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Williams v. Cartledge

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

May 18, 2016

Chad Everette Williams, Petitioner,
v.
Warden Larry Cartledge, Respondent.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          PAIGE J. GOSSETT, Magistrate Judge.

         Petitioner Chad Everette Williams, a self-represented state prisoner, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. This matter comes before the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) (D.S.C.) for a Report and Recommendation on the respondent's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 18.) Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Williams was advised of the summary judgment and dismissal procedures and the possible consequences if he failed to respond adequately to the respondent's motion. (ECF No. 19.) Williams filed a response in opposition to the respondent's motion. (ECF No. 30.) Williams also filed two motions to stay his Petition (ECF Nos. 27 & 29) and a conditional motion to amend his Petition (ECF No. 31), to which the respondent filed opposition (ECF Nos. 28, 33, & 34). Having carefully considered the parties' submissions and the record in this case, the court concludes that Williams's motions to stay should be denied, his motion to amend should be terminated as moot, and the respondent's motion for summary judgment should be granted and William's Petition denied.

         BACKGROUND

         Williams was indicted in July 2007 in Aiken County for murder and burglary in the first degree. (App. at 405-06, 410-11, ECF No. 17-1 at 409-10, 414-15.) Williams was represented by David W. Miller, Esquire, and on October 20-22, 2008 was tried by a jury and found guilty as charged.[1] (App. at 362, ECF No. 17-1 at 366.) The circuit court sentenced Williams to life imprisonment for murder and twenty-five years' imprisonment for burglary, both sentences to be served concurrently. (App. at 373, ECF No. 17-1 at 377.)

         Williams timely appealed and was represented by Joseph L. Savitz, III, Esquire, Chief Appellate Defender of the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, who filed an Anders[2] brief on Williams's behalf that raised the following issue:

The trial judge committed reversible error by failing to instruct the jury on the law of accessory after the fact.

(ECF No. 17-4.) Williams filed a pro se response in which he raised the following issues:

1.) Accessory After the Fact[;]
2.) Third Party Guilt[.]

(ECF No. 17-9.) On November 12, 2010, the South Carolina Court of Appeals dismissed Williams's appeal. (State v. Williams, Op. No. 2010-UP-505 (S.C. Ct. App. Nov. 12, 2010), ECF No. 17-10.) The remittitur was issued on December 23, 2010. (ECF No. 17-11.)

         Williams filed a pro se application for post-conviction relief ("PCR") on April 1, 2011 in which he raised claims of ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct/Brady violation. (See Williams v. State of South Carolina, 11-CP-02-729; App. at 375-82, ECF No. 17-1 at 379-86.) The State filed a return. (App. at 421-25, ECF No. 17-1 at 425-29.) Williams, through counsel Brett H. Lancer, Esquire, filed an amended application on January 9, 2014 in which he raised the following issues:

(a) Ineffective assistance of Counsel - Counsel failed to object to the introduction of certain pieces of evidence that should have been objected to and therefore prejudiced the applicant.
(b) Ineffective assistance of Counsel - Counsel failed to object to the jury charge instructing that malice may be inferred from the use of a deadly weapon.
(c) Ineffective assistance of Counsel - Counsel failed to properly object to the introduction of the confession during the Jackson v. Denno hearing.
(d) Ineffective assistance of Counsel - Counsel was ineffective for advising applicant to confess to the crimes of Murder and Burglary as the confession was used to convict applicant at trial.
(e) Ineffective assistance of Counsel - Counsel failed to request the jury instruction of Accessory after the fact.
(f) Ineffective assistance of Counsel - Counsel failed to adequately prepare for trial and develop a trial strategy.
(g) Brady Violations.
(h) Ineffective assistance of Counsel - Counsel failed to object to testimony of state's witnesses and failed to effectively cross examine the state's witnesses.

(App. at 414-20, ECF No. 17-1 at 418-24.) On January 21, 2014, the PCR court held an evidentiary hearing at which Williams appeared and testified and continued to be represented by Brett H. Lancer, Esquire. By order filed April 14, 2014 the PCR court denied and dismissed with prejudice Williams's PCR application. (App. at 538-53, ECF No. 17-2 at 42-57.)

         On appeal, Williams was represented by Robert M. Pachak, Esquire, Appellate Defender with the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, who filed a Johnson[3] petition for a writ of certiorari that presented the following issue:

Whether trial counsel was ineffective in failing to object to a jury charge that malice may be inferred from the use of a deadly weapon?

(ECF No. 17-12.) Williams filed pro se responses to the Johnson petition in which he requested "a new P.C.R. hearing having the record corrected and all allegations properly preserved and ruled upon as to the Finding Facts and Conclusion of Law or have the P.C.R. court do a 59(e) motion for rulings and correction." (ECF No. 17-14 at 3.) On February 19, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued an order denying Williams's petition for a writ of certiorari. (ECF No. 17-15.) Williams filed a letter on March 2, 2015 that the South Carolina Supreme Court construed as a pro se petition for rehearing (ECF No. 17-16), and the court denied Williams's motion by Order issued April 8, 2015. (ECF No. 17-17.) The remittitur was issued on April 8, 2015. (ECF No. 17-18.) This action followed.

         FEDERAL HABEAS ISSUES

         Williams's federal Petition for a writ of habeas corpus raises the following issues:

Ground One: Ineffective Assistance of Trial Counsel in violation of the United States Const. 6th Amend.
Supporting Facts: Trial counsel failed to object to the introduction of certain pieces of evidence that should have been objected to and therefore prejudiced the applicant. Trial counsel was ineffective of advising applicant to confess to the crimes of Murder and Burglary as the confession was used to convict applicant at trial. Trial counsel failed to adequately prepare for trial and develop a trial strategy. Trial counsel ...

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