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Belk v. Stevenson

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

April 7, 2016

Jamar Lavert Belk, Petitioner,
v.
Warden Stevenson, Respondent,

ORDER

Sol Blatt, Jr., Senior United States District judge

This matter is before the Court upon Petitioner Jamar Lavert Belk's ("Belk" or "the Petitioner") pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, wherein he alleges the following five grounds, taken verbatim from his petition:

Ground One; Did a conflict of interest exist, where petitioner was represented at P.C.R. by the same counsel as co-defendant
Ground Two: Counsel failed to do any investigation
Ground Three: Did the P.C.R. court err in ruling counsel was not ineffective when he failed to inform the petitioner of his] right to direct appeal or file the appeal.
Ground Four: Counsel was ineffective when he lied about a statement that petitioner was supposed to have writ[t]en, and he failed to prepare my case for trial.
Ground Five: Did the P.C.R. court err when the court ruled to challenge the delay of my indictments or my denial of my right to a speedy trial.

(Entry 1 at 5-12.)

On July 6, 2015, the Respondent filed a motion for summary judgment, and Belk filed a response in opposition. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(B) and the Local Rules for the District of South Carolina, the matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for review. On January 19, 2016, Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett issued a report and recommendation ("R&R") outlining the issues and recommending that the Court grant the Respondent's motion for summary judgment. Belk filed written objections to the R&R, and the matter is ripe for review.

STANDARDS OF REVIEW

I. The Magistrate Judge's R&R

The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court, See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of any portion of the R&R to which a specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).

II. Summary Judgment

To grant a motion for summary judgment, this Court must find that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The Court is not to weigh the evidence, but rather to determine if there is a genuine issue of fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). If no material factual disputes remain, then summary judgment should be granted against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which the party bears the burden of proof. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317(1986). All evidence should be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Perini Corp. v. Perini Constr. Inc., 915 F.2d 121, 123-24 (4th Cir. 1990).

III. Habeas Corpus

Because the Petitioner filed his petition after the effective date of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ('AEDPA"), review of his claims is governed by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320 (1997); Breard v. Pruett, 134 F.3d 615 (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 ...

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