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Muqit v. McFadden

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

September 6, 2016

Yahya Muqit, a/k/a Yahya Muquit, Petitioner,
v.
SCDC Warden Joseph McFadden, Respondent.

          ORDER

          R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge

         Petitioner Yahya Muqit, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, initiated this action by filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See ECF No. 1. The matter is now before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation (R & R) of United States Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin.[1] See R & R, ECF No. 114. The Magistrate Judge recommends granting Respondent's amended motion for summary judgment and denying Petitioner's § 2254 petition as untimely. R & R at 2, 25. Petitioner has filed objections to the R & R, and Respondent has filed a reply to the objections. See ECF Nos. 121 & 123.

         Background[2]

         A state jury found Petitioner and a codefendant guilty of two counts of armed robbery, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and two counts of pointing and presenting a firearm. See ECF No. 50-4 at 6-7. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to concurrent terms of thirty years' imprisonment for the armed robberies, consecutive terms of five years' imprisonment for the firearm possession convictions, and concurrent terms of five years' imprisonment for the pointing and presenting convictions. See ECF No. 50-4 at 19-21. Petitioner's convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal; his state application for post-conviction relief (PCR) was denied and dismissed with prejudice; and his petition for a writ of certiorari from the denial of his PCR application was denied. See ECF Nos. 50-10, 50-12, 50-13, & 50-15. Petitioner then filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See ECF No. 1.

         Previously, this Court issued an order that denied Respondent's original motion for summary judgment without prejudice and granted Respondent leave to refile an amended motion for summary judgment addressing whether the one-year statute of limitations in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) bars Petitioner's § 2254 petition and whether equitable tolling applies (as well as presenting the same arguments raised in the original motion for summary judgment).[3] See ECF No. 78. Thereafter, Respondent filed an amended answer raising a statute of limitations defense and an amended motion for summary judgment based on that defense, which is now before the Court for disposition following the Magistrate Judge's issuance of the R & R. See ECF Nos. 81 & 82.

         Legal Standards

         I. Review of the Magistrate Judge's R & R

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court. The Magistrate Judge's recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court must conduct a de novo review of those portions of the R & R to which specific objections are made, and it 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 must engage in a de novo review of every portion of the Magistrate Judge's report to which objections have been filed. Id. However, the Court need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only “general and conclusory objections that do not direct the [C]ourt to a specific error in the [M]agistrate [Judge]'s proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court reviews only for clear error, Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005), and the Court need not give any explanation for adopting the Magistrate Judge's recommendation. Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983).

         II. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate when no genuine issue of material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Reyazuddin v. Montgomery Cty., Md., 789 F.3d 407, 413 (4th Cir. 2015); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a) (“The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”). “A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record . . .; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The facts and inferences to be drawn from the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, Reyazuddin, 789 F.3d at 413, but the Court “cannot weigh the evidence or make credibility determinations.” Jacobs v. N.C. Admin. Office of the Courts, 780 F.3d 562, 569 (4th Cir. 2015).

         Discussion

         The Magistrate Judge recommends the Court grant Respondent's amended motion for summary judgment because Petitioner's § 2254 petition is untimely under the one-year statute of limitations in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d) and therefore must be denied. R & R at 2, 20-25. Liberally construing Petitioner's objections, [4] the Court has conducted a de novo review of the Magistrate Judge's finding and agrees Petitioner's § 2254 petition is untimely.

         I. Applicable Law: One-Year Statute of Limitations for Filing a ...


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