United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Brightwell, a State prisoner presently incarcerated at the
Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup
("MCI-J"), filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 challenging the
computation of his sentences. ECF 1. Respondent seeks to
dismiss the Petition on the basis that Brightwell failed to
exhaust his claim in state court prior to instituting this
case. In the alternative, Respondent seeks dismissal because
Brightwell's claims are procedurally defaulted. ECF 7.
Brightwell has replied. ECF 9. For the reasons to follow, the
Petition will be DENIED and DISMISSED without prejudice.
Brightwell indicates that in 1998 a jury convened in the
Circuit Court for Somerset County convicted him of armed
robbery and the use of a handgun in the commission of a crime
of violence.. ECF 1 at p. 8; State v. Brightwell,
Nos. 97-CR-04909 and 97-CR-4910, Circuit Court for Montgomery
County. At sentencing, Brightwell claims that the Honorable
Thomas C. Groton, III stated:
For that reason what I'm going to do in case 97-CR-04909,
as to Count number one, the armed robbery, I'm going to
sentence you to twenty years in the Division of Correction.
Likewise in case 97-CR-04909, I'm going to sentence you
on count number six, the handgun violation, use of handgun in
the commission of a crime of violence to ten years in the
Division of Correction.
Id.; see also ECF 1-2, p. 2. All other sentences in
No. 97-CR-04909 merged. Id. At that same proceeding,
Brightwell was sentenced in No. 97-CR-04910. Brightwell
states that as to that case, Judge Groton stated:
In 97-CR-04910 as to count number one, the armed robbery,
I'm going to sentence you to twenty years in the Division
of Correction. I'm going to make that consecutive to the
sentence that was imposed in 04909.
Likewise as to the remaining counts under the same procedure
I followed in 909 I'm going to merge for the purpose [ofj
sentencing the remaining counts.
So what you have, Mr. Brightwell is twenty years on an armed
robbery, an additional ten years on the handgun violation.
The second case you'll have an additional twenty years.
They are consecutive to each other. So that's makes a
total of fifty years that you have in the Division of
ECF1, p. 8; ECF 1-2, p. 2-3.
conclusion of his sentencing, Judge Groton stated that the
sentences were to run "from the time he was picked up
and placed in jail." ECF 1, p. 9; ECF 1 -2, p. 3.
Brightwell argues that this statement created an ambiguity as
to whether the sentencing judge "had retracted the
consecutive provisions imposed. .. .and directed that each
sentence begin January 6, 1997." Id., p. 10.
Brightwell contends that the Division of Corrections
("DOC") personnel have failed to . properly
calculate both his sentences as running concurrently from
January 6, 1997. ECF 1.
filed an administrative remedy regarding the calculation of
his sentence and appealed the denial of the grievance through
each stage of the grievance process, including to the Inmate
Grievance Office. ECF 1, p. 15-19. His remedy requests were
filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging the
calculation of his sentence by the DOC with the Circuit Court
for Somerset County, Case Number
19-C-09-013294. ECF 1, p. 5; ECF 7-2; ECF 7-4. The
petition was dismissed and Brightwell noted an appeal. ECF
7-4, pp. 4-5. Subsequently, Brightwell voluntarily dismissed
the appeal. ECF 7-4, p. 6; ECF 7-5; ECF 7-6. In dismissing
the appeal, Brightwell referenced a second petition for writ
of habeas corpus which was then pending in the Circuit Court
for Somerset County, No. 19-C-10-014160. ECF 7-5, p. 1. This
second petition was denied by the Circuit Court for Somerset