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Fields v. Stevens

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

July 3, 2014

Anthony Fields, Petitioner,
v.
Warden Stevens, Respondent.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

PAIGE J. GOSSETT, Magistrate Judge.

Petitioner Anthony Fields ("Fields"), a self-represented state prisoner, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. This matter comes before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) DSC for a Report and Recommendation on the respondent's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 23.) Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison , 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Fields was advised of the summary judgment and dismissal procedures and the possible consequences if he failed to respond adequately to the respondent's motion. (ECF No. 24.) Fields filed a response in opposition to the respondent's motion. (ECF No. 40.) Having carefully considered the parties' submissions and the record in this case, the court concludes that the respondent's motion for summary judgment should be granted and Fields's Petition denied.

BACKGROUND

A. 1993 Convictions

Fields was indicted in March 1993 in Richland County for burglary in the first degree (93-GS-40-2150), and two counts of burglary in the second degree (93-GS-40-2152 & -2155). (ECF No. 25 at 13-14, 17-18, 21-22.) Fields was subsequently indicted in April 1993 in Richland County for three counts of second degree burglary (93-GS-40-2157, -1967, & -1969), and again in July 1993 for one count of burglary in the first degree (93-GS-40-2021) and two counts of grand larceny (93-GS-40-2020 & -2022). (See Order, ECF No. 26-1.) Fields was represented by Eve Major, Esquire, and on August 10, 1993 pled guilty as charged. (Id.) The circuit court sentenced Fields to twenty years' imprisonment for each count of burglary in the first degree, fifteen years' imprisonment for each count of burglary in the second degree, and thirty days' imprisonment for each count of grand larceny. (Id.) Fields did not appeal his conviction or sentence.

Fields filed a pro se application for post-conviction relief on October 8, 2007 ("2007 PCR") in which he raised the following claims, as summarized by the respondent:

1. Ineffective assistance of counsel on the allegation that counsel did not consult him on his ability to appeal or the proper manner in which to do so;
2. Involuntary guilty plea;
3. Newly Discovered Evidence;
4. Violation of Due Process;
5. Violation of Right to Counsel; and
6. Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

(See Fields v. State of South Carolina, 07-CP-40-6689; ECF No. 25-4.) The State filed a return and motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 26.) On June 30, 2008, the PCR court filed a conditional order of dismissal in which it provisionally denied and dismissed Fields's 2007 PCR application as untimely under the limitations provision of the Uniform Post-Conviction Procedure Act, S.C. Code Ann. § 17-27-45(a), and barred by the doctrine of laches. (ECF No. 26-1.) Fields filed a pleading in opposition to the conditional order. (ECF No. 26-2.) The PCR court denied and dismissed Fields's 2007 PCR application by Final Order filed December 22, 2009. (ECF No. 26-4.) Fields did not appeal the PCR court's order.

B. 2006 Convictions

Fields was indicted in August 2005 in Richland County for burglary in the first degree (05-GS-40-5629), and petit larceny (05-GS-40-5633). (ECF No. 26-3.) Fields was represented by Ian Deysach, Esquire, and on October 20, 2006 was tried before a jury and found guilty as charged. (ECF No. 22-4 at 107-08.) The circuit court sentenced Fields to life imprisonment without parole pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 17-25-45 for burglary in the first degree, and thirty days' imprisonment for petit larceny. (ECF No. 22-4 at 123.)

Fields timely appealed and was represented by Eleanor Duffy Cleary, Esquire, of the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, who filed a final brief on Fields's behalf that presented the following claim:

Whether Appellant was denied due process of law when the solicitor commented on his assertion of his right to a jury trial in ...

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