United States District Court, D. South Carolina
December 29, 2014
Shaheen Cabbagestalk, # 295567, Petitioner,
Warden J. McFadden, Respondent.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KAYMANI D. WEST, Magistrate Judge.
A Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 was submitted to the court by a state prison inmate appearing pro se. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.), this magistrate judge is authorized to review all pretrial matters in such pro se cases and to submit findings and recommendations to the district court. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e), 1915A (as soon as possible after docketing, district courts should review prisoner cases to determine whether they are subject to summary dismissal).
I. Factual and Procedural Background
Shaheen Cabbagestalk ("Petitioner") contends, on a § 2254 petition form, that his 2007 Dillon County armed-robbery conviction constitutes a "debt" that he wants to "discharge." Pet. 4-5, ECF No. 1. He claims that he "is a corporation" and is being denied the right to such discharge or to "zero out the account" within South Carolina state courts. Id. at 9, 14.
Petitioner currently has another § 2254 case pending in this court in which he is challenging the same 2007 Dillon County conviction, Cabbagestalk v. McFadden, Civil Action No. 5:14-cv-03771-RMG-KDW (pending since September 25, 2014). See Colonial Penn Ins. Co. v. Coil, 887 F.2d 1236, 1239 (4th Cir. 1989) ("[t]he most frequent use of judicial notice of ascertainable facts is in noticing the content of court records.'"); Mann v. Peoples First Nat'l Bank & Trust Co., 209 F.2d 570, 572 (4th Cir. 1954) (approving trial court's taking judicial notice of proceedings had before it in prior suit with same parties). Since November 24, 2014, Petitioner has filed both a Motion for Summary Judgment and a Motion to Amend his Petition in that habeas matter; however, Respondent's Answer to the Petition filed in that case is not due until December 31, 2014. See Civil Action No. 5:14-cv-03771-RMG-KDW, ECF Nos. 15, 16, 23.
II. Standard of Review
Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review was made of the pro se Petition filed in this case. The review was conducted pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A, and the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, and in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Md. House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983); Boyce v. Alizaduh, 595 F.2d 948 (4th Cir. 1979).
This court is required to construe pro se petitions liberally. Such pro se petitions are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys, Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a federal district court is charged with liberally construing a petition filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). When a federal court is evaluating a pro se petition the petitioner's allegations are assumed to be true. De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 630 n.1 (4th Cir. 2003). The requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).
Furthermore, this court is charged with screening Petitioner's lawsuit to determine if "it plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court." Rule 4 of Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts; see Rule 1(b) of Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts (a district court may apply these rules to a habeas corpus petition not filed pursuant to § 2254). Following the required initial review, it is recommended that the Petition in this case be summarily dismissed.
Following review of the allegations contained in the Petition filed in this case, it is obvious that this case is duplicative of Civil Action No. 5:14-cv-03771-RMG-KDW. This court will not entertain two separate habeas-corpus petitions that challenge the same state court conviction. To do so would fly in the face of the important interests of judicial efficiency and economy. As the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit commented when faced with similar circumstances:
The District Court clearly had the right to take notice of its own files and records and it had no duty to grind the same corn a second time. Once was sufficient.
Aloe Creme Labs., Inc. v. Francine Co., 425 F.2d 1295, 1296 (5th Cir. 1970).
Accordingly, it is recommended that the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in this case be dismissed without prejudice.
IT IS SO RECOMMENDED.