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Tielleman v. Bishop

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 26, 2019

FRANK BISHOP, JR., et al., Respondents.


          George L. Russell, III United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner Robert Lester Tielleman's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF No. 1) filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (2018). No. hearing is necessary for the disposition of the Petition. See Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts; Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2018); see also Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455 (4th Cir. 2000) (stating that a petitioner is not entitled to a hearing under 28 U.S.C. §2254(e)(2)). For the reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss the Petition as untimely and decline to issue a certificate of appealability.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 28, 2013, a jury in the Circuit Court for Caroline County, Maryland found Tielleman guilty of two counts of attempted kidnapping, two counts of first-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and unlawful possession of a firearm. (Resp'ts' Resp. Ex. 1 at 11-13, ECF No. 5-1). On April 10, 2013, Tielleman was sentenced to serve an aggregated term of eighty years. (Id. at 11, 13-15). On April 19, 2013, Tielleman filed a notice of appeal and elected for an en banc review. (Id. at 15, 17). On October 11, 2013, a three-judge panel reviewed Tielleman's sentence, which resulted in a reduction of his overall sentence to sixty years. (Id. at 17-21).

         On May 21, 2014, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals affirmed Tielleman's conviction. (Resp'ts' Resp. Ex. 2 at 6, ECF No. 5-2). The appellate court concluded that Tielleman's claim that the evidence was not legally sufficient to support a conviction for charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm was not preserved for its review, (id. at 2-4), and that the State did not withhold Brady[1] evidence when it failed to disclose that a witness for the State had been convicted of stalking, a misdemeanor offense under Maryland law, (id. at 4-7).

         The Court of Appeals denied Tielleman's petition for writ of certiorari on August 28, 2014. (Id. at 8). The time for Tielleman to seek certiorari review from the United States Supreme Court expired on November 26, 2014, ninety days after the date of the Court of Appeals' decision. See Sup.Ct.R. 13.1.

         At the time he filed his Petition in this Court, Tielleman had not filed a petition for post-conviction relief with the Circuit Court. Instead, he filed a motion to correct illegal sentence on June 10, 2015, which was denied on June 25, 2015; Tielleman did not file a timely notice of appeal for the denial of this motion.[2] (Resp'ts' Resp. Ex. 1 at 21-22).

         On October 17, 2016, Tiellman filed his Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (ECF No. 1). In his Petition, Tielleman asserts two grounds for federal habeas relief: (1) the Circuit Court erred in adding an element to the offense of attempted kidnapping and in denying a merger as to the two counts, (Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus [“Pet.”] at 5-6, ECF No. 1);[3] and (2) the Circuit Court erred when it failed to apply the “rule of lenity” which was required because Maryland's kidnapping statute does not indicate “whether the Maryland General Assembly intended that a defendant be twice punished for two offenses stemming from a single transaction of kidnapping, ” (id. at 6). As relief, Tielleman seeks vacatur of the two consecutive thirty-year sentences and imposition of concurrent thirty-year sentences. (Id. at 7).

         On February 23, 2017, Respondents filed a Limited Answer to Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Order to Show Cause. (ECF No. 5). In their Answer, Respondents assert that Tiellman's Petition must be dismissed because it is untimely and raises no basis for equitable tolling of the limitations period. On March 13, 2017, the Court entered an Order granting Tiellman twenty-eight days to file a Reply addressing why his Petition is not time-barred. (Mar. 13, 2017 Order at 1-2, ECF No. 7). Tiellman filed his Court-ordered Reply on April 3, 2017. (ECF No. 8).


         A. Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus

         A 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. § 2244(d). This section provides:

(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 ...

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