United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
George Napoleon Moses, #103370, a/k/a George N. Moses, Petitioner,
Warden Joseph McFadden, Respondent.
R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge
Petitioner George Napoleon Moses, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on July 21, 2014. See Pet., ECF No. 1. Petitioner is currently incarcerated at Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville, South Carolina. See Id. at 1. On October 17, 2014, Respondent filed a motion for summary judgment and a return and memorandum in support. See ECF Nos. 8–9. Petitioner timely filed a response in opposition to Respondent’s motion for summary judgment. See Pet.’s Resp., ECF No. 12. The matter is now before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation (R & R) of United States Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers, III, filed January 23, 2015. See R & R, ECF No. 14. The Magistrate Judge recommends the Court grant Respondent’s motion for summary judgment and dismiss the petition without an evidentiary hearing. See Id. at 23. Petitioner timely filed objections to the R & R. See Pet.’s Objections, ECF No. 30.
For the reasons stated below, this Court adopts the Magistrate Judge’s R & R and grants Respondent’s motion.
The Magistrate Judge thoroughly discussed the procedural background of this case in his R & R with citations to the record. See R & R, ECF No. 14 at 2–7. Respondent did not file any objections to the R & R, and Petitioner does not dispute the procedural history within his objections to the R & R. Accordingly, finding no clear error, the Court adopts the procedural history as set forth in the R & R.
In his petition, Petitioner raised two grounds for relief. See Pet., ECF No. 1 at 5, 7. Respondent agreed that Petitioner properly exhausted his state remedies for both grounds as required by 28 U.S.C.§ 2254(b)(1)(A), and that both grounds were ripe for determination in federal court. See ECF No. 9 at 7–8. The two grounds and supporting facts on which Petitioner asserts he is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus are as follows:
Ground One: Violation of Petitione[r’s] Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Ame[ndment rights:]
Petitioner was denied his right to counsel when the police, after Petitioner invoked his right to counsel, initiated contact with him the next day and continued to interrogate him, resulting in a statement that the state then introduced and used against him during its case-in-chief.
Ground Two: Violation of Petitioner[’]s Sixth Amendment rights[:]
Trial counsel was ineffective for not obtaining the victim[’]s medical records, (failure to investigate), and for failing to obtain an independent expert to review those medical records in conjunction with the autopsy report which indicated that the victim had a preexisting heart problem and cocaine in his system.
See Pet., ECF No. 1 at 5, 7 (emphases added). The Magistrate Judge quoted the two grounds and supporting facts in his R & R. See R & R, ECF No. 14 at 7–8.
Standard of Review
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the district court. The Magistrate Judge’s recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the district court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270–71 (1976). The district court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R to which specific objection is made, and it 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 district 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. Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (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. Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200 (4th Cir. 1983).
I. Habeas Standard