Rattler v. Warden

Filing 14

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 10/30/2017. (c/m 10/30/2017 tds, Deputy Clerk)

Download PDF
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAN() Southern Division 1311Oel 30 A It: 25 ALFRED RATTLER, * Petitioner', . * L * WARDEN R. GRAHAM, 1'1 al., * Respondents. * * * * * * * Case No.: C.IlI.' 5-1799 * MEMORAN()UM * * * robbery and related offenses. lOCI' No. I (supplemented 1(11' armed by lOCI' NO.3. lOCI' NO.4. lOCI' No.6). Warden R. Graham and the Attorney General of the State of Maryland argue that the petition is time-barred Penalty Act ("AEDPA"). * Institution in Cumberland. filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus regarding his 2000 convictions In a limited answer. Respondents * OPINION Allred Rattler. an inmate at the Western Correctional Maryland. * under the Anti.Terrorism and Effective Death ECF NO.5. Rattler argues that his elaim is not lime-barred because he has presented a colorable elaim of actual innocence and is entitlcd to cquitable tolling of his time limitation. Ecr No. GO\'l'rnill~ Sl'clioll 2254(e)(2). II at 6.1 No evidentiary hearing is necessary. SI'I' Rule 8(a). RIIll's 225-1 Casl's inlhe Vllill'd Slall's Dislricl COllrls: .1('1' also 28 U.S.c. ~ For the reasons set I(Hth herein. the Petition is denied. I Pin cites to documents filed on the Court's electronic filing system (CI\VECF) refer to the page numbers generated by that system. The COlirt notes that Petitioner's Response to Respomknt"s Answer arrears to he missing what he has labeled as page..t Jnd page 8. - BACKGROUNU2 I. In October was convictcd handgun. 1999. alier a .jurv trial in thc Circuit Court I(lr Monll!omcrv ". County. Rattlcr ~ •... " of armed robbcry. assault. illegal usc of a handgun. and illcgal posscssion ECF NO.9-I at 1: ECF No. 9-2. Rattler was sentcnccd Id. He appealcd his conviction. live year term of conlinement. Special Appeals of Maryland illegal possession aflirmed of a handgun. case for rcsentencing for writ of certiorari Rattler" s conviction on Junc 7. 2000. to a twcntyand on May 11.200 I. the Court of for illegal usc of a handgun and vacated his lirst degree assault convictions on the armed robbery conviction. of a and remanded thc ECF No. 9-2 at 15. Rattler tiled a petition to the Court of Appeals of Maryland. 2001. See Roilier ". S/a/e. 365 Md. 475 (2001). Rattler's which was denicd on Scptcmber convictions 14. bccamc linal on Decembcr 14.2001. See Harris ". Hu/chil7sol7. 209 F.3d 325. 328 n.1 (4th Cir. 2000) (noting that timc t(1I' appcaling state court conviction the Supreme concludcs when time t()r filing pctition tor writ of ccrtiorari Court. ninety days. expires). Rattler Ii led a motion for a new trial on September Novcmber 11. 2000. which was denied on 30. 2001. ECF No. 9-1 at 38. The Court of Special Appeals aflirmcd No. 9.3. and the court's mandatc issued on February 10.2003. scck further review of this decision and the judgmcnt Md. Rule 8-302 (requiring ECF No.9-I Appeals issues its mandate). relief in the circuit court. Eel' No. 9-1 at 46. which. alier being amended. the court dcnicd on January application at 45. Rattlcr did not be tilcd in the Court of Appeals no later On July 27. 2007. Rattler tiled a petition I(lr post-conviction 9-1 at 67. Rattler's this ruling. ECF bccame tinal on February 25. 2003. See petition lor writ of certiorari than 15 days alier the Court ofSpeciai 2 in t()f Icave to appcalthe 19. 2012. Eel' No. dcnial of other post-conviction rclicfmls The facts relied on herein arc either undisputed or vic\\'cd in the light most favorable to the nOIl-1110Vant. 2 denied by the Court of Special Appeals on April 8.2013. ECF No. 9-4 at 2. The court denied Rattler's motion for reconsideration and issued its mandate on January 29.2014. /d. at I. Rattler tiled the instant petition on June 14. 20 15.~ ECF No. I. lie alleges prosecutorial misconduct in that the state's attorneys f~liledto turn ovcr lilrcnsic reports regarding thc bullet that was recovered li'om the crime scene. ECF NO.3 at 5. !~lilcdto disclose the details ofthc "deal/arrangement between Ronald Calvin lIawkins' and the Maryland Virginia law en!t))"cement agencies:' id. at 22. and elicited false testimony Irom Ilawkins. itl.. at 37. Rattler explains that motions regarding the turning over of the ttlrensic reports and any known deals were argued in pretrial motions. /d. at 5. 24. Rattler also alleges here that the search and seizure warrants issued in his case were improperly obtained. ECF No. 4- 1 at 10. The legality of the warrants was also litigated at a pretrial suppression hearing. Jd. On October 28. 2015. Respondents liled a limited answer. arguing that Rattler's petition is time-barred and should be dismissed on that basis. ECF NO.9 at 7. The Court issued an Order on October 30. 2015. granting Rattler twenty-eight days Irom that date to IiIe a responsc addressing the timeliness issue. ECF No. 10. Rattler's response was received on November 25. 2015. ECF NO.1\. II. STANDARD OF REVIEW A one-year statute of limitations applies to habeas petitions in non-capital cascs I(Jr persons convicted in state court. S"" 28 U.S.c. ~ 2244(d)( I): Wal/\". Kholi. 562 U.S. 545. 550 (20 II). Section 2244(d)( I) provides that: ,I The Petition was received on June 18. 2015. but is dated June 14.2015. and is deemed to have been tiled 011 thai date. See Hoos/oll \'. I.ack. 487 U.S. 266. 276 (1988). 5 Rattler tHld rcp0l1cd his car stolen. Ilawkins was arrested in Alexandria. Virginia while driving Rattler's l'ar. Hawkins offered to Virginia police that he had information about armed robberies in the area. Ultimately he advised police and testilicd at trial that he was an unwitting passenger in Rattler's vehicle \\'hcn Rattler stopped ;Ind committed an armcd robbery of>'I~amburgcr f~al11leC in Montgomery County. Maryland. flnwkins was released from detention in Virginia to Maryland authorities and was not charged \\lith the Iheft of Rattler"s vehicle. EeF No. 3 at 25. 3 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 11'0111 the latcst ot~(A) the date on which the judgmcnt became linal by the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking such review: (13)the date on which the impediment to tiling an application created by State action in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States is removed, ifthc applicant was prcvented II'om Iiling by such Statc action: (C) the date on which the constitutional right asserted was initially recognizcd 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 (D) the date on which the factual predicate of the claim or claims presented could have bcen discovered through the exercise of due diligence. 28 U.S.c.;: 2244(d)(I). Pursuant to ;: 2244(d)(2). "ltJhe time during which a properly tiled application li)r State post-conviction or othcr collateral review with respect to the pcrtinent judgmcnt or claim is pcnding shall not be countcd toward any period of limitation under this subsection:' 28 U.S.c.;: 2244(d)(2). The limitation period may also be subject to equitable tolling in appropriate cases. Ilol/olld \'. Florida. 560 U.S. 631. 645 (2010): lIarris ". 1llIlchillsoll. 209 F.3d 325, 329-30 (4th Cir. 2000). III, I>ISCUSSION A. Timeliness of Rattler's ~ 225-1 Petition Respondents argue that the petition is timc-barrcd and should bc dismisscd. ECl' NO.9 at 7. In his supplemcntal bricfs, Rattler acknowlcdgcs that his argumcnts are "untimcly claims:' but asks that the Court consider his claims bccause hc is "prcsenting sufticicnt evidencc of an 'actual innoccncc' claim:' Eel' No. 4-1 at 1: ECl' No. 11 at 5-6. Similarly, in his Rcsponse to Respondcnts' Answer, he does not contend that his Petition complies with;: 224-1(d)( I), but argucs that he is entitled to equitable tolling. lOCI'No. 11 at 5-6. -I As notcd above. Rattler's statute of limitations Assuming. bccame final on Dcccmbcr bcgan to run on Deccmbcr without deciding. convictions convictions 13.2001. See 28 U.s.c. 14.2001. ~ 2244(d)(I). that cach of thc motions tiled by Rattlcr in thc state court ancr his becamc final did scrvc to toll the limitations stale court motions and post-conviction procccdings pcriod (see 28 U.S.c. concluded lie did not tile the instant pctition until June 14.2015. limitations pcriod expired. As such. on its face. Rattler's ~ 2244(d)(2)). on January 29. 2014. "hcn longer had any motions pcnding in state court and his statc post-conviction finalizcd. and thc procccding his hc no was wcll ancr the one year petition is improper. B. Exeuse of Late Filinl: for "Aetu:lllnnocenee" The Suprcme "cvidence Court held in McQuiggin ". Perkins that a pctitioner of innocencc so strong that a court cannot have confidence may proceed with a habeas petition that othcrwise who demonstrates in the outcome orthe would have been statutorily time-barrcd. trial"' J 33 S. Ct. 1924. 1936 (2013). See "/.10 Uniled Slales \'. Jones. 758 F.3d 579. 581 (4th Cir. 2014). Thc Supreme Court "caution[ cd]. however. that tenable actual-innocencc petitioner does notmcet thc threshold light or the new cvidence. a reasonable sufficient would havc voted to find him guilty beyond to establish or a barred claim:' ora concededly a miscarriage /d. at 315-17. scientific a claim of actual innocence at triaL" Schlup. 513 U.S. at 324. "Without even the existence "exculpatory thc district court that. in doubt. ... McQuiggin. 133 S. Ct. at 1928 (brackets omitted) (quoting Schill!' \'. De/o. not presented innocence. unless he pcrsuades no juror acting reasonably 513 U.S. 298 (1995)). "To bc ercdible. evidence rcquiremcnt gatcway claims arc rare: .A evidence. meritorious must be based on reliable any new evidence of constitutional violation is not in itselr of justice that would allow a habeas court to reach the merits Examples of potentially credible declarations 5 sufficient ncw evidence include or guilt by another. trustworthy eyewitncss accounts. and certain physical evidencc:' Fairman \'. ;/I/(Ierson. 188 r.3d 635. 644 (5th Cir.1999) (citation omittcd). The ncw evidence must be evaluatcd with any other admissible cvidence of guilt. lVil.wm \'. Greene. 155 F.3d 396. 404-05 (4th Cir.). appl ../i)rslayal1llcal. denied suh. nom. Wilson \'. Taylor. 525 U.S. 1012 (1998). Thc ncw cvidence must do more than undcrmine the tinding of guilt: it must "demonstratc that the totality of the evidence would prevent any reasonable juror from linding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." Telegu: \'. Zook. 806 F.3d 803. 808 (4th Cir. 2015). cal. denied. 137 S. Ct. 95 (2016). Rattlcr makcs a numbcr of arguments. detailed belo\\'. that he was not aftorded access to evidence or other procedural protections. Thesc arguments. howcver. present neither new evidence nor cvidence that demonstratcs his innocencc. Rattler argues that he was not providcd with certain reports: however. he docs not identify the reports that were not turncd over. nor docs he explain how thc alleged failure to provide the reports demonstrates his actual innocence. Instead. Rattler provides excerpts of the transcript from his criminal trial wherein Terry Eaton. the forensic lirearm and tool mark examiner lor the Princc George's County Police. was called to testify. ECl' NO.3 at 18-19. Eaton testitied that he tested the bullet recovered from the crime scene against the weapon recovered Ii'om Rattler's bedroom and concludcd that the recovered weapon was in tact the weapon that lired the recovered bullet. /d. at 20. Rattler does not explain how thc unidentilied ballistic reports would have shown his "actual innocence:' In rcgard to his claim that the Assistant State's Attorney tililed to disclosc "deals" arranged with the state's chief witness. Rattler ofTers that this issue was argued at a pretrial motions hearing. ECl' NO.3 at 24. During the motions hearing. Assistant State's Attorney Schweitzcr advised the court that there wcre no promises. inducements or deals made with 6 Hawkins other than what had previously been diselosed. Id. Sehweitzer further offered that there was some question as to whether the "automobile thing over in Alexandria" had been solved. but Schweitzer indicated that the defense had that full history and they could make their own decision. Schweitzer further indicated that other than what had happened in Virginia no other promises had been made. !d In support of his contention that Hawkins made a deal flJr his release with Virginia authorities. Rattler has provided a copy of Hawkins's arrest report. ECF No. 6-10. and details regarding how Hawkins came to the attention of Maryland authorities. ECF NO.3 at 30. Rattler does not explain how this evidence is new or newly discovered. It is apparent Irom Rattler's liIings that he and his defense counsel knew prior to trial that J lawkins had made some beneficial arrangement in exchange for his providing information against Rattler in regard to the armed robbery. See ECF NO.3 at 42 ("The Grand Larceny Auto/lloftinaster Report was a part of the State's . Discovery' package:'): ECF No. 6-10 at 3 (document labeled the "Hoftinaster Report:' discusses that Hawkins was "released on a personal bond" alier being arrested "'dluc to Hawkins[' J desire to work with the police" against Rattler). Rattler does not explain how any of this constitutes new evidence or advances his elaim of actual innocence. Rattler also notes discrepancies in Hawkins's testimony regarding when Rattler loaned Hawkins his ear and under what circumstances. ECF NO.3 at 44--45. 52. Again. none of the issues that Rattler has identilied regarding Hawkins's testimony constitutes new cvidencc. The issues raised regarding the inconsistencies in Hawkins's testimony wcre known to defensc counscl. Moreover. none of the issues with Hawkins's testimony demonstrates Rattler's actual innocence. 7 Rattler's prolTered "newly discovered evidenee" standard. have confidcnce in the outcome of the trial unless the eourt is also satisfied that the trial was Iree constitutional crror:' of innocenee to meet the demanding actual innoeence of nonharm!ess which rcquires "cvidence is insurticient Schillp. 513 U.S. at 316. Rattler has not made the requisite showing under Mc(jlli)!,)!,in and Schillp to warrant application exception to the statute of limitations claim of actual innoeenee. evidenee found the applieant Rattler's Rattler lails to demonstrate that ..the laets underlying as a whole. would be surtieient that. but for eonstitutional guilty of the underlying lailure to meet the one-year of the miscarriage of justice bar. Rattler has offered no new evidence in support of his proven and viewed in light of the evidence and eonvincing so strong that a eoul1 cannot error. no reasonable offense:' the claim. if to establish by clear lilctlinder would have 28 U.S.c. ~ 2244(b)(2)(B)(ii). Therel(lre. statute of limitations is not excused. C. Equitable Tolling Although he brielly mentions offer any speeilic arguments that he is entitled to "Equitable demonstrating liIing deadline. other than his previously Appeals equitable that the Court should equitably discussed lor the Fourth Circuit has consistently claim of"aetual circumstanees. circumstance quotation his rights diligently, stood in his way and prevented marks omitted): toll his one-year innocenee." The Court of (2) beyond his control or him Irom filing on time. ROllse 246 (4th Cir. 2003) (en hal1c). Further. to be entitled to equitable show: "(I) that he has been pursuing Rattler does not held that a party seeking to avail itself of tolling must show that (I) extraordinary external to his own conduct. (3) prevented Tolling:' 1'. I.ee. 339 FJd 238. tolling, a habeas petitioner must and (2) that some extraordinary timely liIing:' /lo//and. 560 U.S. at 649 (internal see also Harris. 209 F.3d at 330 (stating that "any invoeation to relieve the strict applieation of a statute of limitations must be guarded and infrequent" of equity and "reserved for those rarc instances conduct-it whcrc--due would bc unconscionablc injusticc to circumstanccs cxtcrnal to the party's own to enforce the limitation pcriod against thc party and gross would rcsult".). Ignorance of the law docs not constitute tolling. See Ulliled Slaies grounds for cquitable \'. Sosa. 364 F.3d 507. 512 (4th Cir. 2004) (stating that "cvcn in thc case of an unrcprcsented prisoner. ignorance knowledge ("Sosa's of the law is not a basis for equitable cannot be considered misconception nor a circumstance about thc operation external to his control."): at 330. The Court concludes Petition is time-barred IV, "extraordinary" CERTIFICATE ofthc tolling') or somcthing Moreover. "cxtcrnal" statutc of limitations see also ROilSI', RaHIer's lack of to him. See itl. is neither extraordinary 339 F.3d at 246: lIarris. 209 F.3d that RaHler is not entitled to cquitable tolling. Accordingly. the and is denied. OF AI'I'EALABILITY Pursuant to Rule 11(a) of the Rules Govcrning Proceedings court is required to issue or deny a ccrtificate of appealability to the applicant. is a "jurisdictional A certificatc of appealability under 28 U.S.c. ~ 2254. thc whcn it cnters a final order advcrse prcrcquisite" to an appeallrom thc court's earlier order. Ulliled Siaies \'. Haddell. 475 F.3d 652. 659 (4th Cir. 2007). When a district court dismisses a habeas petition solely on procedural appealability will not issue unless the petitioner ("COA") of reason would tind it debatable constitutional grounds, a certilicate can demonstrate both "( I ) 'that jurists whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial ofa right" and (2) 'that jurists of reason would find it debatable court was correct in its procedural of ruling .... ROilSI' \'. whether the district Lee. 252 F.3d 676, 684 (4th Cir. 2001) {quoting Slack \'. iv/cDalliel. 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000)). A litigant seeking a COA must demonstrate that a procedural ruling barring relief is itself debatable 9 among jurists of reason: otherwise. the appeal would not ""deserve encouragement to proceed further:' Buck v. Davis. 137 S. Ct. 759, 777 (2017) (quoting Slack. 529 U.S. at 484). Here, it is clear that Rattler did not comply with the one-year statute of limitations of * 2244( d)( I ). and that he has not sufficiently put forth a claim of actual innocence: 'jurists ofreason" would not find this to be debatable. Therefore. this Court will not issue a COA. V. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons. Rattler's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. ECF No. I. is '~i'" "0' <hi,""00 i, di,mi,~d. Dated: OctoberjO A ~p=" follow,. Onl" . 2017 ~~ /.-. . ~(_ 1:--t- GEORGE J. HAZEL United States District Judge 10 _

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?