Gladden, Sr. v. Barber et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Theodore D. Chuang on 1/19/2017. (c/m 1/19/2017 aos, Deputy Clerk)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
THOMAS EARL GLADDEN, SR.,
Prisoner Identification No. 1883041,
Civil Action No. TDC-16-1257
MATT BARBER, Warden, and
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE
STATE OF MARYLAND,
Thomas Earl Gladden, Sr., currently confined at the McDonnell Unit of the Texas
Department of Corrections in Beeville, Texas, has filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
The Petition challenges Gladden's 1999 conviction in the Circuit
Court for Baltimore City, Maryland for first-degree murder, armed robbery, and related offenses.
On June 2, 2016, the Court issued an Order requiring Respondents to file a Limited Answer to
Respondents filed a Limited Answer on July 15, 2016, seeking dismissal of the
Petition on the basis that Gladden's claims are time-barred.
On July 25, 2016, Gladden filed a
Response to the Limited Answer. Gladden has also filed a Motion for Appointment of Counsel.
For the reasons set forth below, the Petition is dismissed as time-barred, and the Motion is
On March 22, 1999, Gladden was convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court for Baltimore
City, Maryland of first-degree murder, two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts
assault, two counts of unlawful use of a handgun, kidnapping,
He was sentenced on April 27, 1999 to life imprisonment plus an additional 50
years. Gladden filed a motion for modification of his sentence that was denied on July 28, 1999.
Gladden filed an appeal and, in an unreported opinion issued on February 25,2000, the Court of
Special Appeals of Maryland vacated Gladden's sentences for first-degree assault but otherwise
affirmed his judgment of conviction.
Gladden v. State, No. 0780 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. Feb. 25,
2000). The court's mandate issued on March 27, 2000. Gladden did not seek further review of
the decision by the Court of Appeals of Maryland. Consequently, his judgment became final for
purposes of direct review on April 12,2000.
See Md. Rule 8-302(a) (requiring a petition for writ
of certiorari to be filed in the Court of Appeals no later than 15 days after the Court of Special
Appeals issues its mandate or 30 days after the opinion by the Court of Special Appeals is filed).
Separately, Gladden filed an application for panel review of his sentence that was denied on July
On May 17, 2006, Gladden filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court,
which was denied on June 29, 2010. Gladden's application for leave to appeal this decision was
denied by the Court of Special Appeals on March 30, 2012, Gladden v. State, No. 1149 (Md. Ct.
Spec. App. March 30, 2012), with the court's mandate issuing on May 1,2012.
2012, Gladden filed a motion to reopen post-conviction
On November 8,
proceedings, which was denied on
December 16, 2013, Another motion to reopen post-conviction proceedings, filed on March 26,
2014, was granted on April 22, 2014 to the extent that it allowed Gladden to file a belated
application for leave to appeal.
Gladden's application for leave to appeal was denied by the
Court of Special Appeals of Maryland on April 16, 2015, with the court's mandate issuing on
On April 21, 2016, Gladden submitted the instant Petition, which was received and
docketed by this Court on April 27, 2016.
Because the Petition is dated April 21, 2016, it is
deemed filed as of that date. See Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266,270-76
(1988); United States v.
Dorsey, 988 F. Supp. 917, 919-20 (D. Md. 1998) (holding that a petition shall be deemed to have
been filed on the date it was deposited with prison authorities for mailing under the prison
mailbox rule); see also United States v. McNeill, 523 F. App'x 979, 982-83 (4th Cir. 2013).
In his Petition to this Court, Gladden claims that he has been denied his constitutional
right to effective assistance of counsel because post-conviction
counsel failed to raise several
claims of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, and trial
court error. Respondents argue that the Petition is time-barred under 28 U.S.C.
A one-year statute of limitations applies to habeas petitions in non-capital cases for a
person convicted in state court. See 28 U.S.C.
(2012). Section 2244(d) provides that:
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 of-(A)
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
the time during which a properly filed application for State postconviction 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
Here, because Gladden did not file a petition for writ of certiorari with the Court of
Appeals of Maryland, under a strict construction, the one-year limitations period began to run on
April 12, 2000, the date of the expiration
9 2244( d)(l )(A).
of the time for seeking direct review.
Under a more permissive construction, the one-year limitation period would
have begun to run on July 27, 2000, when his application for panel review was denied. Under
either construction, because Gladden did not file a post-conviction petition within one year of the
date that the limitations period began to run, his Petition is time-barred.
Gladden notes that the one-year limitations period is tolled for the "period when statepost-conviction
proceedings are pending in any state court."
Resp. 2, ECF NO.7.
Moreover, he states that ineffective assistance of counsel claims are to be reserved for a state
post-conviction petition, which can be filed within 10 years from the final judgment of direct
appeal and which he did file on May 17, 2006. The fact that Gladden timely filed a state postconviction petition under state law, however, does not excuse the fact that for approximately six
years after the federal limitations began to run, from 2000 to 2006, Gladden did not file a state
post-conviction petition that would have tolled the limitations period.
therefore, elapsed by no later than July 27,2001.
The limitations period,
Under certain circumstances,
the one-year statute of limitations may be subject to
See Harris v. Hutchinson, 209 F.3d 325, 328 (4th Cir. 2000).
seeking equitable tolling must establish that:
diligently, and (2) "some extraordinary
(l) the petitioner had been pursuing his rights
prevented timely filing.
Florida, 560 U.S. 6~1, 64;9 (2010) (quoting Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544 U.S. 408, 418 (2005)).
cir~.umstance must be beyond the petitioner's
control or external to the
petitioner's qWP conduct. Rouse v. Lee, 339 F.3d 238,246 (4th Cir. 2003).
Gladden has failed to meet this standard. The only explanation Gladden has offered for
failing to file either a state post-conviction petition or his federal petition for almost six years is
his contention, citing Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S. Ct. 1309 (2012), that post-conviction
error that causes a procedural default is a valid basis for equitable tolling. Martinez, however,
addressed not equitable tolling, but the question of what circumstances would provide cause to
excuse procedural default, which ordinarily bars the consideration of claims that a state court
declined to address because of the failure to comply with a state procedural rule.
132 S. Ct. at
1316. Specifically, Martinez held that when state law requires that a claim of ineffective
assistance of trial counsel be raised in the first state collateral proceeding, "a procedural default
will not bar a federal habeas court from hearing a substantial claim of ineffective assistance at
trial if, in the [state court] initial-review collateral proceeding, there was no counselor counsel in
that proceeding was ineffective."
ld. at 1320. It provides no foundation for an equitable tolling
arg~ment. Where Gladden has otherwise failed to otTer any persuasive basis to support equitable
tolling, his Petition is time-barred under
S 2244( d) and
shall be dismissed with prejudice.
Certificate of Appealability
Rule 11(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases provides that the district court
"must issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters a final order adverse to the
applicant" in such cases.
applicant, 28 U;S.C
Because the accompanying
Order is a final order adverse to the
requires issuance of a certificate of appealability before an
appeal can proceed.
A certificate of appealability may issue if the prisoner has made a "substantial showing of
the denial of a constitutional right."
When a district court rejects
constitutional claims on the merits, a petitioner may satisfy the standard by demonstrating that
"reasonable jurists would find the district court's
of the constitutional
debatable or wrong." Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473,484 (2000). When a petition is denied
on procedural grounds, the petitioner must show that reasonable jurists "would find it debatable
whether the.petition states a valid claim of the denial ofa constitutional right" and "whether the
district court was correct in its procedural ruling." Id. at 478.
Here, Gladden's claims are dismissed on procedural grounds, and, upon review of the
record, this Court finds that Gladden has not made the requisite showing.
declines to issue a certificate of appealability.
The Court therefore
Gladden may still request that the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issue such a certificate. See Lyons v. Lee, 316 F.3d 528,
532 (4th Cir. 2003) (considering whether to grant a certificate of appealability after the district
court declined to issue one).
Motion for Appointment of Counsel
In his Motion for Appointment of Counsel, filed on November 21, 2016, Gladden claims
that he is unable to afford couns,el, the circumstances of his imprisonment in Texas greatly limit
his ability to litigate his case, he has limited knowledge of the law and limited access to the
prison law library, and the appointment of counsel would leave him in a better position to present
evidence, to cross examine witnesses, and to engage in negotiations.
In light of the Court's
decision to dismiss his Petition as time-barred, however, the Motion will be denied as moot.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court dismisses the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
with prejudice as time-barred and declines to issue a Certificate of Appealability.
The Court also
denies as moot the Motion for Appointment of Counsel. A separate Order shall issue.
Date: January 19,2017
THEODORE D. CH
United States District
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