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Chamberlain v. Gelsinger

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 18, 2018

CHRISTOPHER EDWARD CHAMBERLAIN, #325-530, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN GELSINGER and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND, Respondents.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PAULA XINIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner Christopher Edward Chamberlain, an inmate at the Central Maryland Correctional Facility in Sykesville, Maryland, has filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in which he collaterally attacks his 2011 conviction for second-degree assault and third-degree sexual offense. ECF No. 1. Respondents have filed a limited Answer in which they argue that the Petition should be dismissed as untimely. ECF No. 6. Pursuant to Hill v. Braxton, 277 F.3d 701 (4th Cir. 2002), Chamberlain was afforded an opportunity to explain why the Petition should not be dismissed as time-barred. ECF No. 7. Chamberlain responded on July 2, 2018, and again on July 13, 2018, stating that post-conviction counsel had advised him to file this Petition. ECF Nos. 8, 9. Upon review of the submitted materials, the Court finds no need for an evidentiary hearing. See Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts; D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the Petition will be DISMISSED as time-barred.

         I. Background

         On May 25, 2011, Chamberlain was convicted in the Circuit Court for Charles County of second-degree assault and third-degree sexual offense. See ECF No. 6-1, p. 10. On August 2, 2011, the Circuit Court sentenced Chamberlain to an eight-year term of imprisonment. Id. at pp. 8-9; see also ECF No. 1. Chamberlain then appealed his convictions and sentence. ECF No. 6-1, p. 8. On the same day, Chamberlain also moved for reconsideration of his sentence before the Circuit Court. On July 27, 2012, The Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed Chamberlain's conviction and sentence. See ECF No. 6-2. Thereafter, on November 19, 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals denied Chamberlain's petition for a writ of certiorari. Chamberlain v. State, 429 Md. 304 (2012). Chamberlain did not seek further review in the United States Supreme Court and, therefore, the judgment and sentence became final for direct appeal purposes on February 19, 2013. See Sup. Ct. Rule 13.1 (requiring petition for writ of certiorari to be filed within 90 days of the date of judgment from which appeal is sought). On August 13, 2014, the Circuit Court denied Chamberlain's motion to reconsider his sentence. Id. at p. 5.

         Over two years later, on February 9, 2017, Chamberlain filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court for Charles County. Id. at p. 3; see also ECF No. 1, p. 3. The petition was denied on December 18, 2017. Id. Chamberlain then applied for leave to appeal, which the Court of Special Appeals denied on April 4, 2018, with the mandate issuing on May 4, 2018. Id. at pp. 2-3; ECF No. 6-2, pp. 24-26.

         Chamberlain filed the instant Petition on April 29, 2018. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 276 (1988) (holding that a prisoner's submission is deemed to have been filed on the date it was deposited in the prison mailing system). In the Petition, Chamberlain contends that both trial and post-conviction counsel rendered ineffective assistance. ECF No. 1 at pp. 5-6.

         II. Discussion

         Respondents assert that the Petition should be dismissed as time-barred because it was filed well beyond the one-year limitations period set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). ECF No. 6. Respondents point out that not only had Chamberlain's conviction become final on February 2013, but also that over two years elapsed between the August 13, 2014 denial of reconsideration of sentence and his filing a state-post conviction petition. Id. at pp. 4-5. Finally, Respondents contend that Chamberlain has not provided sufficient cause to excuse timely failure to file his Petition, and so it must be dismissed as time-barred. See ECF Nos. 8, 9.

         A petition for a writ of habeas corpus may be granted only for violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) (2012). However, a petition is subject to the following statutory limitations period:

(1) A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the latest of-
(A) the date on which the judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review;
(B) the date on which the impediment to filing an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;
(C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
(D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have been discovered through the ...

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