Richard Lavonte Blanks, Sr. v. Warden Graham
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Motion disposition in opinion--denying Motion to proceed in forma pauperis (FRAP 24) [999997803-2] Originating case number: 1:16-cv-00624-JFM Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. . Mailed to: Richard Lavonte Blanks Sr. MARYLAND CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION - JESSUP P. O. Box 549 Jessup, MD 20794-0000. [16-7693]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
RICHARD LAVONTE BLANKS, SR.,
Petitioner - Appellant,
WARDEN GRAHAM; BRIAN FROSH, The Attorney General of the State of
Respondents - Appellees.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore.
J. Frederick Motz, Senior District Judge. (1:16-cv-00624-JFM)
Submitted: May 22, 2017
Decided: May 30, 2017
Before NIEMEYER, DUNCAN, and THACKER, Circuit Judges.
Dismissed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Richard Lavonte Blanks, Sr., Appellant Pro Se. Edward John Kelley, OFFICE OF THE
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MARYLAND, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
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Richard Lavonte Blanks, Sr., seeks to appeal the district court’s order dismissing
as untimely his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (2012) petition. The order is not appealable unless a
circuit justice or judge issues a certificate of appealability. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(A)
(2012). A certificate of appealability will not issue absent “a substantial showing of the
denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2) (2012). When the district court
denies relief on the merits, a prisoner satisfies this standard by demonstrating that
reasonable jurists would find that the district court’s assessment of the constitutional
claims is debatable or wrong. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000); see MillerEl v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 336-38 (2003). When the district court denies relief on
procedural grounds, the prisoner must demonstrate both that the dispositive procedural
ruling is debatable, and that the petition states a debatable claim of the denial of a
constitutional right. Slack, 529 U.S. at 484-85.
We have independently reviewed the record and conclude that, even if Blanks
could show that he was entitled to equitable tolling rendering his petition timely, he has
not made the requisite showing of the denial of a constitutional right. Accordingly, we
deny a certificate of appealability, deny leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and dismiss
the appeal. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are
adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the
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