United States District Court, D. South Carolina
RICHARD MARK GERGAL, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation (R & R) of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 24), recommending that Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment be granted. For the reasons stated below, the Court ADOPTS the R & Rand GRANTS Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment.
On September 25, 2008, Petitioner pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to twenty (20) years imprisonment. (Dkt. No. 18-1 at 1-20). Petitioner did not appeal his plea or sentence. Petitioner filed an Application for Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) on April 30, 2009. (Dkt. No. 18-1 at 22). Petitioner was appointed PCR counsel who raised claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and involuntary guilty plea. (Dkt. No. 18-2). On May 2, 2011, the PCR court dismissed Petitioner's application in its entirety. (Dkt. No. 18-1 at 83-90).
Through PCR appellate counsel, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the South Carolina Supreme Court, presenting the sole issue of whether plea counsel was ineffective in his assessment of Petitioner's ability to establish a self-defense case at trial. (Dkt. No. 18-3). The South Carolina Supreme Court transferred the matter the South Carolina Court of Appeals, which denied the petition on July 16, 2013. (Dkt. No. 18-8). Remittitur was issued on August, 2013. (Dkt. No. 18-9).
Petitioner then filed this federal habeas corpus petition, raising the following grounds for relief:
Ground One (a): Ineffective Assistance of Counsel for failing to explain the nature and crucial elements of the offense, the maximum and mandatory minimum penalty and the nature of the constitutional rights being waived prior to accepting the plea of guilt;
Ground One (b): Ineffective Assistance of Counsel for fai1[ing] to interview witnesses;
Ground One (e): Ineffective Assistance of Counsel for erroneously advis[ing] me that I could not show that I was without fault in bringing on the difficulty because I followed the decedent;
Ground One (d): Ineffective Assistance of Counsel for fail[ing] to fully investigate my self-defense claim(s);
Ground Two: Involuntary and unknowing guilty plea because circuit court failed to advise me of the nature and crucial elements of the offense, the maximum and mandatory minimum penalty prior to accepting the plea of guilt.
(Dkt. No. 1 at 6, 10)
The Magistrate Judge recommended that summary judgment be granted to Respondent, finding (1) that Grounds One (a), One (b), One (d), and Two were procedurally barred and (2) that Petitioner failed to show that the PCR court's and South Carolina Supreme Court's rulings on Ground One (c) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly ...