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Calloway v. Reynolds

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

January 21, 2016

Antonio Calloway, Petitioner,
v.
Warden Cecilia Reynolds, Respondent.

ORDER

Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge

In this pro se action, Petitioner filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2), D.S.C., this matter was automatically referred to the United States Magistrate Judge for all pretrial proceedings. On November 24, 2015, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that Respondent's motion for summary judgment be granted. (Dkt. No. 18.) Petitioner timely filed objections to the Report and Recommendation. (Dkt. No. 25.) As explained herein, this Court adopts the Report and Recommendation and grants Respondent's motion for summary judgment.

I. Legal Standard

The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final determination remains with this Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court may also "receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Id. When a proper objection is made to a particular issue, "a district court is required to consider all arguments directed to that issue, regardless of whether they were raised before the magistrate." United States v. George, 971 F.2d 1113, 1118 (4th Cir. 1992). However, *'[t]he district court's decision whether to consider additional evidence is committed to its discretion, and any refusal will be reviewed for abuse." Doe v. Chao, 306 F.3d 170, 183 & n. 9 (4th Cir.2002). "[Attempts to introduce new evidence after the magistrate judge has acted are disfavored" though the district court may allow it "when a party offers sufficient reasons for so doing." Caldwell v. Jackson, 831 F.Supp.2d 911, 914 (M.D. N.C. 2010) (listing cases).

II. Analysis

On May 14, 2012, Petitioner pled guilty to attempted murder, kidnapping, three armed robberies, attempted armed robbery, and two possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime charges. The South Carolina Circuit Court in Greenville sentenced Petitioner to twenty-five years in prison for attempted murder and to lesser sentences for the other charges. All sentences were issued to run concurrently. After direct appeal and post-conviction relief ("PCR") proceedings in state courts, he timely filed the instant Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus on May 25, 2015, asserting three Grounds for relief.

A. Ground One

In Ground One, Petitioner asserts that his guilty plea was involuntary because he did not understand the consequences of his plea and because he did not understand the nature of the charges to which he pled guilty.

Petitioner's assertion that he did not understand the consequences of his plea is contradicted by the record. When he pled guilty, Petitioner very clearly testified that he understood the maximum sentence he could receive (thirty years) and that he was satisfied with the counsel he had received regarding his decision to plead guilty:

THE COURT: Has anyone promised you anything for pleading guilty?
DEFENDANT SEYMOUR: No, sir.
DEFENDANT CALLOWAY: No, sir.
THE COURT: You are pleading guilty voluntarily, that is of ...

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