United States District Court, D. Maryland
MICHAEL I. COLEMAN, Petitioner,
WARDEN R. FOXWELL, et al., Respondents.
L. Russell, III United States District Judge
before the Court is Petitioner Michael I. Coleman's
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. (ECF No. 1). The Petition
is ripe for disposition, and no hearing is necessary.
See Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254
Cases in the United States District Courts; see
also 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2) (2018). For the reasons
set forth below, the Court will dismiss the Petition as
16, 2014, Coleman was charged by criminal information with
possession of a controlled dangerous substance
(“CDS”) (heroin) with intent to distribute,
simple possession of CDS (heroin), simple possession of CDS
(marijuana), and possession of CDS paraphernalia in the
Circuit Court for Kent County, Maryland. (Resp'ts'
Ltd. Ans. Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus [“Ltd. Ans.”]
Ex. 1 [“State Record”] at 19-22, ECF No. 6-1). On
January 14, 2015, a jury convicted Coleman on all four
counts. (See id. at 10). On March 27, 2015, the
Circuit Court sentenced Coleman to twenty years of
incarceration for possession of heroin with intent to
distribute and one year, concurrent, for possession of
marijuana. (Ltd. Ans. Ex. 4 at 24-26, ECF No. 6-4).
April 1, 2015, Coleman appealed his convictions to the Court
of Special Appeals of Maryland, (State Record at 10), and
filed a Motion for Reduction of Sentence pursuant to Maryland
Rule 4-345(e) in Circuit Court, (id. at 10, 23-24).
The Circuit Court denied Coleman's motion on or about May
14, 2015. (See id. at 201). While his direct appeal
was pending, on April 20, 2015, Coleman also filed an
application for review of sentence by a three-judge panel of
the Circuit Court pursuant to Maryland Rule 4-344.
(Id. at 10). On June 30, 2015, the three-judge panel
issued an order that left Coleman's sentence unchanged.
(Id. at 9). On March 8, 2016, the Court of Special
Appeals affirmed Coleman's convictions, with the mandate
issuing on April 7, 2016. (Id. at 142-68). Coleman
did not seek further direct review by petition for certiorari
in the Court of Appeals of Maryland, and therefore, the
judgment and sentence became final for direct appeal purposes
on April 22, 2016. See Md. Rule 8-302(a) (requiring
that petitions for writ of certiorari to be filed no later
than fifteen days after the Court of Special Appeals issues
12, 2016, Coleman filed a petition for post-conviction relief
in the Circuit Court. (State Record at 8). He filed an
amended petition through counsel on January 12, 2017.
(See id. at 7, 178-99). Following a hearing on May
5, 2017, the Circuit Court denied post-conviction relief on
July 18, 2017. (Id. at 6-7).
Coleman filed an application for leave to appeal the denial
of post-conviction relief, which was entered in the Circuit
Court docket on September 5, 2017.(Id. at 6). On
October 10, 2017, the Court of Special Appeals ordered that
the application for leave to appeal be dismissed as untimely
pursuant to Maryland Rule 8-602(a)(3). (Id. at 226).
The mandate issued on November 9, 2017. (Id. at 6).
April 2, 2018, Coleman filed a motion to reopen his
post-conviction proceedings, which the Circuit Court denied
on May 8, 2018. (Id.). On August 3, 2018, a letter
from Coleman to the judge who presided over his
post-conviction proceedings was docketed in the Circuit Court
as a motion for reconsideration of the post-conviction
ruling. (Id. at 6, 236-41). The Circuit Court has
not yet ruled on that motion.
an inmate at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover,
Maryland, filed the instant Petition on September 25,
2018. (ECF No. 1). In the fifty-six-page
Petition, Coleman collaterally attacks his 2015 convictions
for CDS offenses. (Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus
[“Pet.”] at 1, ECF No. 1). Coleman appears
to take issue with, among other things, the evidence
presented at his trial, the assistance rendered by his trial
and post-conviction attorneys, the actions taken by the
prosecutor, trial judge, and post-conviction judge during the
state court proceedings, and the Court of Special
Appeals' dismissal of his application for leave to appeal
the denial of post-conviction relief. (Id. at 6-55).
On December 20, 2018, Respondents filed a Limited Answer in
which they argue that the Petition should be dismissed as
untimely. (Ltd. Ans., ECF No. 6). On December 21, 2018, the
Court issued an Order affording Coleman was afforded an
opportunity to explain why the Petition should not be
dismissed as time-barred. (Dec. 21, 2018 Order at 3, ECF No.
7). On January 16, 2019, Coleman filed an Opposition. (ECF
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
their Limited Answer, Respondents assert that the Petition
should be dismissed as time-barred because it was filed
beyond the one-year limitations period set forth in 28 U.S.C.
§ 2244(d). Respondents note that although the
limitations period was statutorily tolled while Coleman's
petition for post-conviction relief was pending, more than
one year of untolled time elapsed before he filed his
Petition in this Court. Respondents also argue that Coleman
has not provided sufficient cause to excuse his failure to
timely file the Petition and, therefore, it must be dismissed
as time-barred. Coleman counters that he thought he had until
October 10, 2018 to file his Petition, calculating the
one-year limitations period as starting from the Court of
Special Appeals' October 10, 2017 order dismissing his
application for leave to appeal the denial of post-conviction
relief. The Court agrees with Respondents.
petition for a writ of habeas corpus may be granted only for
violations of the U.S. Constitution or laws of the United
States. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Petitions filed under
§ 2254 are subject to a one-year statutory limitations
period, which includes certain exceptions. 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1). The exception relevant to Coleman's Petition
provides, “The limitation period shall run from the
latest of . . . the date on which the judgment became final
by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the
time for seeking such review . . . .” 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d)(1)(A). In addition, the one-year limitations period
is tolled while properly filed state post-conviction
proceedings are pending. See Id. at §
Coleman's Petition is time-barred. His conviction and
sentence became final for direct appeal purposes on April 22,
2016, when the time for pursuing direct review in state court
expired. See Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 150
(2012); Md. Rule 8-302(a). He filed his petition for
post-conviction relief in state court eighty-one days later,
on July 12, 2016, thus leaving 284 days in the one-year
period. The ...