Holmes v. Spencer,, No. 09-2431 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
In 1998, Holmes pled guilty to second-degree murder and received a sentence of life in prison, the mandatory sentence. Mass. G.L. ch. 265, 2. Holmes claims that he pled guilty because his attorney, Graham, told him that the prosecutor had proposed that if Holmes entered the plea and if the prosecutor wanted information from Holmes, Holmes would be able to reduce his sentence by filing a Motion to Revise or Revoke. Holmes filed the Rule 29 motion, but did not identify any grounds. The motion was futile; the trial judge had no discretion in sentencing. In 2000, Holmes filed pro se a motion to withdraw the plea, alleging that Graham was constitutionally ineffective. Graham stated that he had advised Holmes to accept the plea because there was significant risk of a first degree murder conviction. In 2004, Holmes filed an amended motion, claiming that he would not have pled guilty had he known that the Rule 29 Motion would have been futile. After successive denials Holmes filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The district court dismissed the petition as untimely. The First Circuit remanded for consideration of whether the statute of limitations should be equitably tolled.