United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se Petitioner Isaiah Giles, an inmate currently housed
at the North Branch Correctional Institution (“ N.C.
B.I.”), files this petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 attacking his sentence
following a 2015 conviction for robbery and assault in the
Circuit Court for Dorchester County, Maryland. ECF No. 1.
Respondents, the Warden of N.B.C.I. and the Attorney General
of the State of Maryland, filed an Answer to the Petition,
asserting, in part, that Petitioner has raised procedurally
defaulted claims not subject to substantive federal habeas
corpus review. ECF No. 8. Petitioner was notified of his
right to file a reply but has failed to do so. See
ECF No. 9. No. hearing is required. 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 the following reasons, the Petition is
November 26, 2013, Giles entered an Alford
in the Circuit Court for Dorchester County, the Honorable
Brett Wilson presiding, to charges of robbery (two counts)
and second degree assault (one count). ECF Nos. 8-1; 8-2. The
facts proffered by the State's Attorney during the plea
colloquy, and accepted by defense counsel, demonstrated that
on June 2, 2013, Giles assaulted Calvin Tydings by knocking
him to the ground, kicking him in the torso and stomping him
several times. ECF No. 8-2 at 25. On June 13, 2013, Giles
robbed Joel English at gunpoint. Id. at 27-29. On
June 15, 2013, Giles robbed David Kramber, punched him in the
face, knocked him to the ground, and kicked him repeatedly.
Id. at 29-30. After the plea was knowingly and
voluntarily entered, the court sentenced Giles to an
aggregate 40-year term of confinement with all but 14 years
and 37 days suspended. Id. at 30-31; ECF No. 8-1 at
3, 16, 18, 19. Giles did not file an application for
leave to appeal. On January 3, 2014, Giles filed a motion for
reconsideration of sentence, which was held sub curia. ECF
filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief
in the Circuit Court on September 29, 2014, which was later
supplemented by counsel, alleging that: (1) His trial counsel
was ineffective for (a) failing to file a motion to suppress
evidence and (b) failing to present mitigation evidence at
sentencing; and (2) the indictment was defective. ECF No.
8-3. At the post-conviction hearing held on June 5, 2015,
Giles agreed that in exchange for a new sentencing hearing,
he would withdraw his remaining claims. ECF No. 8-4. He did
not file an application for leave to appeal the decision of
the post-conviction court.
was resentenced on July 6, 2015. ECF No. 8-1. He was
resentenced to the same term of confinement by Judge Wilson,
the judge that imposed his original sentence. He did not file
an application for leave to appeal the new judgment.
filed this federal Petition on June 1, 2016,  raising three
issues. ECF No. 1. Giles alleges that it is “against
the law in the State of Maryland to have the same judge who
originally sentenced you be your post-conviction judge
without your consent which [he] did not agree to at
all.” Id. at 6. Relatedly, Giles claims that
his lawyer lied to him by telling him that he would not have
the same judge and that his sentence could only go lower,
which did not happen. Id. Lastly, Giles alleges that
during the original sentencing, the judge used “someone
else's sentence against [him].” During sentencing,
the judge said “I just gave a kid 25 years for robbery
so you're lucky.” Id. Giles claims that
this played a part in the judge giving him a large sentence
for his first offense, which he claims had nothing to do with
anyone else's case. Id.
2254 states that a district court “shall entertain an
application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a person
in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on
the ground that he is in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.”
28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Petitioner has not identified a
constitutional or federal right violated as a result of the
conduct complained of. Thus, he has not met his “burden
of showing a substantial constitutional deprivation.”
Clayton v. Haynes, 517 F.2d 577, 578 (4th Cir.
1975). Giles' first two claims regarding the conduct of
his state post-conviction proceedings may allege a violation
of state law, but defects in collateral proceedings are not a
basis for federal habeas corpus relief. Wright v.
Angelone, 151 F.3d 151, 159 (4th Cir. 1998). Giles'
third claim regarding the determination of his initial
sentence also fails to raise a constitutional issue. Sentence
calculation and/or construction issues generally are issues
of state law and do not give rise to a federal question.
Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991)
(“it is not the province of a federal habeas corpus
court to reexamine state court determinations on state law
the claims were deemed cognizable, however, they are subject
to dismissal under the doctrine of procedural default. When
filing a federal habeas corpus application under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, a petitioner must show that all of his claims
have been presented to the state courts. 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b) and (c); see also Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411
U.S. 475, 491 (1973). This exhaustion requirement is
satisfied by seeking review of the claim in the highest state
court with jurisdiction to consider it.
appeal of right is not permitted, as in cases such as this
where an Alford plea is entered, exhaustion can be
accomplished by filing an application for leave to appeal to
the Court of Special Appeals. Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud.
Proc. §12-302(e). If the Court of Special Appeals denies
the application, there is no further review available and the
claim is exhausted. Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc.
§12-202. However, if the application is granted but
relief on the merits of the claim is denied, the petitioner
must file a petition for writ of certiorari to the Court of
Appeals. Williams v. State, 292 Md. 201, 210-11
(1981). Giles did not file an application for leave to appeal
exhaust a claim through post-conviction proceedings, the
claim must be raised in a petition filed in the Circuit Court
and in an application for leave to appeal to the Court of
Special Appeals. Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 7-109. If
the Court of Special Appeals denies the application, there is
no further review available and the claim is exhausted. Md.
Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. §12-202. However, if
the application is granted but relief on the merits of the
claim is denied, the petitioner must file a petition for writ
of certiorari to the Court of Appeals. Williams,
supra. While Giles filed a petition for
post-conviction relief in state court, he failed to appeal
the court's decision. Moreover, the claims Giles raised
in his petition for post-conviction relief are different from
those raised in the Petition herein.
as here, a petitioner has failed to present a claim to the
highest state court with jurisdiction to hear it, whether it
be by failing to raise the claim in post-conviction
proceedings or on direct appeal, or by failing to timely note
an appeal, the procedural default doctrine applies. See
Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 749-50 (1991)
(failure to note timely appeal); Murray v. Carrier,
477 U.S. 478, 489-91 (1986) (failure to raise claim on direct
appeal); Murch v. Mottram, 409 U.S. 41, 46 (1972)
(failure to raise claim during post-conviction); Bradley
v. Davis, 551 F.Supp. 479, 481 (D. Md. 1982) (failure to
seek leave to appeal denial of post-conviction relief).
claim is procedurally defaulted, a federal court may not
address the merits of a state prisoner's habeas claim
unless the petitioner can show: (1) both cause for the
default and prejudice that would result from failing to
consider the claim on the merits; or (2) that failure to
consider the claim on the merits would result in a
fundamental miscarriage of justice, i.e., the conviction of
one who is actually innocent. See Murray, 477 U.S at
495-96 (1986). “Cause” consists of “some
objective factor external to the defense [that] impeded
counsel's efforts to raise the claim in state court at
the appropriate time.” Breard v. Pruett, 134
F.3d 615, 620 (4th Cir. 1998). In order to demonstrate
prejudice, a habeas petitioner must show “not merely
that the errors at his trial created a possibility
of prejudice, but that they worked to his actual and
substantial disadvantage, infecting his entire trial with
error of constitutional dimensions.” United States
v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 170 (1982); see also
Carrier, 477 U.S. at 494. ...