United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Wilson, a self-represented prisoner confined at
Maryland's Eastern Correctional Institution, seeks habeas
corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. ECF No. 1.
Wilson attacks his 1995 conviction in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City, Maryland for assault with intent to murder
and related offenses. Respondents Warden Richard D. Dovey and
the State of Maryland have provided an Answer to Wilson's
Petition, which includes state appellate court opinions and
the docket sheet outlining proceedings relating to
Wilson's criminal case. ECF No. 10. Wilson was granted an
opportunity to reply and has done so. ECF Nos. 11, 12. After
reviewing the Petition, Response, and Reply, the Court finds
no need for an evidentiary hearing. See Rule 8(a),
Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States
District Courts; see also 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2).
For the reasons set forth below, the Petition shall be denied
as time-barred and a certificate of appealability shall not
November 17, 1994, Wilson was convicted by a jury in the
Baltimore City Circuit Court of assault with intent to
murder, attempted carjacking with a dangerous weapon,
attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, and use of a
handgun in the commission of a crime of violence. ECF No.
10-1 at 1-3; ECF Nos. 1, 5. On January 11, 1995,
Wilson received an aggregate sentence of 45 years. ECF No.
10-1 at 2-5. The Circuit Court denied Wilson's motion for
reconsideration of sentence on June 14, 1995. Id. at
10. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed the
convictions in an unreported opinion issued January 5, 1996.
Wilson v. State, No. 372 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1996)
(provided as ECF No. 10-2). The Court of Appeals of Maryland
denied Wilson's request for further review on April 15,
1996. See Wilson v. State, 342 Md. 116 (1996).
Wilson did not seek certiorari review in the United States
Supreme Court, and his judgment of conviction became final
for direct appeal purposes on Monday, July 15, 1996.
See Sup. Ct. R. 13 (review of judgment in the
Supreme Court must be sought within 90 days of entry of the
judgment in the lower court).
March 17, 1997, more than eight months after his conviction
became final, Wilson filed a petition for post-conviction
relief in the Baltimore City Circuit Court. The petition was
dismissed without prejudice on April 28, 1997. ECF No. 10-1
at 10. Wilson waited another six months, until November 12,
1997, before filing another petition for post-conviction
relief that was withdrawn on June 17, 1998. Id. at
6. Ten months later, on May 5, 1999, Wilson filed a
post-conviction petition that was denied on August 7, 2000.
Id. Wilson's application for leave to appeal the
denial of post-conviction relief was denied by the Court of
Special Appeals on August 3, 2001. Id. Finally,
Wilson filed a motion for modification of sentence on January
8, 2004, which the Circuit Court denied on January 12,
2004. ECF No. 10-1 at 13.
filed his Petition on July 1, 2017. ECF No. 1. In his Petition,
and Supplement filed at the direction of the Court, Wilson
asserts (1) his sentence is illegal; (2) the trial court
erred in denying his motion for judgment of acquittal; (3)
the prosecution failed to produce evidence to demonstrate an
intent to permanently deprive the owner of her property; (4)
the prosecution failed to demonstrate larcenous intent; and
(5) appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to argue
trial court error with regard to a jury instruction on
intent. ECF No. 5. In a limited answer to the Petition,
Respondents assert that the merit of Wilson's claims
cannot be examined because the Petition is untimely and
Wilson has provided no basis for applying the doctrine of
equitable tolling. ECF No. 10 at 5-6.
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(“AEDPA”) was enacted and signed into law on
April 24, 1996. Prior to AEDPA, there was no time limitation
on when a prisoner could file an original action for habeas
corpus relief in federal court. AEDPA introduced a one-year
limitations period for state prisoners filing under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. The one-year period begins to run on the date on
which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct
review or (if no appeal is taken) upon the expiration of the
time for seeking such review. See 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1)(A); see also Wall v. Kholi, 562 U.S. 545,
549 (2011). The one-year period is tolled while properly
filed post-conviction proceedings are pending and may
otherwise be equitably tolled. See 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(2); Harris v. Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 328
(4th Cir. 2000).
Statutory Limitations Period
Wilson's one-year limitations period began to run, at the
latest, on July 15, 1996, when his 90-day period for seeking
certiorari on direct appeal in the United States Supreme
Court expired. A total of 245 days elapsed between July 15,
1996, and the filing of Wilson's first post-conviction
petition on March 17, 1997. The limitations period, now
reduced to 120 days, was tolled during the time Wilson's
petition for post-conviction relief was pending. It began to
run again on April 28, 1997, when the petition was withdrawn
without prejudice. Wilson filed another post-conviction
petition 209 days later, on November 12, 1997, but by that
time the 365-day limitations period had expired and the
post-conviction petition did not serve to toll the
limitations period. Wilson withdrew this second petition on
June 17, 1998, and the clock again began to run. Wilson then
waited until May 5, 1999, a period of an additional 322 days,
before filing the post-conviction petition ultimately denied
by the Circuit Court. Wilson filed additional Rule 4-345
motions for reduction of sentence, beginning on January 8,
2004. ECF No. 10-1 at 13. Their pendency, however, provides
no basis for tolling the one-year limitations period, because
the one-year limitations period had long expired before these
motions were filed. Given this procedural history, the
Petition, filed here on July 1, 2017, is statutorily
order to be entitled to equitable tolling of the limitations
period, Wilson must establish that either some wrongful
conduct by the State contributed to the delay in filing his
federal habeas corpus petition, or that circumstances beyond
his control caused the delay. See Rouse v. Lee, 339
F.3d 238, 246 (4th Cir. 2003). “[A]ny resort to equity
must be reserved for those rare instances where . . . it
would be unconscionable to enforce the limitation period
against the party and gross injustice would result.”
Harris, 209 F.3d at 330; see also Pace v.
DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005) (recognizing that
equitable tolling requires a showing that the petitioner
“has been pursuing his rights diligently, and . . .
that some extraordinary circumstance stood in his
argues that he did not know of the one-year limitations
period, and that he was sixteen years old at the time of his
arrest. To the extent the delay might be attributed to
Wilson's lack of understanding of the law, unfamiliarity
with the law may not be used to justify equitable
tolling. See United States v. Sosa, 364 F.3d 507,
512 (4th Cir. 2004); see also Rouse, 339 F.3d at 248
(“Ineffective assistance of counsel generally does not
warrant equitable tolling.” (citing Beery v.
Ault, 312 F.3d 948, 951 (8th Cir. 2002))). Wilson has
not satisfied his burden to demonstrate that equitable
tolling is warranted, and his Petition for habeas corpus
relief is denied as time-barred.