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Colter v. Administrator of Barnwell County Detention Center

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

July 11, 2016

David Colter, Jr., Petitioner,
v.
Administrator of Barnwell County Detention Center, Respondent.

          David Colter, Jr, Petitioner, Pro Se.

          Administrator of Barnwell County Detention Center, Respondent, represented by James Anthony Mabry, S.C. Attorney General's Office & Donald John Zelenka, S.C. Attorney General's Office.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          MARY GORDON BAKER, Magistrate Judge.

         The Petitioner, a state prisoner, seeks habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. This matter is before the Court on the Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Dkt. No. 20; see also Dkt. No. 21), and Petitioner's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Dkt. No. 24).

         Pursuant to the provisions of Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1)(B), and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c), D.S.C., this magistrate judge is authorized to review the instant petition for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court.

         Petitioner brought the instant habeas action in May of 2015. ( See Dkt. No. 1.) On September 25, 2015, Respondent filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. No. 20; see also Dkt. No. 21.) Petitioner filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on or about November 5, 2015. (Dkt. No. 24.)

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         At the time he filed his petition, Petitioner was confined at the Barnwell County Detention Center of the South Carolina Department of Corrections ("SCDC"). In October of 2008, the Orangeburg County Grand Jury indicted Petitioner for felony driving under the influence (death). ( See R. at 71-72.) Petitioner was represented by C. Bradley Hutto, Esquire. ( See R. at 1.) Petitioner pled guilty before the Honorable Edgar Dickson on August 6, 2009. (R. at 1-14.) Judge Dickson sentenced Petitioner to eight years of incarceration. (R. at 12.)

         Petitioner did not file a direct appeal.

         On December 16, 2009, Petitioner filed an application for post-conviction relief ("PCR"). ( See R. at 15-23.) Petitioner raised the following grounds for relief in his application:

(a) Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
(b) Bias By Trial Judge
(c) Denial of Preliminary Hearing

(R. at 17.) In support of those claims, Petitioner argued as follows:

         Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

The Applicant alleges that Counsel (Hutto) was ineffective which is a violation of the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, Amendment VI, effective assistance of counsel.
The Applicant alleges Counsel failed to properly investigate the case lodged against Applicant. See Wiggins v. Smith, 123 S.Ct. 2527 (2003).
The Applicant alleges counsel failed to investigate and challenge the State's charge of Felony Driving Under The Influence against the Applicant. The Applicant alleges that he was not issued a citation in regards to a cause of the accident in which he was charged with Felony Driving Under The Influence.
The Applicant alleges he did not receive his "Brady", Rule 5, Motion For Discovery, which is a violation of his United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, Amendment VI, right to be confronted with the evidence and witnesses against him.
The Applicant alleges his guilty plea resulted from ineffective assistance of counsel. See Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52 (1985).

         Bias By Trial Judge

The Applicant alleges that the Sentencing Judge worked in the same law firm, and at the same time as Applicant's Counsel, which, is a conflict of interest, and possibly bias against sentencing Judge, depending on the relationship between Sentencing Judge and Applicant's Attorney, as well as the reason the Sentencing Judge left the law firm. The Applicant alleges bias by the Judge. See Liteky v. U.S., 510 U.S. 540 (1994); Arizona v. Fulminate, 499 U.S. 279 (1991).

         Denial of Preliminary Hearing

The Applicant alleges he was denied his right to a Preliminary Hearing. In State v. Brown (S.C. 1902) 62 S.C. 374, 40 S.E.776, it states in part: Magistrates are: required to hold a preliminary investigation on the issue of a warrant charging a crime at the demand of the defendant.

(R. at 22-23.)

         On December 1, 2011, an evidentiary hearing was held before the Honorable Diane S. Goodstein. (R. at 29-62.) Petitioner was present and represented by Andrew J. Brown, Esquire. ( See R. at 29.) In an order dated June 17, 2013, and filed in September 2013, Judge Goodstein denied the application for post-conviction relief and dismissed the petition. (R. at 63-70.)

         Petitioner, through Laura M. Caudy, Appellate Defender with the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, filed a Johnson [1] Petition for Writ of Certiorari on September 10, 2014. ( See Dkt. No. 21-2.) Through counsel, Petitioner raised the following issue:

Whether Petitioner's guilty plea was knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made where plea counsel failed to properly investigate the case and discuss with Petitioner the evidence plea counsel had received from the state including the MAIT report, the autopsy report, and the results of Petitioner's blood-alcohol content, and where Petitioner testified ...

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