Sallie v. Dovery et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Ellen L. Hollander on 10/17/2016. (c/m 10/17/2016 bas, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
WILLIAM SALLIE, #484-480
RICHARD D. DOVEY and
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE
STATE OF MARYLAND
Civil Action No. ELH-16-2549
William Sallie, a self-represented Maryland prisoner, seeks habeas corpus relief pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. ECF 1 and ECF 5 (Supplemental Petition) (collectively, the “Petition”).
He attacks his 1972 conviction in the Circuit Court for Harford County for rape, assault with
intent to rape, and assault and battery. Sallie also submitted exhibits in support of the Petition.
The Warden of the Roxbury Correctional Institution and the Maryland Attorney General
(collectively, the “State”) have responded and offered a single exhibit, the docket sheet outlining
proceedings relating to Sallie’s criminal case. See ECF 8 and ECF 8-1. Sallie has replied. ECF
10. After reviewing the petition, answer and reply, the court finds no need for an evidentiary
hearing. See Rule 8(a), Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District
Courts; see also 28 U.S.C. '2254(e)(2). For the reasons set forth below, the Petition shall be
denied and a certificate of appealability shall not issue.
I. Factual and Procedural History
Sallie was charged in the Circuit Court for Harford County with rape and related
offenses. He elected to be tried by a judge, and was convicted on January 14, 1972.
On March 2, 1972, Sallie was sentenced to life imprisonment. ECF 8-1 at 4.1 Judgment
was affirmed on appeal. ECF 8-1 at 7. After completing direct appeal of his conviction, Sallie
sought collateral review, filing several petitions for post-conviction relief. Each was denied.
ECF 8-1 at 7-8, docket entries for March 8 and March 15, 2074, July 9, 1975, June 16, 1976,
January 28, 1977, April 26, 1977, Sept. 7, 1983, and Dec. 7, 1983. The Maryland Court of
Special Appeals affirmed the denial of a motion filed on April 6, 2015, seeking to reopen postconviction proceedings. ECF 8-1 at 2, 9.
In his petition, Sallie asserts that the trial judge failed to comply with Maryland Rule 4-
246(b).2 He also asserts that counsel provided ineffective assistance by allowing the case to
proceed before a judge, rather than explaining what a trial by a jury entailed and by failing to file
a motion in limine to suppress direct testimony concerning a “wet look” jacket described by the
victim. ECF 1-1 at 1-4. He also notes a “rape kit” was not done. ECF 10 at 5.3 Sallie complains
that his sentence restricts his ability to obtain parole (ECF 10 at 1), and states that his was a
This opinion references the pagination as it appears through the court’s electronic
This rule provides a procedure by which a defendant may waive the right to trial by
jury, and requires the trial court to assess whether the defendant’s waiver is made knowingly and
Sallie was convicted in 1972. The forensic use of DNA evidence began in England in
1986, and was first used in a criminal court in the United States in 1987. See Andrews v. State,
533 So. 2d 841 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1988). See http://www.forensicmag.com/
“capital case where the only evidence used to sustain this conviction was unsupported,” with
“unreliable witness testimony.” Id. at 3-5.4
In a limited answer to the petition, the State asserts that the merits of Sallie’s claims
cannot be examined because the Petition is untimely, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 2244(d), and Sallie
has provided no basis for applying the doctrine of equitable tolling. ECF 8 at 3-4.
In reply, Sallie argues that his limited knowledge of the law is sufficient to invoke the
doctrine. He further contends that the interest of justice mandates federal review, because his
sentence violates the Eighth Amendment. ECF 10 at 1-2.5
II. Applicable Statutory Standards
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”) was enacted and signed
into law on April 24, 1996. Prior to AEDPA, there was no time limitation on when a prisoner
could file an original action for habeas corpus relief in federal court. AEDPA introduced a oneyear limitations period for state prisoners filing under 28 U.S. C. § 2254. The one-year period
that applies to habeas petitions begins to run on the date on which the judgment became final by
the conclusion of direct review or, if no appeal is taken, upon the expiration of the time for
seeking such review. See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A)6; see also Wall v. Kholi, 562 U.S. 545, 549
Maryland was among the jurisdictions that permitted capital sentencing in rape cases.
That sentencing scheme was abolished in 1972. See Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972);
Johnson v. Warden, 16 Md. App. 227 (1972). Sallie was sentenced to life.
Were this allegation to be considered on the merits, it would be more appropriately
analyzed under the Sixth Amendment.
This section provides:
Petitioners whose conviction were finalized before April 24, 1996, had one year from the
effective date, i.e., until April 24, 1997, to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal
court. See Brown v. Angelone, 150 F.3d 370, 375 (4th Cir. 1998); Hernandez v. Caldwell, 225
F.3d 435, 438-39 (4th Cir. 2000) (one-year period expired on April 24, 1997). The one-year
period is tolled while properly filed post-conviction proceedings are pending and may otherwise be
equitably tolled. See 28 U.S.C. '2244(d)(2); Harris v. Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir.
A 1-year period of limitation shall apply to an application
for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the
judgment of a State court. The limitation period shall run from the
the date on which the judgment became final by the
conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for
seeking such review;
the date on which the impediment to filing an
application created by State action in violation of the
constitution or laws of the United States is removed, if the
applicant was prevented from filing by such State action;
the date on which the constitutional right asserted
was initially recognized by the Supreme Court, if the right
has been newly recognized by the Supreme Court and made
retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review; or
the date on which the factual predicate of the claim
or claims presented could have been discovered through the
exercise of due diligence.
the time during which a properly filed application for State
post-conviction or other collateral review with respect to the
pertinent judgment or claim is pending shall not be counted toward
any period of limitation under this subsection.
Here, the limitations period began to run on April 24, 1996, the date on which AEDPA
was enacted, and expired one year later, on April 24, 1997. Between April 24, 1997 and March
11, 2002, when Sallie filed an unspecified “motion” in the Circuit Court (see ECF 8-1 at 9,
Opinion of June 4, 2007 (Plitt, J.), denying relief), there were no proceedings in State court that
would serve to toll the limitations period of 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). Sallie presents no grounds to
support an argument that the limitations period should be statutorily tolled in his favor.
In order to be entitled to equitable tolling of the limitations period, Sallie must establish
that either some wrongful conduct by the State contributed to the delay in filing his federal
habeas corpus petition, or that circumstances beyond his control caused the delay. See Rouse v.
Lee, 339 F. 3d 238, 246 (4th Cir. 2003); Harris v. Hutchinson, 209 F. 3d 325, 328 (4th Cir.
2000). A[A]ny resort to equity must be reserved for those rare instances where . . . it would be
unconscionable to enforce the limitation period against the party and gross injustice would
result.@ Id.; see also Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005) (recognizing that equitable
tolling requires a showing that the petitioner “has been pursuing his rights diligently, and . . . that
some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way.”); Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 648
(2010) (equitable tolling limited to extraordinary circumstance).
To the extent the delay might be attributed to Sallie’s lack of understanding of the law,
unfamiliarity with the law may not be used to justify equitable tolling. See United States v. Sosa,
364 F.3d 507, 512 (4th Cir. 2004).
Sallie has failed to satisfy his burden to demonstrate that
equitable tolling is warranted. His claims for habeas corpus relief are time-barred.
IV. Certificate of Appealability
When a district court dismisses a habeas petition, a certificate of appealability may issue
“only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. 28
U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). When a district court dismisses a habeas petition solely on procedural
grounds, a petitioner satisfies this standard by demonstrating “that jurists of reason would find it
debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right’ and (2)
‘that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its
procedural ruling.’” Rouse v. Lee, 252 F.3d 676, 684 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Slack v. Daniel,
529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000)). Sallie does not satisfy this standard. Therefore, the court declines to
issue a certificate of appealability.7
The Petition for habeas corpus relief will be denied. An Order follows.
October 17, 2016
Ellen L. Hollander
United States District Judge
Denial of a Certificate of Appealability in the district court does not preclude Sallie
from requesting a Certificate of Appealability from the appellate court.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?