United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Orangeburg Division
Stacy W. Pringle #141320, Petitioner,
Joseph McFadden, Warden, Respondent.
F. ANDERSON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
W. Pringle (“Petitioner”), proceeding pro se,
filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254 against Joseph McFadden, Warden
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
is a South Carolina Department of Corrections
(“SCDC”) inmate incarcerated at the Lieber
Correctional Institution (“LCI”). ECF No. 1, p.
1. On April 10, 2015, Petitioner's petition for writ of
habeas corpus was filed. Id. On September 8, 2015,
Respondent made a motion for summary judgment and filed a
return with a memorandum of law in support. ECF Nos. 23-24.
Because Petitioner is proceeding pro se, the Magistrate Judge
entered an order pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison,
528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising him of the importance
of the motion and the need for him to file an adequate
response. ECF No. 25. On January 19, 2016, Petitioner timely
filed his response. ECF No. 38.
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil
Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c), D.S.C., the case was referred to the
Magistrate Judge for pretrial handling. On April 13,
2016, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation
(“Report”) wherein she recommends this Court
should grant Respondent's motion for summary judgment.
ECF No. 40, p. 2. 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 to the Magistrate
Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). In the absence of specific objections to the
Report of the Magistrate Judge, this Court is not required to
give an explanation for adopting the recommendation. See
Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). The
Report sets forth in detail the relevant facts and standards
of law on this matter, and this Court incorporates those
facts and standards without a recitation.
April 21, 2016, Respondent filed objections to the Report.
ECF No. 42. On May 9, 2016, Petitioner filed objections to
the Report and a reply to Respondent's objections. ECF
No. 49. Thus, this matter is ripe for this Court's
raises five grounds on which he claims that he is being held
in violation of the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States. ECF No. 1. The Magistrate Judge recommended
that all grounds-except Ground Two-were not procedurally
barred,  but all grounds warranted dismissal. ECF
No. 40. Respondent made three objections and Petitioner made
sixteen objections to the Report. ECF Nos. 42, 49. The
recommendations and objections will be discussed in
accordance with the ground it was made upon.
first ground is “[t]he trial court erred in refusing to
grant a mistrial where manifest necessity was clearly
demonstrated” by the emotional outburst of the
victim's mother at the beginning of the trial and the
reaction of a juror (“Ground One”). ECF No. 1, p.
5. Regarding Ground One, the Magistrate Judge recommended it
was not procedurally barred; however, she also recommended
Ground One did not raise a cognizable habeas ground or, if
deemed to raise a cognizable ground by the Court, Petitioner
failed to demonstrate error or prejudice caused by the denial
of a mistrial. ECF No. 40, p. 27. Therefore, the Magistrate
Judge recommended that the state court's decision was not
contrary to or involving an unreasonable application of
clearly established federal law so it should be dismissed.
made no objections to the Report regarding Ground One.
Petitioner objects to the Magistrate Judge's
recommendation that he did not raise a cognizable habeas
ground in his petition. ECF No. 49, p. 1 (Petitioner's
Objection 1). Petitioner states that phrasing the ground to
include specific Constitutional violations would cause
Respondent to object because it was not the same claim as
presented to the state court, and, furthermore, a pro se
litigant is not required to use “specific
nomenclature” when the ground clearly violates federal
is incorrect. While Ground One is not procedurally barred
because it was raised and ruled upon by the state court,
Petitioner cannot attempt to now couch this ground as
additionally violating a Constitutional right in order to
raise a cognizable federal habeas ground. In Duncan v.
Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365 (1995), a petitioner argued an
evidentiary error constituted a “miscarriage of
justice” on his direct appeal, but tried to couch this
error as a denial of due process under the United States
Constitution in his habeas petition. The Court reversed the
Ninth Circuit's decision to affirm the grant of the
petition and stated:
[E]xhaustion of state remedies requires that petitioners
“fairly presen[t]” federal claims to the state
courts in order to give the State the
“‘opportunity to pass upon and correct'
alleged violations of its prisoners' federal
rights.” . . . If state courts are to be given the
opportunity to correct alleged violations of prisoners'
federal rights, they must surely be alerted to the fact that
the prisoners are asserting claims under the United States
Constitution. If a habeas petitioner wishes to claim that an
evidentiary ruling at a state court trial denied him the due
process of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, he
must say so, not only in federal court, but in state court.
Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. at 365-66 (quoting
Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275 (1971)). Thus,
Petitioner cannot claim that Ground One additionally alleges
a Constitutional violation because he did not raise this
issue before the state court as required. ECF No. 24-4, pp.
4, 6-7. Therefore, Petitioner has not asserted a cognizable
habeas ground for Ground One and it is
second ground is “[t]he trial court erred in finding
Petitioner could be impeached by a ‘similar' prior
conviction outside the scope of prior bad act procedures,
without conducting a probative v. prejudicial effect
analysis, if Petitioner elected to testify”
(“Ground Two”). ECF No. 1, p. 6. Regarding Ground
Two, the Magistrate Judge recommended that it should be
procedurally barred because Petitioner did not testify and
Petitioner failed to show sufficient cause and prejudice, or
actual innocence to excuse the default so Ground Two should
be dismissed. ECF No. 40, p. 30.
made no objections to the Report regarding Ground Two.
Petitioner objects to the Report claiming that “trial
court” should have been “trial counsel, ”
post-conviction relief (“PCR”) counsel should
have corrected the error for him, and “the record fully
supports counsel's lack of a contemporaneous objection,
failure to stipulate, or proffer, which should excuse the
default.” ECF No. 49, p. 2 (Petitioner's Objection
2). Furthermore, Petitioner objects to the grant of summary
judgment because “genuine issues of material fact exist
to proceed further on the claim.” Id.
(Petitioner's Objection 4). Finally, Petitioner objects
to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that the
procedural default was not excused because Petitioner claims
he has shown actual innocence or “the clearly
established law” provides “an excuse from the
perceived fault of the misuse of language in phrasing the
claim.” Id. at 2-4 (Petitioner's
Objections 3 and 7).
Petitioner's proposed change from “trial
court” to “trial counsel” is not
appropriate because this modification would reform the entire