Hines v. Wolfe et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge J. Frederick Motz on 3/30/2017. (c/m 3/30/17)(kr2, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
AARON NATHANIEL HINES, #425693
WARDEN RICKY FOXWELL, et al.J
CIVIL ACTION NO. JFM-17-104
Petitioner Aaron Nathaniel Hines ("Hines") seeks habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28
2254, attacking his 2011 convictions in the Circuit Court for Queen Anne's County.2
Respondents' unopposed limited answer to the petition) remains pending. ECF Nos.
6 & 7. After review, the court finds no need for an evidentiary hearing.
See Rule 8(a), Rules
Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts and Local Rule 105.6 (D.
Md. 2014); see also Fisher v. Lee, 215 FJd 438, 455 (4th Cir. 2000) (petitioner not entitled to a
hearing under 28 U.S.C.
For reasons to follow the petition shall be dismissed as
Hines asks that the name of respondent Warden be changed to reflect the correct
name of the Warden at the Eastern Correctional Institution. ECF No.4. The Clerk shall amend
the docket to substitute the name of Ricky Foxwell as respondent Warden.
The petition was accompanied by a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Because Hines appears indigent, the $5.00 habeas corpus fee shall be waived by separate Order.
Hines was granted an additional twenty-eight days to file a reply to respondents'
limited answer. ECF No.3. No reply or traverse has been received.
On August 16, 2011, Hines pled guilty to conspiracy to possess narcotics with the intent
to distribute and received an aggregate sentence of 20 years, with all but 18 months suspended.
Hines did not seek leave to appeal this conviction.
became final for direct appeal purposes on September 15, 20 II.
Therefore, his conviction
See Md. Code. Ann., Cts. &
12-302(e)(2) (review of a judgment following a guilty plea "shall be sought by
application for leave to appeal"); Md. Rule 8-204 (application for leave to appeal must "be filed
within 30 days after entry of the judgment or order from which the appeal is sought").
On November 28, 20 II, Hines filed a counseled motion for modification of sentence. On
December 22, 20 I I, the circuit court granted Hines's motion and amended his sentence to
recommend home detention.
On September 15, 20 I5, Hines filed a self-represented petition for
post-conviction reliefin the circuit court. On February 19,2016, Hines filed a counseled petition
for post-conviction relief. On April 4, 2016, Circuit Court Judge Paul M. Bowman denied postconviction relief. Hines did not seek leave to appeal. ECF No.5-I.
Hines's 28 U.S.C.
petition was received for filing on January 12,2017.4
Statute of Limitations
Pursuant to Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ("AEDPA"), when filing a
federal habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.c.
2254, defendants convicted in state court
The Maryland Division of Correction does not date stamp outgoing prisoner mail
"received by prison mailroom." The petition is dated December 30, 2016, and shall be deemed
filed as of that date. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 270-76 (1988); United States v.
McNeill, 523 Fed. Appx. 979, 983 (4th Cir. 2013; United States v. Dorsey, 988 F. Supp. 917,
919-920 (D. Md. 1998) (holding a petition shall be deemed to have been filed on the date it was
deposited with prison authorities for mailing under the Aprison maiIbox@ rule.)
on a non-capital offense are subject to a one-year statute oflimitations.
See 28 U.S,C. g2244(d),l
Hines's convictions became final for purposes of direct appeal on September 15,201 I. The oneyear statute of limitation period ran unchecked for approximately
forty-four months, from
December 22, 20 II, to September 15, 2015, during which there were no petitions for collateral
review pending. This petition was plainly filed outside the statutory one-year limitations period.
This section provides:
A I-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
latest ofthe 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.
In his petition, Hines argues that he was ignorant of the one-year statute of limitations
period and only became aware of errors when he reviewed his criminal case after his postconviction petition. ECF No. I, p. 5 at ~ 14.
It is true that under certain circumstances the AEDPA's
statute of limitations may be
subject to equitable tolling. See Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. 631, 645 (2010), e.g., Harris v.
Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir. 2000); United States v. PrescOI/, 221 F.3d 686, 687-88
(4th Cir. 2000). The Fourth Circuit has consistently held that a party seeking to avail itself of
equitable tolling must show that (I) extraordinary
(2) beyond his control or
external to his own conduct, (3) prevented him from filing on time. Rouse v. Lee, 339 F.3d 238,
246 (4th Cir. 2003) (en bane). Additionally, the movant must show that he employed reasonable
diligence in investigating and bringing his claims.
Further, to be entitled to equitable tolling a
petitioner must show: "( 1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some
extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and prevented timely filing."
Holland v. Florida,
560 U.S. 631, 649 (20 I0), citing Pace v. DiGulielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005).
Respondents correctly observe that Hines's excuses do not prompt the equitable tolling of
the one-year limitation period under the law.
is not a justification
equitable tolling. See United States v. Sosa, 364 F.3d 507, 512 (4th Cir. 2004) (stating that
ignorance of the law is not a basis for equitable tolling); Cross-Bey v. Gammon, 322 F.3d 1012,
1215 (8th Cir. 2003) ("Even in the case of an unrepresented prisoner alleging a lack of legal
knowledge or legal resources, equitable tolling has not been warranted.") (internal quotations
omitted); Felder v. Johnson, 204 F.3d 168, 171-73 (5th Cir. 2000) (lack of notice of AEDPA
amendments and ignorance of the law are not rare and exceptional circumstances that warrant
In this case, however, Hines has neither asserted, nor do the pleadings
suggest, any circumstances that justify equitable tolling. Accordingly, the petition will be denied
and dismissed with prejudice by separate Order.
In Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473 (2000), the Supreme Court held that "[w]hen the
district court denies a habeas petition on procedural grounds without reaching the prisoner's
claim, a COA
[certificate of appealability]
should issue when the
prisoner shows, at least, that ... jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court
was correct in its procedural ruling."
Slack, 529 U.S. at 484.
Hines does not satisfy this
standard, and the court declines to issue a certificate of appealability.
Date: March --'-:'20 17
United States District Judge
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