Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Middleton v. Warden, Lee Correctional Institution

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

June 28, 2016

George T. Middleton, Petitioner,
v.
Warden, Lee Correctional Institution, Respondent.

          George T Middleton, Petitioner, Pro Se.

          Warden, Lee Correctional Institution, Respondent, represented by Caroline M. Scrantom, S.C. Attorney General's Office & Donald John Zelenka, S.C. Attorney General's Office.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          PAIGE J. GOSSETT, Magistrate Judge.

         Petitioner George T. Middleton, 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. 10.) Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Middleton 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. 11.) Middleton filed a response in opposition to the respondent's motion. (ECF No. 25.) Having carefully considered the parties' submissions and the record in this case, the court concludes that the respondent's motion for summary judgment should be granted and Middleton's Petition denied.

         BACKGROUND

         Middleton was indicted in September 2008 in Lexington County for distribution of crack cocaine (3rd or subsequent offense) (2008-GS-32-2898). (App. at 502-03, ECF No. 10-3 at 5.) Middleton was represented by Wayne Floyd, Esquire, and on May 28, 2009 was tried by a jury and found guilty as charged.[1] (App. at 424-25, ECF No. 10-2 at 175-76.) The circuit court sentenced Middleton to twenty-one years' imprisonment and a fine of $50, 000. (App. at 436, ECF No. 10-2 at 187.)

         Middleton timely appealed and was represented by Benjamin Stitley, Esquire, who filed a brief on Middleton's behalf that raised the following issues:

I. Did the Trial Court err when it allowed a tainted and potentially partial jury panel be used in the Appellant's trial?
II. Did the Trial Court err when it failed to grant the Appellant's motion for mistrial when the State's witness deliberately stated that the Appellant had a prior "booking photo?"

(ECF No. 10-6.) On July 21, 2011, the South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed Middleton's conviction and sentence. (State v. Middleton, Op. No. 2011-UP-373 (S.C. Ct. App. July 21, 2011), ECF No. 10-8.) The remittitur was issued on August 11, 2011. (ECF No. 10-9.)

         Middleton filed a pro se application for post-conviction relief ("PCR") on March 21, 2012 in which he raised the following allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel: (1) counsel failed to bring forth issues on seized items; (2) counsel failed to ask for a continuance to appeal the issue of the tainted jury panel; and (3) counsel failed to explain a plea offer or the consequences of a not guilty plea. (See Middleton v. State of South Carolina, 2012-CP-32-1282; App. at 439-47, ECF No. 10-2 at 190-98.) Middleton filed an amended application in which he additionally alleged that "counsel was inaffective when he failed to object to the states presentation and proffered a statement regarding the use of cameras in his drive way stating that such cameras situated proves he is a drug dealer." (App. at 448-57, ECF No. 10-2 at 199-208) (errors in original). Middleton again amended his application on August 21, 2013. (App. at 458-61, ECF No. 10-2 at 209-12.) The State filed a return. (App. at 462-65, ECF No. 10-2 at 213-16.) On January 21, 2014, the PCR court held an evidentiary hearing at which Middleton appeared and testified and was represented by Charles Brooks, Esquire. By order filed March 13, 2014 the PCR court denied and dismissed with prejudice Middleton's PCR application. (App. at 493-501, ECF No. 10-2 at 244-521, ECF No. 10-3 at 3.)

         On appeal, Middleton was represented by Tiffany Butler, Esquire, with the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, who filed a petition for a writ of certiorari that presented the following issue:

Whether trial counsel erred in failing to make a motion to exclude and to object to evidence of the video surveillance system located in Petitioner's residence because this evidence invited a verdict on the improper basis that Petitioner was a dangerous drug dealer?

(ECF No. 10-11.) On April 8, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued an order denying Middleton's petition for a writ of certiorari. (ECF No. 10-13.) The remittitur was issued on April 24, 2015. (ECF No. 10-14.) This action followed.

         FEDERAL HABEAS ISSUES

         Middleton's federal Petition for a writ of habeas corpus raises the following issues, quoted verbatim:

Ground One: The state court created a manafest injustice when it proceeded foward with balance ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.