United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III, United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Petitioner Andrew Joseph
Dicks' Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254 (2018). (ECF No. 1). After previously
dismissing the Petition as time-barred, the Court re-opened
the case for the limited purpose of considering Dicks'
Brady claim. (ECF Nos. 21, 22). Having reviewed
the Petition and supplemental briefings, the Court finds no
need for an evidentiary hearing. See R. Govern.
§ 2254 Cases U.S. Dist. Cts. 8(a) (2010); 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(e)(2). For the reasons set forth below, the Court
will dismiss Dicks' Brady claim and decline to
issue a Certificate of Appealability.
Petition, Dicks raised several grounds for habeas relief,
including a claim that he recently discovered evidence that
the State should have disclosed under Brady v.
Maryland. (Pet. Writ Habeas Corpus
[“Pet.”] at 4, ECF No. 1). Dicks'
Brady claim arises from events that took place
subsequent to his arrest on June 10, 2005, when police
officers from multiple jurisdictions interrogated Dicks. Anne
Arundel County officers initially arrested Dicks for
attempted robbery of a McDonald's in Anne Arundel County.
(Pet. Ex. J [“Balt. Cty. Police Rep.”] at 1, ECF
No. 1-12). According to the police report, the Anne Arundel
County officers then informed Baltimore County detectives
that Dicks was in custody, as he was a suspect in several
Baltimore County robberies. (Id.). Two Baltimore
County detectives went to the Anne Arundel station to
interview Dicks. (Id.). When they arrived, Baltimore
City detectives were already questioning Dicks.
(Id.). Detective Tribull, an Anne Arundel County
officer, informed the Baltimore County detectives that he had
read Dicks his rights and obtained Dicks' initials on a
Miranda waiver form. (Id.). Before
questioning Dicks, the Baltimore County detectives showed
Dicks the signed waiver form and “asked him if he still
understood his rights.” (Id.). The police
report states that Dicks affirmed his understanding.
(Id.). Dicks contests this version of events,
maintaining that neither the Anne Arundel officers nor the
Baltimore County officers read him his Miranda
rights. (Pet. at 8).
ultimately pleaded guilty to five counts of armed robbery and
one count of robbery in the Circuit Court for Baltimore
County on May 1, 2006. (Pet. Ex. G [“Plea &
Sentencing Tr.”] at 2, ECF No. 1-9). Several years
after entering his plea, Dicks received discovery files from
Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, and Baltimore County,
including copies of Dicks' Miranda waiver form.
(See Pet. at 7). In his Petition, Dicks notes
several “inconsistencies” between the Baltimore
City and Baltimore County copies of the Miranda
waiver, which are photocopies of the original Anne Arundel
County form. (Id. at 7-9; see also Pet. Ex.
H [“Balt. City Miranda Form”], ECF No.
1-10; Pet. Ex. I [“Balt. County Miranda
Form”], ECF No. 1-11). Dicks asserts that, based on the
discrepancies between the two forms, he can prove the police
“illegally forged and altered the form.” (Pet. at
9). Dicks contends he would have used the forms to challenge
the validity of his Miranda waiver, the
voluntariness of his confession, and “to attack the
credibility of the investigating officers, ” instead of
pleading guilty. (Id. at 9-10). Accordingly, Dicks
asserts that the State's failure to provide him copies of
the forms prior to his guilty plea amounts to an unlawful
suppression of evidence in violation of Brady.
(Id. at 9).
raised this Brady argument in his state petition for
post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court for Baltimore
County. (Pet. Ex. A [“State Post-Convict. Pet.”]
at 2-5, ECF No. 1-3). On February 16, 2017, after a hearing
on the matter, the Circuit Court denied Dicks' petition.
(Pet. Ex. B [“State Cir. Ct. Decision”], ECF No.
1-4). With respect to the alleged Brady violation,
the Circuit Court rejected the claim on the merits, finding
Dicks had not established a violation under the three-prong
test dictated in Brady. (Id. at 3-6). On
March 12, 2017, Dicks filed for leave to appeal the Circuit
Court's denial of post-conviction relief. (Pet. Ex. C
[“State Pet. Leave to Appeal”], ECF No. 1-5). On
July 12, 2017, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals
summarily denied Dicks' application for leave to appeal
the denial of post-conviction relief. (Pet. Ex. F
[“Md.Ct.Spec.App. Op. Den. Appeal Pet.”], ECF No.
filed his federal habeas Petition on December 11, 2017. (ECF
No. 1). On February 27, 2019, this Court issued a Memorandum
Opinion and Order dismissing Dicks' entire federal habeas
Petition as time-barred. (ECF Nos. 13, 14). In its analysis,
the Court reasoned that Dicks failed to bring his
Brady claim within the applicable statute of
limitations, relying on the 2013 date Dicks received the
Miranda form in his Anne Arundel County case. (Feb.
27, 2019 Mem. Op. at 7, ECF No. 13). On March 19, 2019, Dicks
moved for reconsideration of that ruling. (ECF No. 15). Dicks
argued that the statute of limitations did not begin to run
until January 28, 2015, the date on which he received the
Baltimore County discovery file and had the opportunity to
compare the Miranda forms. (Pet'r's Mot.
Alter or Amend J. [“Mot. Reconsider.”] at 5, ECF
No. 15). The Court agreed and found that Dicks'
Brady claim was not time-barred. (June 26, 2019 Mem.
Op. at 6, ECF No. 21). Accordingly, the Court re-opened the
case to allow briefing on the merits of the Brady
claim. (Id.). On August 26, 2019, Respondents filed
a Supplemental Answer to Dicks' Petition. (ECF No. 26).
On September 16, 2019, Dicks filed a Reply. (ECF No. 27).
their Supplemental Answer, Respondents raise both procedural
and substantive challenges to Dicks' Brady
claim. As a preliminary matter, Respondents contend that
Dicks' guilty plea bars his challenge to an alleged
pre-plea Brady violation and, in any event,
Brady does not apply to pre-plea disclosure of
impeachment evidence. Alternatively, Respondents argue that
Dicks' Brady claim fails on the merits under the
deferential standard of federal habeas review because the
state court's denial of Dicks' post-conviction
Brady claim was factually and legally reasonable.
The Court addresses these arguments in turn.
assert that, by entering a guilty plea, Dicks “waive[d]
all non[-] jurisdictional defects in the proceedings
conducted prior to entry of the plea.” United
States v. Moussaoui, 591 F.3d 263, 279 (4th Cir. 2010),
as amended (Feb. 9, 2010) (citation omitted). As
such, Respondents argue Dicks is precluded from raising a
Brady claim related to the withholding of evidence
prior to his guilty plea.
Supreme Court has held that “a guilty plea represents a
break in the chain of events which has preceded it in the
criminal process.” Tollett v. Henderson, 411
U.S. 258, 267 (1973). Generally, a criminal defendant who
pleads guilty “may not thereafter raise independent
claims relating to the deprivation of constitutional rights
that occurred prior to the entry of the guilty plea.”
Id. Rather, “the inquiry is ordinarily
confined to whether the underlying plea was both counseled
and voluntary.” United States v. Broce, 488
U.S. 563, 569 (1989); see also Hill v. Lockhart, 474
U.S. 52, 56 (1985) (citation omitted) (“The
longstanding test for determining the validity of a guilty
plea is ‘whether the plea represents a voluntary and
intelligent choice among the alternative courses of action
open to the defendant.'”).
this rule bars most non-jurisdictional challenges to a
conviction based upon a guilty plea, some courts have
recognized an exception for Brady claims. Under this
exception, several federal circuit courts have allowed a
defendant to argue that a “guilty plea was not
voluntary and intelligent because it was made in the absence
of withheld Brady material.” Sanchez v.
United States, 50 F.3d 1448, 1453 (9th Cir. 1995)
(citing White v. United States, 858 F.2d 416, 422
(8th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 489 U.S. 1029 (1989);
Miller v. Angliker, 848 F.2d 1312, 1319-20 (2d
Cir.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 890 (1988);
Campbell v. Marshall, 769 F.2d 314, 321 (6th Cir.
1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1048 (1986)). Thus,
this exception would, in theory, permit Dicks to challenge
the validity of his guilty plea through his Brady
note, however, that even if such an exception is recognized,
Dicks' Brady claim must fail because
Brady does not apply to pre-plea disclosure of
impeachment evidence. To fall within the scope of
Brady, evidence must be favorable to the defense,
either because it is exculpatory or impeaching. Strickler
v. Greene, 527 U.S. 263, 281-82 (1999). The Supreme
Court held in United States v. Ruiz, 536 U.S. 622
(2002), “that the Constitution does not require the
Government to disclose material impeachment evidence prior to
entering a plea agreement with a criminal defendant.”
Id. at 633. The Court explained that
“impeachment information is special in relation to the
fairness of a trial, not in ...