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Edmonds v. Dovey

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

June 26, 2018

BRAD K. EDMONDS, # 370076 Petitioner,
v.
RICHARD DOVEY, [1] et al. Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          GEORGE J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Brad Edmonds seeks habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, attacking, on Sixth Amendment grounds, the constitutionality of his 2011 convictions in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.[2] ECF No. 1. Respondents' Answer was filed on November 18, 2015. ECF No. 14. Edmonds has filed replies, [3] along with a motion for immediate decision, release from custody, and a request for an evidentiary hearing. ECF Nos. 16, 20, 22, 25, 26, 27, & 29-31. In light of Edmonds' numerous supplemental petitions, Respondents were directed to respond to his Fourth Amendment claim involving the legality of the GPS device placed on his vehicle. ECF No. 32. Respondents filed a supplemental answer and Edmonds filed replies. ECF Nos. 34-36, & 41. This matter has been fully briefed. 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 and Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016); see also Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455 (4th Cir. 2000) (petitioner not entitled to a hearing under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2)). For reasons to follow, Edmond's Petition of habeas corpus is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On March 21 and 22, 2011, Edmonds was tried by a jury in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. ECF Nos. 1-5. He was convicted of first-degree burglary, possession of burglar's tools, theft, breaking and entering a motor vehicle, and rogue and vagabond. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland summarized the facts revealed at trial as follows:

Prior to the events giving rise to the present case, Edmonds had been suspected by the Prince William County and Fairfax County police departments in a series of burglaries. As part of their on-going investigation, these agencies covertly placed a GPS monitor on his automobile. In the early hours of November 17, 2010, the Virginia police realized that the vehicle was being driven into Montgomery County. They alerted the Montgomery County Police Department. . . .
At some point between midnight and 1 AM on November 17, 2010, members of the Montgomery County Police Department's Special Assignment Team conducted surveillance on a dark blue Oldsmobile vehicle in the vicinity of Lake Potomac Drive. . . . They observed Edmonds, dressed in black and wearing a black mask and gloves, exit his vehicle around 1:00 AM. . . . The officers were about thirty to forty feet from Edmonds when observing him. . . . The two officers saw Edmonds walk onto the driveway of 11740 Lake Potomac Drive, they then heard glass shattering, and observed Edmonds reach into a silver car and remove something from that vehicle. Then, Edmonds reached into a maroon vehicle and removed something from that vehicle. Edmonds proceeded into the backyard of 11740 Lake Potomac Drive. The officers lost sight of Edmonds, and then inspected the damage Edmonds had made to the cars.
[The two officers] then proceeded to 11720 Lake Potomac Drive where they discovered Edmonds's car parked behind the residence. The two waited in a wooded area, about thirty to forty feet from the car; Edmonds arrived at the car a few minutes later. Edmonds opened the trunk and placed items inside, including some of the clothing he was wearing at the time. He then removed his mask, and placed it behind the driver's seat. Using night vision equipment, [one officer] saw Edmonds's face as he removed his mask. Edmonds then drove away from the scene in his car. . . .
Edmonds was apprehended later that night without incident . . . . Edmonds was wearing dark jeans, a dark shirt, and dark jacket at the time he was apprehended. Edmonds's vehicle was searched; a ski mask was recovered behind the driver's seat, and a screwdriver, wet gloves, Maglite-type flashlights, and plyers were recovered from the trunk.

ECF No. 14-9 at 2-5.[4]

         Trial commenced on March 21, 2011. After discussion with Judge Rubin regarding severance of a criminal count and the suppression of evidence related to the stop of Edmonds' car, counsel proceeded to opening statement. ECF No. 14-2 at 5-26. The jury then heard testimony from members of the Rockville Special Assignment Team (SAT), which performs covert surveillance on street crimes, and citizens whose automobiles and property were broken into. Id. at 27-137.

         At the close of the State's case, Defense counsel Ronald Gottlieb moved for acquittal on each count based on the sufficiency of the evidence. The requests were denied by Judge Rubin. Id. at 82-88. The State rested its case. The defense produced no witnesses. After listening to instructions and closing arguments the jury found Edmonds guilty of first-degree burglary, possession of burglary tools, theft over $1, 000.00 to under $10, 000.00, and rogue and vagabond. He was acquitted of other counts of rogue and vagabond and of theft under $1, 000.00. Id. at 136-140.

         At a July 5, 2011 hearing, Edmonds moved for a new trial, alleging that he was not provided full discovery and that evidence was planted by police. The motion was denied by Judge Rubin who proceeded to sentencing. Edmonds was sentenced to a term of twenty years incarceration as to the burglary charge, a consecutive three years as to the possession of burglar's tools charge, an eight-year term as to the theft charge, to be served consecutive to the burglary and possession charges, and a two-year sentence as to the rogue and vagabond charge, consecutive to the previous three charges. A cumulative 33 years was imposed on Edmonds. ECF No. 14-5.

         Represented by counsel, Edmonds raised the following claims before the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland:

I. The trial court erred in failing to merge Edmonds's convictions on possession of burglary tools into first-degree burglary and the rogue and vagabond conviction into theft; and
II. The evidence was legally insufficient to support Edmonds's conviction of possession of burglar's tools.

ECF No. 14-6.

         On or about September 19, 2012, Edmonds filed a self-represented supplemental brief raising several issues, primarily attacking the police's placement of a global positioning system (“GPS”) locator on his vehicle. He additionally contended that the Montgomery County Police Department used information from the GPS unit, evidence was illegally seized by police officers, and all of Edmonds' sentences and convictions were illegal due to the insufficiency of the evidence. ...


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