United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division
ORDER AND OPINION
Quinton Inman (“Petitioner”) filed this pro
se Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254 alleging ineffective assistance of
counsel. (ECF No. 1). Petitioner is currently incarcerated at
the McCormick Correctional Institute within the South
Carolina Department of Corrections (“SCDC”). This
matter is before the court on Respondent’s Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 16).
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02,
the matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge
Shiva Hodges, for pre-trial handling. On March 22, 2016, the
Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation
(“Report”) recommending the court grant
Respondent’s Motion for Summary Judgment and deny the
Petition. (ECF No. 22). This review considers
Petitioner’s Objection to the Report and Recommendation
(“Objections”), filed April 21, 2016. (ECF No.
RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
court concludes upon its own careful review of the record
that the factual and procedural summation in the Magistrate
Judge’s Report is accurate, and the court adopts this
summary as its own. (See ECF No. 32). The court will
only recite herein facts pertinent to the analysis of
August 2006, the Marion County Grand Jury issued an
indictment charging Petitioner with murder. (ECF No. 22 at
3.) A jury trial was held on August 4-6, 2008, before the
Honorable Thomas A. Russo. (Id.) The jury found
Petitioner guilty as charged, and Judge Russo sentenced
Petitioner to life without the possibility of parole.
(Id.) Petitioner, represented by appellate counsel,
filed a direct appeal of his conviction and sentence in the
South Carolina Court of Appeals raising only one issue:
whether the trial judge committed reversible error by failing
to instruct the jury on the law of accessory after the fact.
(Id. at 4.) On October 21, 2010, the Court of
Appeals dismissed Petitioner’s appeal.
on June 17, 2011, Petitioner filed an Application for
Post-Conviction Relief (“PCR”), which was
dismissed on March 7, 2014, following an evidentiary hearing.
(Id.) Petitioner did not file a motion to alter or
amend. Petitioner, through counsel, timely filed a petition
for writ of certiorari raising the following issue: whether
trial counsel’s failure to introduce a recorded
statement that would have impeached the State’s star
witness constituted ineffective assistance of counsel.
(Id.) On May 20, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme
Court denied the petition. (Id. at 5).
filed the instant habeas Petition on June 8, 2015, alleging
four grounds for relief: (1) ineffective assistance of
counsel for failure to conduct a thorough background
investigation on Petitioner which might have recognized
mental health issues that would have helped mitigate the
sentence; (2) ineffective assistance of counsel for failure
to play the recorded statement by the State’s star
witness which could have been used to impeach his trial
testimony; (3) ineffective assistance of counsel for failure
to object to photographic evidence; and (4) ineffective
assistance of counsel for failure to object to DNA evidence
and the autopsy report. (Id.) On October 19, 2015,
Respondent filed a Motion for Summary Judgment along with a
Return and Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Summary
Judgment. (ECF Nos. 15, 16.) On October 19, 2015, the court
entered an order pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison,
528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising Plaintiff of the
summary judgment procedures and the time period for filing a
response. (ECF No. 17.) On November 30, 2015, the court
entered an order directing Petitioner to file a response by
December 14, 2015, if he did not want the case dismissed for
failure to prosecute. (ECF No. 19.) Subsequently, Petitioner
filed a response in opposition on December 14, 2015. (ECF No.
March 22, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued the Report
recommending the court grant Respondent’s Motion and
dismiss the Petition. (ECF No. 22.) On each ground, the
Magistrate Judge determined that Petitioner could not
demonstrate that the PCR court reached an unreasonable
factual determination given the evidence and record before
LEGAL STANDARD AND ANALYSIS
Magistrate Judge’s Report is made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the
District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge makes only a
recommendation to this court. The recommendation has no
presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a final
determination remains with this court. See Matthews v.
Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). This court is
charged with making a de novo determination of those
portions of the Report to which specific objections are made,
and the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in
part, the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation, or
recommit the matter with instructions. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 636 (b)(1).
to a Report and Recommendation must specifically identify
portions of the Report and the basis for those objections.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). “[I]n the absence of a timely filed
objection, a district court need not conduct a de
novo review, but instead 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 & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 316
(4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory
committee’s note). Failure to timely file specific
written objections to a Report will result in a waiver of the
right to appeal from an Order from the court based upon the
Report. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Thomas v. Arn,
474 U.S. 140, 155 (1985); Wright v. Collins, 766
F.2d 841 (4th Cir. 1985); United States v. Schronce,
727 F.2d 91, 94 (4th Cir. 1984). If the petitioner fails to
properly object because the objections lack the requisite
specificity, then de novo review by the court is not
Petitioner is a pro se litigant, the court is
required to liberally construe his arguments. Gordon v.
Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). The court
addresses those arguments that, under the mandated liberal
construction, it has reasonably found to state a claim.
Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir.
Petitioner filed Objections to the Magistrate Judge’s
Report, the Objections were not timely. Petitioner was
required to file any objections to the Report by April 8,
2016. (See ECF No. 22 at 24.) Petitioner’s
Objections were not filed until April 19, 2016, when they
were received in the mailroom of McCormick Correctional
Institute. (ECF No. 25-1.) There is no record of Petitioner
requesting or being granted an extension, which would permit
a late filing. Further, even if Petitioner’s Objections
were timely, Petitioner’s Objections still fail to
outline specific errors in the Report to prompt this court to
conduct a de novo review. Petitioner’s
Objections largely consist of detailed explanations of his
perception of the evidence in this case along with summaries
of relevant case law. Accordingly, this court has conducted a
review of the Report, and does not find clear error.