United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division
R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge
Petitioner Jerome Chisholm, an inmate with the South Carolina Department of Corrections proceeding pro se, brought this habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. [ECF #1]. In his petition, he raises one ground for habeas relief: ineffective assistance of counsel. [ECF #1, p. 6].
Currently pending before this Court is Respondent’s Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF #19] and the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant. [ECF #24]. The Magistrate Judge recommended that summary judgment be granted in favor of Respondent. [ECF #24]. Petitioner responded to Respondent’s motion on June 22, 2015. [ECF #22]. Petitioner also timely filed objections to the Report and Recommendation on September 10, 2015. [ECF #26]. The procedural history and factual background were adequately set forth in the Report and Recommendation. [ECF #24, pp. 2-4]. This matter is now before the Court for disposition.
Legal Standards of Review
I. Review of the Magistrate Judge’s Report & Recommendation
The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final determination remains with the 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 report and recommendation 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 to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The right to de novo review may be waived by the failure to file timely objections. Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). 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 [C]ourt to a specific error in the [M]agistrate’s proposed findings and recommendations.” Id.
II. Summary Judgment Review
“The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (2010). “A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record . . .; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). When no genuine issue of any material fact exists, summary judgment is appropriate. See Shealy v. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1011 (4th Cir. 1991). The facts and inferences to be drawn from the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id. However, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).
Respondent moves for summary judgment and seeks dismissal of Petitioner’s § 2254 petition arguing Petitioner is unable to satisfy the legal standard for the requested habeas relief. As his stated ground for relief in his § 2254 petition, Petitioner alleges ineffective assistance of counsel due to the failure of his trial counsel to file a motion for speedy trial as guaranteed by the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. [ECF #1, p. 6]. Specifically, Petitioner claims that trial counsel admitted that he had not discussed or filed such a motion, and that during the delay in time that he awaited trial, the prosecution produced additional damaging evidence. [ECF #1, p. 6]. The motion requesting summary judgment in favor of Respondent is based on two arguments: (1) Petitioner’s claims are procedurally barred; and (2) Petitioner’s claims do not meet the requisite standard for proving ineffective assistance of counsel.
III. Federal Habeas Review under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
Petitioner filed his petition after the effective date of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). Therefore, in considering Petitioner’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim, the Court’s review is limited by the deferential standard of review set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320 (1997); Breard v. Pruett, 134 F.3d 615, 618 (4th Cir. 1998). Under the AEDPA, federal courts may not grant habeas corpus relief unless the underlying state adjudication:
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see also Evans v. Smith, 220 F.3d 306, 312 (4th Cir. 2000) (explaining federal habeas relief will not be granted on a claim adjudicated on the merits by the state court unless it “resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, ” or “resulted in a decision that was based on an ...