Docket – April 17, 2019

4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Wright v. Lassiter (P), 4th Cir. (Richardson) from EDNC at Raleigh (Dever).

The district court correctly found that North Carolina prison officials did not substantially burden the plaintiff’s constitutional and statutory religious-freedom rights, though not for the result the court gave.

The plaintiff is an inmate who follows Rastafarianism. He asked to celebrate four annual Rastafarian holy days through communal meals and three other holidays through communal gatherings that don’t include meals. But the plaintiff didn’t prove that, but for the defendants’ policies, a community of Rastafarian inmates would gather to celebrate these seven holidays and holy days. He didn’t identify any Rastafarian inmate in the North Carolina prison system who would attend his proposed gatherings. Moreover, he concedes there are no other North Carolina inmates who belong to his religious sect. Thus, he has failed to show that the defendants’ policies are what prevent these communal gatherings from happening.


Mitchell v. Green (P), 4th Cir. (King) from DMD at Greenbelt (Chasanow).

In this appeal of a dismissed 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition, under Wall v. Kholi, 562 U.S. 545 (2011), the one-year limitations period prescribed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act was tolled by the petitioner’s state court motion to reduce sentence under Rule 4-345 of the Maryland Rules.

A Maryland Rule 4-345 motion to reduce sentence tolls AEDPA’s limitations period. Simply put, such a motion involves judicial reexamination of a judgment in a proceeding outside of the direct review process. There are no differences between Rhode Island Rule 35 and Maryland Rule 4-345 that would cause us to distinguish the sentence reduction motion in Kholi from the petitioner’s motion for a sentence reduction motion here. Kholi compels the conclusionthat a Maryland Rule 4-345 motion to reduce sentence triggers AEDPA’s tolling provision. Because the district court ruled otherwise, its judgment of dismissal must be vacated.

Vacated and remanded.

Categories: Daily Dockets

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