United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. GRIMM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
92254, Ronald Brount challenges his state convictions for
first degree rape, first degree sexual offense (two counts)
and burglary. ECF No. 1. Respondent filed an Answer seeking
dismissal of the Petition on the grounds of
untimelines and procedural default. ECF No. 9. Brount
filed a Reply. ECF No. 11. Brount subsequently filed a
"Motion to Correct" to add additional exhibits to
address the timeliness of the Petition,  which will be
granted. ECF No. 15. Having reviewed the submitted materials,
the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See
Local R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2018); Rule 8, Rules Governing Section
2254 Proceedings in the United States District Courts;
see Fisher v. Lee, 215 F.3d 438, 455 (4th Cir.
2000). For the reasons set forth below, the Petition will be
denied and dismissed. A certificate of appealability shall
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
2012, after authorities discovered a DNA match, Brount was
arrested for a rape that occurred in Silver Spring, Maryland
in 1981. Before trial, Brount appeared before the Circuit
Court for Montgomery County, Maryland on three occasions
requesting to both represent himself at trial and have
counsel appointed to assist him.
January 20, 2012, Brount appeared in the Circuit Court for
Montgomery County, Maryland where he was advised of the
charges against him and his right to counsel. ECF No. 9-7;
see also ECF No. 1-2 at 2. Addressing an assistant
public defender who was present at the hearing, but was not
assigned to represent Brount, the court sought to ensure that
Brount would be interviewed to determine his eligibility for
representation by the Public Defender's Office. ECF No.
9-7 at 4-5. Brount informed the court he wanted to represent
himself with the assistance of counsel. Id. The
court instructed that Brount could represent himself or could
choose to have counsel and postponed the matter for Brount to
speak with counsel from the Public Defender's Office.
Id. at 6-7.
February 3, 2012, Brount appeared before the Circuit Court
and informed the court, "Well, I still reiterate what I
said earlier, that I invoke my right to self-representation
and my right under the Sixth Amendment to have counsel to
assist me in my defense." ECF No. 9-8 at 6. The court
explained to him that you "cannot have both a Public
Defender and represent yourself. You have to pick one or the
other." Id. at 7. Brount elected to be
represented by the Office of the Public Defender.
March 23, 2012, Brount, now represented by an assistant
public defender, made a third appearance before the Circuit
Court. ECF No. 9-9 at 4. Brount explained he wanted to
represent himself and for the court to appoint a different
attorney to assist him. To this end, he file4 a pro se Motion
for Substitution of Counsel which the court denied as
meritle's. Id. at 10-11, 16; ECF No. 9-2 at 11.
The court again informed Brount that he did not have the
option of representing himself with the assistance of
appointed counsel; rather, Brount could proceed with
representation from the Public Defender's Office, retain
another attorney at his own expense, or represent himself.
ECF No. 9-9 at 7-8, 11, 13, 15-17. After further inquiry from
the court, Brount declined to represent himself without the
appointment of counsel to assist him with his
was represented by counsel from the Public Defender's
Office at trial. On April 26, 2012, after a three-day trial,
a jury returned a verdict finding Brount guilty of all
charges. On June 6, 2012, the Court sentenced Brount to
twenty years of imprisonment for burglary, and three
concurrent life sentences, one for each sex offense
conviction. ECF No.9 at 1-2; ECF No. 1-2.
by his counsel, raised the following claims on direct appeal:
(1) was the evidence legally sufficient to support first
degree sexual offense; (2) did the trial court err in denying
his request for hybrid representation; (3) did the trial
court err in admitting video testimony in violation of his
right to confront a witness; (4) did the trial court err by
allowing the State to present evidence that the DNA analysis
produced a "sperm fraction" and a "non-sperm
fraction" where there was no evidence confirming the
presence of sperm in the sample. ECF Nos. 9-3; 9-4; ECF 1-1.
The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed
Brount's judgment of conviction in an unpublished opinion
entered on October 14, 2014. Brount v. State of
Maryland, 109 A.3d 665 (Table) (February 23, 2015);
see also ECF No. 9-5.
February 23, 2015, the Court of Appeals of Maryland denied
Brount's request for further review. Brount v. State
of Maryland, Petition Docket No. 537 (Sept. Term, 2014);
see also ECF No. 9-6 at 32.
March 7, 2016, Brount filed a Petition for Post Conviction
Relief in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. ECF No 1
at 3; ECF No. 1-2. He presented three claims of error: (1) he
was denied his constitutional right to conduct his own
defense; (2) he was denied his constitutional right to the
effective assistance of counsel in connection with his
efforts to exercise his right to self-representation; and (3)
he was denied his constitutional right to effective
assistance of appellate counsel for failure to argue that
Brount was denied his right to conduct his own defense at
trial. ECF No. 1-1; ECF No. 1-2.
August 26, 2016, the Circuit Court held a hearing on the
Petition and on October 11, 2016, found that Brount had
waived his right to self-representation and that neither
trial nor appellate counsel rendered ineffective assistance.
ECF 1-2 at ...