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Holman v. Thomas

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division

December 3, 2014

Robert A. Holman, Petitioner,
v.
Warden Thomas, Respondent.

ORDER

R. BRYAN HARWELL, District Judge.

On June 24, 2014, Robert A. Holman ("Petitioner"), a federal prisoner currently confined at Federal Correctional Institution - Edgefield in Edgefield, SC, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Pet., ECF No. 1. Petitioner is proceeding pro se. The matter is before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of United States Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges, made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina. See R & R, ECF No. 15. In the R & R, the Magistrate Judge recommends the Court dismiss Petitioner's petition without prejudice and without requiring the Respondent to file a return. See id. at 6.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Petitioner alleges a conviction for being a felon in possession in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, resulting in a sentence of 264 months imprisonment. See ECF No. 1 at 2. Records in Petitioner's criminal case, United States v. Holman, indicate that Petitioner was originally sentenced to a 264 month term of imprisonment on October 29, 1998.[1] See Order, United States v. Holman, No. 4:97-cr-396-CDP, at 2 (E.D. Mo. July 13, 2005). On December 27, 1999, Petitioner filed a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct the sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. See Petition, Holman v. United States, No. 4:99-cv-2035-CDP (E.D. Mo. Dec. 27, 1999). The district court denied this motion via Order dated October 26, 2001. See Order, Holman v. United States, No. 4:99-cv-2035-CDP (E.D. Mo. Oct. 26, 2001). Petitioner then attempted to file a successive § 2255 petition and the district court transferred his request to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which denied the request. See Order, United States v. Holman, No. 4:97-cr-396-CDP, at 1 (E.D. Mo. July 13, 2005).

At some point Petitioner was transferred to FCI - Edgefield in Edgefield, SC, and on June 24, 2014, he filed the Petition that is presently before the court pursuant to § 2241. Petitioner does not appear to have obtained authorization from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to proceed with a second or successive § 2255 petition.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the district court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the district court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R to which specific objection is made, and the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

The court is obligated to conduct a de novo review of every portion of the Magistrate Judge's report to which objections have been filed. Id. However, the court need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only "general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations." Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982) ("[D]e novo review [is] unnecessary in... situations when a party makes general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendation."). The Court reviews only for clear error in the absence of a specific objection. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310 (4th Cir.2005). Furthermore, in the absence of specific objections to the R & R, this Court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Diamond, 416 F.3d at 315; Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198 (4th Cir. 1983).

DISCUSSION

I. Petition, R & R, and Objections

In his Petition, Petitioner asserts that he is "innocent" of his sentence enhancement pursuant to the Armed Career Criminal Act ("ACCA"), 18 U.S.C. § 924(g), [2] as Missouri assault and burglary convictions no longer qualify as predicates under ACCA. See ECF No. 1 at 3. Petitioner cites to the Supreme Court's decision in Descamps v. United States, ___ U.S. ____, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013) and the Fourth Circuit's decisions in United States v. Hemingway, 734 F.3d 323 (4th Cir. 2013) and United States v. Alston, 611 F.3d 219 (4th Cir. 2010), which he claims have been made retroactive on collateral review. See ECF No. 1 at 3.

In her R & R, the Magistrate Judge recommended finding that Petitioner failed to satisfy the savings clause of § 2255, and thus could not pursue relief through a § 2241 habeas petition. See ECF No. 15 at 3-6. As the Magistrate Judge noted, Petitioner cannot challenge his federal conviction and sentence under § 2241 unless he can satisfy the § 2255 savings clause, which states:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of a prisoner who is authorized to apply for relief by motion pursuant to this section, shall not be entertained if it appears that the applicant has failed to apply for relief, by motion, to the court which sentenced him, or that such court has denied him relief, unless it also appears that the remedy by motion is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.

28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). The mere fact that relief under § 2255 is procedurally barred or barred by the gate-keeping requirements of § 2255(h) does not render the remedy of § 2255 inadequate or ...


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