Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Peterson v. Green

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

July 6, 2018

Melvin Peterson, DOC#354251, SID#2412309 Petitioner,
v.
Kathleen Green, et al. Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          GEORGE J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On April 7, 2016, [1] Petitioner Melvin Peterson filed this 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition attacking his 2008 convictions for sexual abuse of a minor and second degree rape. ECF No. 1. On July 6, 2016, Respondents filed a limited answer arguing that the petition should be dismissed as untimely. ECF No. 3. Pursuant to Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701 (4th Cir. 2002), the Court afforded Peterson an opportunity to explain why his petition should not be dismissed as time-barred, ECF No. 4, and Peterson subsequently filed a Response, ECF No. 7.

         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; Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016); see also Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455 (4th Cir. 2000) (petitioner not entitled to hearing under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2)).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Peterson pleaded guilty in the Montgomery County Circuit Court to sexual abuse of a minor and second degree rape. ECF No. 1 at 1. On November 6, 2008, he was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment. Id. Peterson did not file a direct appeal. Id. at 2.

         On November 20, 2008, Peterson filed a Motion for Reconsideration or Modification of Sentence (hereinafter, “Sentencing Motion”), which the circuit court placed in abeyance. ECF No. 3-1 at 13-14. On September 18, 2012, Peterson moved for the circuit court to hold a hearing on his Sentencing Motion. Id. at 15. On October 26, 2012, the circuit court denied Peterson's Motion for a Hearing on the Motion for Modification of Sentence. Id. at 15. However, it is not clear if or when the circuit court ultimately ruled on the Sentencing Motion itself. In any event, the Sentencing Motion was rendered a nullity on November 6, 2013, five years after the date the sentence was imposed. See Md. Rule 4-345(e)(1) (“[T]he court has revisory power over the sentence except that it may not revise the sentence after the expiration of five years from the date the sentence originally was imposed on the defendant[.]”).

         On November 7, 2012, Peterson filed a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief (“PCR Motion”) in the Montgomery County Circuit Court. Id. Peterson reports that he raised the following grounds: “ineffective assistance of counsel; knowing and intelligent waiver; illegal sentence; judge's failure to ‘determine and announce' on record according to Md. Rule 4-242(c).” Id. Peterson's PCR Motion was denied on February 12, 2014. Id. at 3. In June 2014, Petitioner successfully requested that the Montgomery County Circuit Court re-file the opinion denying relief in order to allow Petitioner to file a timely appeal. ECF No. 3-1 at 18. On June 27, 2014, Petitioner filed a Petition for Leave to Appeal with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, which denied his Petition on December 15, 2014. ECF No. 1 at 2-3. The court's mandate issued on January 14, 2015. ECF No. 3-1 at 26.

         Peterson filed the instant Petition for Habeas Corpus Relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on April 7, 2016. ECF No. 1 at 19. Peterson raises seven grounds for habeas corpus relief, and reports that he presented all seven grounds in his PCR Motion. Id. at 4-17. In response to the § 2254 form's question about the timeliness of the petition, Peterson states:

Due to the obstacles in obtaining the necessary documents and, especially, legal assistance necessary to file a § 2254 habeas corpus, the filing deadline has elapsed. It has been exceptionally difficult-especially and specifically because of being housed in this particular institution-to proceed with any pro se legal work, and more often then [sic] not litigants experience difficulty in filing time-sensitive motions.

Id. at 18 (emphasis omitted).

         Respondents filed a limited answer asserting that Peterson's § 2254 Petition should be dismissed as untimely under § 2244(d). ECF No. 3 at 1-2, 4-5. Among other arguments, Respondents note that:

Peterson's post conviction proceedings became final on January 14, 2015. Peterson did not file his underlying petition until April 7, 2016. See ECF No. 1. Between January 14, 2015, and April 7, 2016, a period of over 14 months expired where there were no proceedings pending in state court that would have tolled the Section 2244(d) limitations period.

Id. at 5. Additionally, Respondents assert that delays attributable to Peterson's lack of legal knowledge alone are not entitled to be equitably tolled. Id. at 5.

         The Court afforded Peterson an opportunity to explain why his petition should not be dismissed as time-barred, ECF No. 4, and he responded, ECF No. 7, arguing that he “has been left, for all intents and purposes, to fend for himself at every state from trial up until the filing of a writ of habeas corpus, with minimal or no counsel whatsoever.” ECF No. 7 at 2 (emphasis omitted). Peterson also notes that he has faced “administrative hindrances” in filing ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.