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.

Martucci v. Cartledge

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

September 12, 2016

Mark Anthony Martucci, Petitioner,
v.
Warden Leroy Cartledge, Respondent.

          ORDER AND OPINION

         Petitioner Mark Anthony Martucci (“Petitioner”) filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 alleging ten grounds for relief. (ECF No. 1.) Counsel for Petitioner later amended the Petition to clarify Petitioner's position. (ECF No. 13.) This matter is before the court on Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 23.)

         In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02, the matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Paige Gossett, for pre-trial handling. On April 20, 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. 38.) This review considers Petitioner's Objections to Report and Recommendation Granting Summary Judgment (“Objections”), filed May 12, 2016. (ECF No. 44.) For the reasons stated herein, this court ADOPTS the Report of the Magistrate Judge.

         I. RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The 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. 38). The court will only recite herein facts pertinent to the analysis of Petitioner's Objections.

         In December 2003, the Greenville County Grand Jury issued an indictment charging Petitioner with homicide by child abuse under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life. (ECF No. 38 at 1.) Petitioner was represented by counsel-Steven W. Sumner, Esquire, and Thomas J. Quinn, Esquire-and a jury trial was held from February 6-9, 2006. (Id.) Petitioner was tried in absentia, and the jury found Petitioner guilty as charged. (Id. at 2.) The circuit court sentenced Petitioner, who was absent, to life imprisonment. (Id.) Petitioner, represented by appellate counsel, timely appealed, and the South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence. (Id.) On October 7, 2009, the South Carolina Supreme Court denied Petitioner's petition for writ of certiorari. (Id.)

         Subsequently, on September 24, 2010, Petitioner filed a pro se application for post-conviction relief (“PCR”). (Id.) The PCR court held an evidentiary hearing at which Petitioner appeared and was represented by counsel. (Id.) Following the hearing, the PCR court denied and dismissed Petitioner's PCR application with prejudice. (Id.) The PCR court also denied Petitioner's subsequently filed motion to alter or amend on January 4, 2013. (Id.) Subsequently, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of certiorari, which was denied by the South Carolina Supreme Court on July 24, 2014. (Id. at 3.)

         Petitioner, through counsel, filed the instant habeas petition on May 5, 2015, alleging ten grounds for relief. (See ECF No. 1.) Petitioner's counsel later filed an amended version of the habeas petition on July 22, 2015, alleging eight grounds for relief. (ECF No. 13.) On October 2, 2015, Respondent filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and Return and Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF Nos. 23, 24.) After receiving an extension from the court (ECF No. 26), Petitioner filed a response in opposition on January 5, 2016. (ECF No. 29.)

         On April 20, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued the Report recommending the court grant Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 38.) The Magistrate Judge found that Petitioner's habeas petition was untimely because it had been filed over five months after the expiration of the statute of limitations. (Id. at 9.) Further, the Magistrate Judge concluded that Petitioner was not entitled to equitable tolling because although Petitioner alleged that his trial counsel may have hindered the filing of the initial PCR in circuit court by withholding Petitioner's files, Petitioner failed to allege how that initial hindrance prevented counsel from filing a timely habeas petition after the PCR appeal was denied. (Id. at 10.) Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge determined that Petitioner could not demonstrate that he had been diligently pursuing his rights to file a timely federal habeas petition. (Id.) Additionally, Petitioner raised a claim of actual innocence alleging that this court could still review the merits of his habeas petition despite the expiration of the statute of limitations. The Magistrate Judge determined that Petitioner's evidence in support of his claim of actual innocence failed to meet the standard set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States in Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 327 (1995). (ECF No. 38 at 14.) Thus, the Magistrate Judge found that the actual innocence exception would not be applicable such that it would overcome the court's finding that his petition was time-barred pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). (Id. at 17.)

         Petitioner timely filed his Objections on May 12, 2016. (ECF No. 44.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD AND ANALYSIS

         The 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).

         Objections 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 required.

         Petitioner filed Objections to the Magistrate Judge's conclusions regarding equitable tolling and the application of the actual innocence exception. As such, this court is required to conduct a de novo review of Petitioner's specific objections. Petitioner objected to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that he was not entitled to equitable tolling because he could not demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances prevented him from timely filing a federal habeas petition. Additionally, Petitioner objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that he cannot meet the actual innocence standard set forth in Schlup. The court now turns to its discussion of Petitioner's Objections.

         1. ...


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.