United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. GRIMM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
move to dismiss Azaniah Blankumseess Petition for Writ of
Habeas as time-barred pursuant to 28 U.S.C. S 2244(d).
Blankumsee was granted an opportunity to reply and has done
so. After reviewing the parties' submissions, I find 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. S 2254(e)(2). For
reasons to follow, the Petition shall be denied and dismissed
December 3, 2004, a jury in the Circuit Court for Washington
County, Maryland found Blankumsee guilty of felony murder,
armed robbery, six counts of attempted second-degree murder,
six counts of first-degree assault, handgun offenses, and
other related offenses. State Ct. Docket Entries 13-39, ECF
No. %-\, Blankumsee v. Maryland,
No. 2841, Sept. Term 2004, slip op. 1 (Md. Ct. Spec. App.
Aug. 8, 2006) (unreported) ("Blankumsee
I"), ECF No. 8-2. On February 16, 2005,
the Circuit Court sentenced Blankumsee to life imprisonment
on the felony murder conviction and concurrent 30 years
sentences on each conviction for attempted second-degree
murder, and it declined to impose a sentence on the remaining
counts based on principles of merger. Id.
August 8, 2006, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, in
an unreported opinion, vacated Blankumseess felony murder
conviction and sentence but affirmed his other convictions.
Blankumsee I, slip op. 15. The mandate issued on
November 20, 200.. Id. at 16. Blankumsee did not
pursue further review of this decision. The State of
Maryland, however, filed for certiorari review in the Court
of Appeals of Maryland, which was denied on January 12, 2007.
Order (Md. Jan. 12, 2007,, ECF No. 8-3; State Ct. Docket
February 9, 2007, the Circuit Court for Washington County
sentenced Blankumsee on the counts on which it had declined
previously to impose sentence. The court vacated the
first-degree murder conviction, sentenced Blankumsee to 15
years on the armed robbery conviction and made his previous
sentences all concurrent to the armed robbery conviction. All
other counts with sentences remained as ordered previously.
State Ct. Docket Entries 49. Blankumsee did not appeal the
sentencing. Id. The judgment became final thirty
days later on Monday, March 12, 2007. See
Md. Rule 8-202 (requiring notice of appeal to be filed no
later than 30 days after the entry of judgment in the circuit
March 6, 2007, Blankumsee filed an application for panel
review of his sentence; his application was denied on April
4, 2007. State Ct. Docket Entries 49. On
March 26, 2007, Blankumsee filed a motion for reconsideration
of sentence; his motion was denied on March 30,
2007. Id After April 4,
2007, no motions were pending or filed until March 16, 2009,
when Blankumsee filed a motion for new trial; the Circuit
Court for Washington County denied that motion on March 25,
2009. Blankumsee v. Maryland, No. 1841, Sept. Term
2012, slip op. 1 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Nov. 17, 2014)
(“Blankumsee II), ECF No. 8-4; State Ct.
Docket Entries 50. Blankumsee appealed, and on December 7,
2010, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland issued an
unreported opinion in which it construed Blankumseess Motion
for New Trial instead as a Petition for a Writ of Actual
Innocence and remanded the case to the Circuit Court for
Washington County to consider Blankumseess motion
accordingly. State Ct. Docket Entries 52; Blankumsee
II, slip op.1.
the Court of Special Appeals was considering Blankumseess
appeal of the denial of his Motion for New Trial, Blankumsee
filed, on October 2, 2009, in the Circuit Court for
Washington County, a separate Petition for Actual Innocence.
Blankumsee II, slip op. 2; State Ct. Docket Entries
50. The Circuit Court for Washington County denied that
Petition on October 15, 2009. Blankumsee did not appeal the
decision. State Ct. Docket Entries 50; Blankumsee
II, slip op.3
September 9, 2012, after additional briefing, the Circuit
Court for Washington County conducted a hearing on
Blankumseess 2009 original Motion for New Trial, treating it
as a Petition for a Writ of Actual Innocence, pursuant to the
Court of Special Appeals' mandate. Blankumsee
II, slip op. 2. On September 18, 2012, the Circuit Court
denied the Petition. State Ct. Docket Entries 54;
Blankumsee II, slip op. 2. Blankumsee filed an
appeal, which the Court of Special Appeals denied by
unreported opinion on November 17, 2014. Blankumsee
II, slip op. 3, 10. Blankumsee filed a Petition for a
Writ of Certioriari, which the Court of Appeals denied on
January 26, 205.. Order (Md. Jan. 26, 2015), ECF No. 8-5.
February 13, 2015, Blankumsee filed a petition for state
post-conviction relief. The Circuit Court denied
post-conviction relief on January 23, 2017. Pet.'s Resp.
1, ECF No. 10 (listing date as January 20, 2017).
October 11, 2016, this Court received Blankumseess federal
habeas petition filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 9 2254. ECF NO.1.
Blankumsee .dated and signed the Petition on September 25,
2016. Id. at 5. The Court deems the Petition filed
on that date. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266
(1988) (applying the "mail box rule" to 9 2254
one-year statute of limitations applies to habeas petitions
in non-capital cases for a person convicted in a state court.
See 28 U.S.C. 9 2244(d)(1); Wall v. Kholi,
562 U.S. 545, 549 (2011). The one-year period begins running
when direct review of the state conviction is completed or
when the time for seeking direct review has expired.
See 28 U.S.C. 9 2244(d)(1)(A).
limitations may be statutorily or equitably tolled. The
habeas statute provides that the "time during which a
properly filed application for State post-conviction or other
collateral review with respect to the pertinent judgment or
claim is pending shall not be counted toward any period of
limitation under this subsection." 28 U.S.C. S
2244(d)(2). To be entitled to equitable tolling of the
limitations period, a petitioner must establish that either
some wrongful conduct by respondents 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);
Harris v. Hutchinson,209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir.
2000). Any 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." Id; see also Holland v.
Florida,560 U.S. 631, 649 (2010) (equitable tolling
limited to the extraordinary circumstance;; 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