United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Tyrone A. Ravenell, Petitioner,
Warden Cecilia Reynolds, Respondent.
PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Petitioner’s
objections to United States Magistrate Judge Kevin F.
McDonald’s report and recommendation (“R &
R”) (ECF Nos. 46 & 43) that the Court grant
Respondent’s summary judgment motion (ECF No. 24) and
dismiss Petitioner’s motion for relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. For the reasons provided herein, the Court
overrules the objections, grants the summary judgment motion,
and dismisses the case.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The R & R has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71
(1976). This Court must conduct a de novo review of any
portion of the R & R to which a timely, specific
objection is made, and the Court may accept, reject, or
modify the Magistrate Judge’s findings and
recommendations in whole or in part. Id.
Additionally, the Court may receive more evidence or recommit
the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions.
Id. A party’s failure to object is taken as
the party’s agreement with the Magistrate Judge’s
conclusions. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985).
Absent a timely, specific objection-or as to those portions
of the R & R to which no specific objection is made-this
Court “must ‘only satisfy itself that there is no
clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the
recommendation.’” Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee’s
Magistrate Judge recommends granting summary judgment on all
seven of Petitioner’s asserted grounds for relief.
Petitioner’s objections relate to the first six
First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grounds
first, fourth, fifth, and sixth grounds relate to trial
counsel’s purported failure to prepare adequately for
trial. Addressing those four grounds together, the Magistrate
Judge concluded Petitioner has not shown that the PCR
court’s analysis of those grounds involved either an
unreasonable application of clearly established federal law,
see § 2254(d)(1), or an unreasonable
determination of the facts, see § 2254(d)(2).
Among other things, the Magistrate Judge found ample support
for the PCR court’s finding that trial counsel was
credible. In his first objection, Petitioner contends the
record proves that trial counsel was not
credible.However, this Court agrees with the
Magistrate Judge that the record supports the PCR
court’s credibility determination and thus the PCR
court did not make an unreasonable factual decision. The
Court therefore overrules Petitioner’s objection.
Second and Third Grounds
second and third grounds, Petitioner faults trial counsel for
not securing a purported alibi witness for trial. The PCR
court denied relief on this theory, finding that Petitioner
had not established prejudice under Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 648 (1984), because he did not
provide evidence of the testimony that the purported alibi
witness would have offered at trial. Addressing the second
and third grounds together, the Magistrate Judge found the
PCR court’s determination well-supported in both the
law and the record.
argues his failure to produce the witness at the PCR hearing
should not excuse trial counsel’s failure to produce
the alibi witness at trial. That is a contention about what
the law of ineffective assistance claims should be.
The question before this Court, however, is whether PCR court
reasonably applied existing ineffective-assistance
law. Like the Magistrate Judge, this Court answers
that question in the affirmative. Accordingly, it overrules
foregoing reasons, the Court OVERRULES
Petitioner’s objections and ADOPTS the
R & R. It is ORDERED that
Respondent’s motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED and that Petitioner’s §
2254 application is DISMISSED with