United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III, United States District Judge.
before the Court is Petitioner Jason Richards'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 time-barred.
February 23, 2005, Richards was arraigned in the Circuit
Court for Baltimore County, Maryland on charges of
first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder (two
counts), second-degree rape, attempted second-degree rape,
and third-degree sexual offense (two counts).
(Resp'ts' Limited Ans. Ex. 1 (“State Ct.
R.”) at 7-9, 12, ECF No. 5-1). During Richards's jury
trial from July 26 to August 1, 2005, the Circuit Court
granted a motion for acquittal with regard to the two
third-degree sexual offense counts, and the prosecution
abandoned the attempted rape count. (Id. at 12). The
jury convicted Richards of the remaining counts.
(Id. at 7-9, 72). On October 18, 2005, the Circuit
Court sentenced Richards to: life without parole for
first-degree murder (Count 1); life, consecutive to Count 1,
for the first conspiracy count (Count 2); life, consecutive
to Counts 1 and 2, for the other conspiracy count (Count 3);
and twenty years, consecutive to the other counts, for
second-degree rape (Count 4). (Id.).
November 7, 2005, Richards appealed his convictions to the
Maryland Court of Special Appeals, and on November 21, 2005,
he filed an Application for Review by a Three-Judge Panel of
the Circuit Court. (Id. at 15). On January 31, 2006,
the Circuit Court declined to alter Richards's sentence.
(Id.). On February 22, 2008, the Court of Special
Appeals issued its decision, remanding with instructions to
vacate Richards's sentence for one of the two conspiracy
convictions and otherwise affirming the judgments of
conviction. (Id. at 92). The Court of Special
Appeals mandate issued on March 24, 2008. (Id. at
93). Richards did not seek further direct review by petition
for certiorari in the Maryland Court of Appeals or the United
States Supreme Court. (Pet. at 3, ECF No. 1).
April 4, 2008, the Circuit Court resentenced Richards to life
without the possibility of parole for Count 1, and twenty
years for Count 4, consecutive to the Count 1 life sentence.
(State Ct. R. at 15-16, 94-96). The Circuit Court vacated the
original life sentence on Count 2 and merged Count 3 with
Count 2 for sentencing. (Id.). Richards did not
appeal from the resentencing judgment. Under State law, the
time for him to do so expired on May 4, 2008, thirty days
after he was resentenced. See Md. Rule 8-202(a).
next filing came over three years later, on November 15,
2011, when he filed a “Request for Hearing on
Motion” in the Circuit Court. (State Ct. R. at 16). He
then filed a Public Information Act complaint on May 22,
2014. (Id.). On June 23, 2014, Richards filed a
“Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence, ”
(id.), which the Circuit Court denied by order
entered on August 4, 2014, (id. at 17). On July 8,
2014, Richards filed a “Motion for Revisory Power,
” which the Circuit Court denied by marginal order
entered on August 11, 2014. (Id.). On August 21,
2014, Richards filed a timely notice of appeal regarding the
denial of his motions. (Id.). On December 23, 2014,
the Court of Special Appeals subsequently dismissed his
appeal for failure to file an appellate brief. (Id.
at 18, 112). The Court of Special Appeals mandate issued on
January 22, 2015. (Id. at 18, 113).
March 4, 2015, Richards filed a petition for post-conviction
relief in the Circuit Court. (Id. at 17, 114-26). He
filed a supplemental petition through counsel on April 14,
2016. (Id. at 18, 127-37). Following a hearing on
September 29, 2017, (id. at 7, 19), the Circuit
Court denied post-conviction relief on December 26, 2017,
(id. at 17, 138-56). Richards did not apply for
leave to appeal from that decision. See Md. Code
Ann., Crim. Proc. § 7-109(a) (West 2019) (providing for
appellate review of post-conviction rulings by application
for leave to appeal); Md. Rule 8-204(b)(2)(A) (requiring such
applications for leave to appeal to be filed within thirty
days of entry of judgment).
an inmate at North Branch Correctional Institution in
Cumberland, Maryland, filed the instant Petition on May 20,
2018. (Pet., ECF No. 1). In the Petition,
Richards collaterally attacks his 2005 convictions, arguing
that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing
to preserve the record, failing to object to evidence, and
failing to object to jury instructions. (Id. at
5-6). On September 4, 2018, Respondents filed a Limited
Answer in which they argue that the Petition should be
dismissed as untimely. (Resp'ts' Limited Answer, ECF
No. 5). On September 19, 2018, Richards filed an Opposition.
(Pet.'s Opp'n, ECF No. 6). Under Hill v.
Braxton, 277 F.3d 701 (4th Cir. 2002), the Court allowed
Richards to explain why his Petition should not be dismissed
as time-barred. (Oct. 9, 2019 Order, ECF No. 7). On November
5, 2018, Richards supplemented his Opposition to address the
timeliness issue. (Pet.'s Suppl., ECF No. 8).
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). (Resp'ts' Limited Answer at 15).
Respondents contend that the one-year limitations period
began to run on May 4, 2008 and was not suspended by
statutory or equitable tolling. (Id.). Richards
counters that no one advised him that he had one year to file
a federal habeas corpus petition. (Pet.'s Opp'n at
2). He also asserts that the one-year limitations period did
not begin to run because the Court of Special Appeals did not
send him a copy of its February 22, 2008 opinion remanding
the case to the Circuit Court for resentencing. (Pet.'s
Suppl. at 1). The Court agrees with Respondents.
petition for a writ of habeas corpus may be granted only for
violations of the Constitution or laws of the United States.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(a) (2018). Petitions filed under §
2254 are subject to a one-year statutory limitations period,
with the starting date determined by 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)
(2018). As relevant to Richards's Petition, “[t]he
limitation period shall run from . . . the date on which the
judgment became final by the conclusion of direct review or
the expiration of the time for seeking such review . . .
.” § 2244(d)(1)(A). The one-year limitations
period is tolled while properly filed state post-conviction
proceedings are pending, see § 2244(d)(2), and
when equity requires it.
Richards's Petition is time-barred because it was filed
after the operative limitations period and is not subject to
any tolling. When a defendant obtains a resentencing in a
state-court appeal, as Richards did here, “the
limitations period under § 2244(d)(1)(A) runs from the
judgment entered upon resentencing[.]” Woodfolk v.
Maynard, 857 F.3d 531, 542 (4th Cir. 2017) (citations
omitted). Accordingly, the applicable judgment in this case,
from which the limitations period under § 2244(d)(1)(A)
is calculated, is Richards's resentencing on April 4,
2008. Because Richards did not pursue further review in state
appellate court or the United States Supreme Court, his
conviction and sentence ...