United States District Court, D. Maryland
NATHANIEL H. GALES, III Petitioner
WARDEN RICHARD DOVEY and THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF MARYLAND Respondents
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
answer to Petitioner Nathaniel H. Gales's
self-represented Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus,
Respondents assert that the petition is time-barred and
subject to dismissal. ECF 11. Gales has filed a Reply
indicating that his Petition is timely. ECF 12, ECF 14. The
Court finds no need for an evidentiary hearing. See
Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the
United States District Courts and Local Rule 105.6 (D.
Md. 2018); see also Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455
(4th Cir. 2000) (petitioner not entitled to a hearing under
28 U.S.C. §2254(e)(2)). For the reasons stated below,
the Petition shall be dismissed and a certificate of
appealability shall not issue.
petition, Gales challenges his October 28, 1985 sentence of
life for first degree rape and armed robbery imposed
following his guilty plea by the Circuit Court for Howard
County, Maryland. ECF 1 at p. 1. Gales provides a brief
history of his case, explaining he stood trial in 1983, was
found guilty by a jury, and was sentenced to life plus 20
years consecutive. Id. at p. 5. On May 31, 1984, the
Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed and remanded the
case. Id. In 1985, the State elected to retry the
case and offered Gales a plea agreement on the eve of trial;
Gales entered an Alford plea.
did not appeal his guilty plea. He filed a petition for
post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court for Howard County
on April 25, 2014. ECF 1 at p. 3. The Circuit Court denied
relief on October 18, 2016. Id. at p. 4. Gales filed
an application for leave to appeal the denial of
post-conviction relief with the Court of Special Appeals
which was denied on August 29, 2017. Id.
November 20, 2017, Gales filed his petition for federal
habeas relief with this Court. He claims (1) discovery
violations: the State failed to disclose
impeachment evidence on two State witnesses; failed to
disclose exculpatory evidence regarding his
co-defendant's willingness to accept a ten-year sentence;
failed to disclose exculpatory evidence regarding hair
evidence; (2) ineffective assistance of counsel for failing
to investigate State's witnesses, failing to investigate
discovery compliance, failing to request an independent lab
test of pubic hair in the rape kit evidence; (3) a 2015 FBI
statement regarding the unreliability of hair analysis
evidence calls into question the validity of the hair
evidence introduced in Gales' initial trial; and (4) the
postconviction court relied on incorrect law to deny relief.
ECF 1 at pp. 6-11.
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
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
exercise of due diligence.
(2) 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 ...