United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis, United States District Judge
James Andrew Lambert, Jr., a state inmate currently confined
at the Maryland Correctional Training Center in Hagerstown,
Maryland, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 on November 26, 2018,
claiming that he had been unlawfully detained at the
Washington County Detention Center (“WCDC”) in
violation of his right to a speedy trial. ECF No. 1. On
January 30, 2019, Respondent filed an answer arguing that the
Petition should be denied and dismissed because Lambert's
challenge to his pretrial detention is now moot. ECF No. 6.
By Order dated February 1, 2019, the Court granted Lambert 28
days to respond, and Lambert has failed to do so. ECF No. 7.
For the reasons set forth below, the Petition will be DENIED
and DISMISSED as moot.
filed his Petition on November 26, 2018, while he detained at
WCDC awaiting trial in the Washington County Circuit Court
(Case No. 21-K-16-052976) for dogfighting, animal cruelty,
and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
See ECF Nos. 1, 3, 6-1. Lambert challenged his
pretrial detention as violating his constitutional speedy
trial rights. See ECF Nos. 1, 3.
January 25, 2019, Lambert was convicted of two counts of
unlawful possession/training of a dog for dogfighting and one
count of unlawful possession of a firearm. See ECF
6-1. The circuit court sentenced Lambert to nine years in
prison, all suspended, for the firearms offense and a total
of six years in prison, one year suspended, for the
dogfighting offenses. Id. at 3-4, 8. The remaining
charges were nol prossed. Id. at 3-8. On January 30,
2019, Lambert noted his appeal to the Maryland Court of
Special Appeals. State of Maryland v. James Andrew
Lambert, Jr., Circuit Court for Washington County, Case
argues that the Petition should be dismissed because
Lambert's challenge to his pretrial detention is now
moot. ECF No. 6 at &2. Respondent more particularly
contends that because Lambert's criminal case is
resolved, Lambert's constitutional claims rooted in his
speedy trial rights are moot. Id. at &3. The
Court agrees that the Petition must be dismissed.
United States Constitution limits the jurisdiction of federal
courts to actual cases or controversies present at all stages
of review. U.S. Const., art. III, § 2; Honig v.
Doe, 484 U.S. 305, 317 (1988); Lewis v. Continental
Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477-78 (1990). When a case or
controversy no longer exists, the claim is “moot”
and dismissal is required. When an inmate challenges
conditions of confinement through seeking habeas corpus
relief, the case is rendered moot when the inmate has been
released from the conditions which are the subject of his
challenge. This is because, absent any additional collateral
consequences, the basis of the inmate's grievance ceases
to exist, and so nothing is left for the Court to remedy.
See, e.g., Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998);
Alston v. Adams, 178 Fed. App'x. 295 (4th Cir.
2007); Alvarez v. Conley, 145 Fed. App'x. 428
(4th Cir. 2005).
is no longer a pretrial detainee awaiting trial. Moreover,
Lambert he received his requested relief -- to have his
trial. Thus, nothing is left for this Court to remedy. The
Petition will be denied and dismissed as moot.
Lambert wish, he still may seek habeas corpus relief pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 once he has exhausted all available
state court remedies. See ECF No. 7; see 28
U.S.C. § 2254(b) and (c); see also Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 491 (1973). This exhaustion
requirement is satisfied by seeking review of the claim in
the highest state court with jurisdiction to consider it. For
a person convicted of a criminal offense in Maryland, this
may be accomplished either on direct appeal or in
exhaust a claim on direct appeal, the claim must be raised in
an appeal, if one is permitted, to the Maryland Court of
Special Appeals and then to the Maryland Court of Appeals by
way of a Petition for Writ of Certiorari. See Md.
Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code Ann.,' 12-201 and' 12-301.
If an appeal of right is not permitted, as in cases where a
guilty plea is entered, exhaustion can be accomplished by
filing an application for leave to appeal to the Court of
Special Appeals. See Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code
Ann.,' 12-302(e). If the Court of Special Appeals denies
the application, no further review is available and the claim
is exhausted. See Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code
Ann.,' 12-202. However, if the application is granted but
relief on the merits of the claim is denied, the petitioner
must file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Maryland
Court of Appeals. See Williams v. State, 292 Md.
201, 210-11 (1981).
must also avail himself of state post-conviction proceedings
for claims that are not appropriate for relief on direct
appeal. To exhaust a claim through post-conviction
proceedings, it must be raised in a petition filed in the
Circuit Court where Lambert was convicted and, if
unsuccessful, must also be raised in an application for leave
to appeal to the Court of Special Appeals. See Md.
Crim. Proc. Code Ann.' 7-109. If the Court of Special
Appeals denies the application, no further review is
available, and the claim is exhausted. See Md. Cts.
& Jud. Proc. Code Ann.,' 12-202. However, if the
application is granted but relief on the merits of the claim
is denied, a petitioner must file a petition for writ of
certiorari to the Court of Appeals. See Williams,
must also comply with a one-year filing deadline in this
Court following exhaustion of his claims. See 28
U.S.C. § 2244(d). Lambert is forewarned that the one-year
filing deadline begins to run on the date his conviction is
final. The one-year period is “tolled” (or not
counted toward the one-year period) during the time a
properly filed post-conviction petition is pending in state
court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(2); Harris
v. Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir. 2000). This
means that until a properly filed post-conviction petition is
filed, the one-year time limitation for federal habeas corpus
continues to run. Once post-conviction proceedings are
completed through state court appellate review, Lambert has
whatever time remains on the one-year filing clock to seek
federal habeas corpus review.