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Jeter v. Cartledge

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

March 28, 2016

FREDERICK F. JETER, Petitioner,
v.
LARRY CARTLEDGE, Respondent.

ORDER

R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge

Petitioner Frederick F. Jeter, 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 seventeen grounds for habeas relief. [ECF #1].

Petitioner is currently incarcerated in the Perry Correctional Institution of the South Carolina Department of Corrections. [ECF #1]. Currently pending before this Court is Respondent’s Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF #36] and the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin. [ECF #50]. The Magistrate Judge recommended that summary judgment be granted in favor of Respondent on all grounds. [ECF #50]. Petitioner responded to Respondent’s motion on August 3, 2015. [ECF #46]. Petitioner also timely filed objections to the Report and Recommendation on March 7, 2016. [ECF #56].

Petitioner was indicted in October of 2008 for distribution of crack cocaine. [ECF #37, p. 1]. He proceeded to trial and was ultimately found guilty. [ECF #37, p. 2]. He was sentenced on June 3, 2009 to twenty-eight (28) years confinement. [ECF #37, p. 2]. Petitioner then appealed his conviction to the South Carolina Court of Appeals by way of an Anders brief. [ECF #37, p. 3].[1] The South Carolina Court of Appeals dismissed his appeal in a per curiam opinion. [ECF #37, pp. 3-4]. Petitioner then filed an application for post-conviction relief (“PCR”). [ECF #37, p. 4]. The PCR court dismissed the PCR application with prejudice on December 27, 2012. [ECF #37-2]. Petitioner filed a pro se Motion to Alter or Amend, pursuant to Rule 59(e), however this motion was denied on February 8, 2013. [ECF #37, p. 12]. Petitioner then appealed the denial of his post-conviction relief by way of a Johnson petition for Writ of Certiorari to the South Carolina Supreme Court, but this petition was denied. [ECF #37, p. 14].[2] A more detailed procedural history and factual background is adequately set forth in the Report and Recommendation (the “R&R”). [ECF #50, pp. 2-16]. The Petitioner asserts seventeen grounds for relief, listed as follows as renumbered by the Magistrate Judge and quoted substantially verbatim:

Ground One: The trial judge erred in allowing in evidence of the unredacted audio recording of the phone call including the officer’s comments referencing “crack.”
Ground Two: The trial judge erred in admitting the drug evidence where the prosecution failed to establish, as far as practicable, a complete chain of custody.
Ground Three: The trial judge erred in not instructing Mr. Jeter of his Constitutional rights that he would give up by not testifying in his own behalf.
Ground Four: The trial judge improperly instructed the jury on reasonable doubt.
Ground Five: Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to Jack Westmoreland not being able to testify as state’s witness, before and during trial.
Ground Six: Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to allowing the jury to hear prejudice comment referencing “crack” prior and or during trial, when in fact the term “crack” was never mentioned in the recorded conversation.
Ground Seven: Appella[nt] argues and seek[s] answers to why a certain allegation was inadvertently left out and not ruled on in judge’s order of dismissal.
Ground Eight: Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to reasonable doubt instruction.
Ground Nine: Appella[nt] argues whether PCR judge Mark Hayes erred by not stating the findings of fact and conclusion of law to each and every allegation that the appella[nt] raise[d] at the PCR hearing.
Ground Ten: Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object and should have filed a motion for drug evidence to be excluded from the jury for lack of proper identification.
Ground Eleven: PCR counsel was ineffective for failing to raise all appella[nt’s] issues at PCR hearing.
Ground Twelve: PCR counsel was ineffective for failing to “subpoena” all witnesses and documentation to the PCR hearing as requested and or motion for continuance.
Ground Thirteen: Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to CI’s testimony to challenge credibility and reliability to impeach CI prior to trial.
Ground Fourteen: Trial counsel was ineffective for lack of preparation time for second trial.
Ground Fifteen: Trial judge erred in allowing audio portion of tape recording to be played in it’s entirety.
Ground Sixteen: Trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the altered video being played prior to trial.
Ground Seventeen: Trial judge erred in admitting the drug evidence where the prosecution failed to establish as far as practicable, a complete chain of custody.

As was previously addressed by the Magistrate Judge, Grounds One and Fifteen and Grounds Two and Seventeen raise essentially the same issues.[3] Accordingly, in this Court’s review of those Grounds, the Court will address those Grounds and related objections in the discussion section at the same time. Petitioner brought this action pro se, which requires this Court to liberally construe his pleadings. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). This matter is now before the Court for disposition.

Legal Standards of Review

I. Review of the Magistrate Judge’s Report & ...


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