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Tickles v. Bishop

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 10, 2018

ARDALE D. TICKLES, Petitioner,
v.
FRANK B. BISHOP, JR., ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MARYLAND, Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM

          Ellen L. Hollander United States District Judge.

         Ardale Tickles, who is self-represented, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus (the “Petition”) on July 6, 2017. ECF 17. He also filed several supplements (ECF 6; ECF 7; ECF 10; ECF 11; ECF 16), as well as correspondence. See ECF 8; ECF 13; ECF 14; ECF 15; ECF 17. Tickles also filed exhibits, some of which are filed only in paper format. See ECF 1-1; ECF 6.

         Tickles challenges his convictions in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County on September 17, 1999, for the crimes of attempted murder, first degree assault, robbery with a dangerous and deadly weapon, robbery, and handgun offenses. Id; ECF 9-1 at 2-3 (docket entries). On December 20, 1999, after completion of a presentence investigation and psychiatric report ordered by the presiding judge, Tickles was sentenced to an aggregate term of 25 years of imprisonment. ECF 1-1 at 8 (State post-conviction opinion).

         In answer to Tickles's Petition, respondents assert that the Petition must be dismissed because it is time-barred. ECF 9. Tickles was granted the opportunity to respond to the answer and to provide any argument he may have to support the equitable tolling of the one-year filing period. ECF 12. In response, Tickles filed three letters and a supplement to the Petition. See ECF 13; ECF 14; ECF 15; ECF 16.

         No hearing is necessary to resolve this matter. 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 reasons that follow, the Petition must be dismissed as untimely. A certificate of appealability shall not issue.

         I. Factual Background

         As noted, on September 17, 1999, Tickles was convicted of several State offenses. Through counsel, he appealed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. ECF 1-1 at 8. On January 16, 2001, Tickles's convictions were affirmed by an unpublished opinion; the mandate issued on February 15, 2001. Id. Tickles filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the Maryland Court of Appeals, which was denied on August 16, 2001. Id.

         Tickles filed a State petition for post-conviction relief on May 20, 2015. Id. Judge Judith Ensor, of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, dismissed the petition because it was not filed within the 10-year period, as required by Maryland's Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act, Md. Code, § 7-103 of the Crim. Pro. Article, and Tickles failed to demonstrate cause to excuse the untimely filing. Id. at 9.

         In order to comply with Maryland's filing deadline, the petition for post-conviction relief was due by December of 2009. Id. at 9. In dismissing the petition, Judge Ensor noted, ECF 1-1 at 9:

Unrelated to the pending matter but instructive with respect to the extraordinary cause argument, the Court notes that, in the Circuit Court for Howard County, under No. 13-K-99-038529, Mr. Tickles was charged via indictment on September 17, 1999, with, among other things, First Degree Murder. Mr. Tickles was found guilty and sentenced on or about July 11, 2000, to life imprisonment. On August 12, 2002, Mr. Tickles, on his own, filed a Petition for Post Conviction Relief. On June 2, 2003, Mr. Tickles filed a motion to withdraw the petition without prejudice. In January, 2009, Mr. Tickles filed a motion to reopen the post conviction.
Also of note is the fact that, back on April 7, 2008, Mr. Tickles, without the benefit of counsel, filed a motion in 03-K-99-1191 for a court order compelling compliance with the Maryland Public Information Act. In that motion, Mr. Tickles provided a detailed listing of all of the records to which he felt he was entitled and the legal basis for his position.

         The State post-conviction court rejected Tickles's claim that he was unaware of the 10-year time limitation for post-conviction. ECF 1-1 at 9. The court was also unpersuaded that Tickles's mental illness prohibited him from complying with the 10-year filing deadline.

         In reaching these conclusions, the Baltimore County post-conviction court noted that, in a letter to the presiding judge dated November 13, 1999, Tickles complained that trial counsel had not done enough to defend him, nor did defense counsel offer his history of mental illness as mitigation. Id. at 10. Further, the court noted that Tickles had filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief in the Howard County case on August 12, 2002, and withdrew it in 2003, without prejudice. Id. Tickles then managed to file a timely motion to reopen the post-conviction proceeding in Howard County on January 23, 2009, more than ten months before the post-conviction petition would have been due in the Baltimore County case. Id.

         Tickles's application for leave to appeal the dismissal of his post-conviction petition was summarily denied on February 16, 2017. The ...


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