United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Robert D. Brown, Petitioner,
Warden McFadden, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER
Howe Hendricks United States District Judge
Robert D. Brown, (“Petitioner”), proceeding
pro se, filed this application for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (ECF No. 1.) In
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule
73.02(B)(2)(d), D.S.C., the action was referred to United
States Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers, III, for pretrial
handling and a Report and Recommendation
(“Report”). Magistrate Judge Rogers recommends
that Respondent’s Motion for Summary Judgment be
granted and Petitioner’s § 2254 petition be
dismissed. (ECF No. 45.) The Report sets forth in detail the
relevant facts and standards of law on this matter and the
Court incorporates them without recitation.
filed this action against Respondent alleging, inter
alia, ineffective assistance of counsel. On July 20,
2016, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report; and on August 17,
2016, Petitioner filed his Objections. (ECF No. 51.) Having
carefully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the
Magistrate Judge has accurately and adequately summarized the
disputed and undisputed facts relevant to this action. The
Court has reviewed the objections, but finds them to be
without merit. Therefore, it will enter judgment
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the district
court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
district court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261,
270-71 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de
novo determination of those portions of the Report to
which specific objection is made, and the court may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of
the Magistrate Judge, or recommit the matter with
instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Court need not
conduct a de novo review when a party makes only
“general and conclusory objections that do not direct
the court to a specific error in the magistrate’s
proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence
of a timely filed, specific objection, the Magistrate
Judge’s conclusions are reviewed only for clear error.
See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins.
Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).
reviewing these pleadings, the Court is mindful of
Petitioner’s pro se status. When dealing with
a pro se litigant, the Court is charged with liberal
construction of the pleadings. See, e.g., De’Lonta
v. Angelone, 330 F.3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003). The
requirement of a liberal construction does not mean, however,
that the Court can ignore a petitioner’s clear failure
to allege facts that set forth a cognizable claim, or that
the Court must assume the existence of a genuine issue of
material fact where none exists. See United States v.
Wilson, 699 F.3d 789, 797 (4th Cir. 2012).
Magistrate Judge found that Grounds One, Five, and Seven are
procedurally barred and the Court agrees. In his incredibly
thorough thirty-eight page Report, the Magistrate Judge found
that Petitioner had failed to show cause for his procedural
default because he could not show that the claims were
substantial and had not demonstrated prejudice. (ECF No. 45
at 13-20, 28-36.) See Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct.
1309, 1318-21 (2012); Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S.
722, 749-50 (1991); Strickland v. Washington, 466
U.S. 668, 687 (1984). The Court agrees with the Magistrate
Judge’s thoughtful and comprehensive discussion of
these claims and, therefore, is unable to review Grounds One,
Five, and Seven under § 2254.
Court further agrees with the Magistrate Judge’s
finding that Grounds Two, Three, Four, and Six fail on their
merits. These claims allege ineffective assistance of trial
counsel. (ECF No. 1 at 6-8.) The Magistrate Judge
thoroughly discussed the state court’s treatment of
these claims and correctly concluded that the ruling of the
state court was reasonable and that Petitioner failed to
carry his burden of establishing counsel was ineffective as
required by Strickland and its progeny. (ECF No. 45
at 20- 38.)
brief objections consist of nothing more than arguments that
the Magistrate Judge has already considered and rejected.
(ECF No. 51 at 1-4.) Thus, the Court is tasked only with
review of the Magistrate Judge’s conclusions for clear
error. Because the Court agrees with the cogent analysis by
the Magistrate Judge, it need not extensively discuss those
same issues for a second time here. Therefore, the Court will
overrule Petitioner’s objections.
thorough review of the Report, the record, and the applicable
law, the Court finds that Petitioner’s objections are
without merit and the Magistrate Judge’s conclusions
evince no clear error. Accordingly, for the reasons stated
above and by the Magistrate Judge, the Court overrules
Petitioner’s objections, adopts the Report, and
incorporates it herein. It is therefore ORDERED that