United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
Howe Hendricks United States District Judge
8, 2015, Petitioner Keith Renard Bradley
(“Bradley” or “Petitioner”),
proceeding pro se, filed the instant petition for a
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. On
October 27, 2015, Respondent Warden Leroy Cartledge
(“Cartledge” or “Respondent”) filed a
motion for summary judgment (ECF Nos. 18; 19). Bradley filed
a motion to amend (ECF No. 22) on November 9, 2015, which the
Court granted on December 30, 2015 (ECF No. 27). Respondent
filed a supplemental return and memorandum in support of
summary judgment on January 29, 2016 (ECF No. 30). Bradley
filed his response in opposition on February 25, 2016 (ECF
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil
Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), the matter was referred to a
United States Magistrate Judge for initial review. On July
19, 2016, Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon Baker issued a Report
and Recommendation (“Report”) outlining the
issues and recommending that the Court grant Respondent's
motion for summary judgment. Bradley filed written objections
to the Report on September 9, 2016, to which Respondent
replied on September 26, 2016; the matter is ripe for review.
was indicted in Charleston County in August 2006 for murder.
Petitioner, who was represented by Beattie Butler, Esquire,
and Cody Grabe, Esquire, proceeded to a jury trial before the
Honorable Benjamin H. Culbertson on January 14-16, 2008. On
January 16, 2008, the jury found Petitioner guilty of murder
and not guilty of an accompanying kidnaping charge. Judge
Culbertson sentenced Petitioner to life in prison.
March 3, 2009, appellate counsel filed an Anders
brief and a petition to be relieved as counsel. Petitioner
filed a pro se brief on April 6, 2009. The South
Carolina Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal and granted
counsel's request to withdraw. The matter was remitted to
the lower court on February 8, 2010.
February 25, 2010, Petitioner filed an application for
post-conviction relief (“PCR”) raising a number
of issues related to the putative ineffective assistance of
counsel. In September 2011, Petitioner filed an amended
application raising additional claims of ineffective
assistance of counsel. An evidentiary hearing was held on
September 15, 2011 and the record was left open until
November 16, 2011, whereupon a subsequent hearing took place.
By written order filed January 19, 2012, the PCR court denied
appealed the PCR court's denial of relief, but the South
Carolina Supreme Court denied Petitioner's petition for a
writ of certiorari on July 23, 2014; the matter was remitted
to the lower court on August 8, 2014.
next filed the instant § 2254 petition, raising the
following grounds for review:
Ground One(A): The trial judge committed
reversible error allowing into evidence an ambiguous
statement appellant made at the time of his arrest, since its
probative value was substantially outweighed by the danger of
unfair prejudice, so that it was inadmissible under Rule 403,
Ground One (B): The trial judge committed
reversible error allowing into evidence the commission of
another crime, due to the fact that the victim in the case
was a female “junky” which allowed the jury to
conclude Appellant was outside with the victim. This
constitutes a “prior bad act” which is not
admissible under Rule 404, SCRE.
Ground Two: Counsel's performance was
constitutionally deficient for failing to independently
investigate and locate a witness where the missing witness
was the boyfriend of the State's first eyewitness and
observed at the scene of the crime by the State's second
eyewitness, were [sic] Counsel's trial strategy was based
upon third-party guilt, where Counsel could not meet the test
of third-party guilt without linking the boyfriend to
forensic evidence from the crime scene, and where the PCR
court repeatedly denied funding to petitioner for an
investigator and experts to locate and link the missing
witness to the crime scene.
Ground Three: The PCR court reversibly erred
by failing to grant PCR counsel's ex parte petition
seeking funds for an investigator and experts to locate the
boyfriend of the State's first eyewitness and compare his
DNA and prints to the forensic evidence from the crime scene,
where the boyfriend was observed at the scene of the crime by
the State's second eyewitness, were [sic] Counsel's
trial strategy was based upon third-party guilt, where
Counsel could not meet the test of third-party guilt without
linking the boyfriend to forensic evidence from the crime
scene, and where the PCR court repeatedly denied funding to
petitioner for an investigator and experts to locate and link
the missing witness to the crime scene.
Ground Four: Prosecutorial misconduct.
Petitioner argues that Cynthia Major's and Hans
Frasier's [sic] false/perjured testimony affected the
outcome of the jury findings. SEE: Gibson v. State,
514 S.E.2d 320. When the solicitor deliberately deceived the
court and jurors by presentation of known false
evidence/testimony . . . . to also go uncorrected. SEE:
Washington v. State, 478 S.E.2d 833 [sic] Which
denied Petitioner due process per the U.S. Const. 14 Amend.
SEE: Davis v. Alaska, 94 S.Ct. 1105; Chambers v.
Mississippi, 410 U.S. 284; Crane v. Kentucky,
476 U.S. 683. Here, Petitioner argue [sic] that the solicitor
deliberately compromised the integrity of the fact finding
and truth seeking process by introducing the testimony of
Major and Frasier [sic] testimony(ies) [sic].
(ECF No. 1-1 at 1, 3, 6, 11, 19.) In his amendment to his
petition, Petitioner added the following claim of ineffective
assistance of counsel (verbatim):
[T]rial counsel failed to object to the Prosecutorial
misconduct, for allowing perjured testimony of co-defendant
[sic] Cynthia Major and Hans Frazier. Which my/Petitioner
factual basis and clear and convincing evidence can be found
as pointed out under ground four. Thus, Petitioner re-argue.
(ECF No. 22 at 2.)
The Magistrate Judge's Report
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
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). However, 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)
(“[D]e novo review [is] unnecessary
in . . . situations when a party makes general and conclusory
objections that do not direct the court to a specific error
in the magistrate's proposed findings and
recommendation.”). In the absence of a specific
objection, the Court reviews the Magistrate's conclusions
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).
grant a motion for summary judgment, this Court must find
that “there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The Court is not to weigh
the evidence, but rather to determine if there is a genuine
issue of fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 249 (1986). “Facts are ‘material'
when they might affect the outcome of the case, and a
‘genuine issue' exists when the evidence would
allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” The News & Observer Publ'g Co. v.
Raleigh-Durham Airport Auth., 597 F.3d 570, 576 (4th
Cir. 2010) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). If no
material factual disputes remain, then summary judgment
should be granted against a party who fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to that party's case, and on which the party bears the
burden of proof. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317 (1986). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment,
“‘the nonmoving party's evidence is to be
believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in
that party's favor.'” The News &
Observer Publ'g Co., 597 F.3d at 576 (quoting
Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 552 (1999));
see also Perini Corp. v. Perini Constr., Inc., 915
F.2d 121, 123-24 (4th Cir. 1990).
Moore filed his petition after the effective date of the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”), review of his claims is governed by 28
U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended. Lindh v. Murphy,
521 U.S. 320 (1997); Breard v. Pruett, 134 F.3d 615
(4th Cir. 1998). Under the AEDPA, federal courts may not
grant habeas corpus relief unless the underlying state
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal
law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented