
to the pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be
counted toward ...