United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division
F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge.
Cortez Carson (“Petitioner” or
“Carson”), a prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a
petition for writ of habeas corpus seeking relief under 28
U.S.C.§ 2254. Carson alleged that his constitutional
rights have been violated based on multiple instances of
ineffective assistance of counsel during his trial for
murder. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local
Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2), D.S.C., the case was referred to the
Respondent filed a motion for summary judgment on March 28,
2016. (ECF No. 12). Pursuant to Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), this Court
advised Petitioner of the summary judgment and dismissal
procedures and the possible consequences if he failed to
adequately respond to the Respondent's motion. (ECF No.
14). Petitioner filed a timely response on May 31, 2016. (ECF
No. 21). The Respondent filed a reply in opposition to
Petitioner's responses on June 10, 2016. (ECF No. 23).
Magistrate Judge assigned to this action prepared a
thorough Report and Recommendation (“Report”) and
opines that this Court should grant the Defendant's
motion for summary Judgment and dismiss the petition. (ECF
No. 24). 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.
Plaintiff was advised of his right to object to the Report,
which was entered on the docket on September 28, 2016.
Petitioner filed objections to the Report on November 14,
2016, (ECF No. 30), and Defendants filed a response on
December 1, 2016. (ECF No. 32). Thus, this matter is ripe for
the Court's review.
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 recommendation of the Magistrate Judge,
or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with
instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
However, a district court is only required to conduct a
de novo review of the specific portions of the
Magistrate Judge's Report to which an objection is made.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b);
Carniewski v. W. Virginia Bd. of Prob. & Parole,
974 F.2d 1330 (4th Cir. 1992). In the absence of specific
objections to portions of the Report of the Magistrate, 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).
his petition for writ of habeas corpus, Carson sets forth two
grounds for relief. Both grounds are based on an ineffective
assistance of counsel argument. The Report thoroughly
outlines the applicable legal standards and properly analyzes
the claims for relief before concluding that summary judgment
should be granted and the petition should be dismissed. (ECF
No. 24). Carson has submitted two specific objections to the
Report. (ECF No. 30). However, each objection is merely a
recitation of the two claims for relief and both fail to
elucidate any error with the Report.
first objection, Carson states that the Magistrate Judge
erred in dismissing his first claim for ineffective
assistance of counsel because “Trial counsels error in
failing to object to the accomplice liability charge
constituted deficient representation.” (ECF No 30 p.
2). This objection refers to Carson's argument that he
was deprived of his constitutional right to effective
assistance of counsel because his trial counsel failed to
object to a jury charge for accomplice liability. (ECF No. 24
p. 15). However, the Report correctly states that the South
Carolina state courts did not err in applying the legal
standard for ineffective assistance of counsel as set out in
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). The
record clearly indicates that Post Conviction Relief
(“PCR”) court addressed trial counsel's
performance and concluded that there was “no merit to
the claims that Counsel was ineffective for failing to object
to the jury charges . . . [and] there was no legal basis for
these objections or motions.” (ECF No. 24 p. 16).
Therefore, Cason's objection is without merit.
second objection, Carson alleges that “[l]istening to
what the defense counsel said at the PCR hearing show that
his decision to have me in a joint trial with a co-defendant
prejudiced me from the beginning of my trial.” (ECF No.
30 p. 3) (errors in original). This objection refers to
Carson's claim that his trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to move or show prejudice before trial concerning a
misjoinder of offenses and defendants for trial. (ECF No. 24
p. 20). Again, the Report clearly shows that the PCR court
correctly applied the standards set forth in
Strickland when it concluded that “Counsel
articulated valid strategic reasons for not making a motion
to sever the trials.” Id. Additionally, the
record shows that “Counsel reviewed materials with
[Carson] and discussed both trial strategy and possible
defenses.” Id. Therefore, Carson's second
objection is similarly without merit.
carefully reviewing the applicable laws, the record in this
case, as well as the Report, this court finds the Magistrate
Judge's recommendation fairly and accurately summarizes
the facts and applies the correct principles of law.
Accordingly, the Court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation
(ECF No. 24), GRANTS the Respondent's motion for summary
judgment (ECF No. 12), and denies Carson's petition.
because Petitioner has failed to make “a substantial
showing of the denial of a constitutional right, ” a
certificate of ...