United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Claude Dunagin's
objections to United States Magistrate Judge Paige J.
Gossett's report and recommendation (“R &
R”) (ECF Nos. 27 & 24). The Magistrate Judge
recommends granting Respondent's summary judgment motion
(ECF No. 15) and denying both Petitioner's petition for
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (ECF No. 1) and his motion
for summary judgment (ECF No. 19). For the reasons stated
herein, the Court overrules Petitioner's objections,
adopts the R & R with one addition, and enters judgment
as the R & R recommends.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The R & R has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71
(1976). This Court must conduct a de novo review of any
portion of the R & R to which a timely, specific
objection is made, and the Court may accept, reject, or
modify the Magistrate Judge's findings and
recommendations in whole or in part. Id.
Additionally, the Court may receive more evidence or recommit
the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions.
Id. A party's failure to object is taken as the
party's agreement with the Magistrate Judge's
conclusions. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985).
Absent a timely, specific objection-or as to those portions
of the R & R to which no specific objection is made-this
Court “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
& Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's
Magistrate Judge recommends granting summary judgment on both
of Petitioner's asserted grounds for relief.
Petitioner's objections relate to both grounds.
The Trial Court's Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Ground One of his § 2254 petition, Petitioner argues the
trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over his
charge. The Magistrate Judge concluded this claim is not a
cognizable § 2254 claim because it is purely a matter of
state law. Petitioner objects to that conclusion by
suggesting there is a dispute as to the facts underlying his
claim. However, he has not identified any such dispute, and
this Court sees none. Rather, his claim is purely legal and,
as the Magistrate Judge correctly concluded, not cognizable
here. The Court therefore overrules his objection.
Ground One, Petitioner also asserts he was improperly denied
his right to a preliminary hearing, in violation of the Fifth
and Fourteenth Amendments. The R & R does not address
this claim. However, it does not appear that Petitioner
raised or pursued this claim in state court. As Petitioner
exhausted his state-court remedies without perfecting that
claim for this habeas proceeding, the Court denies that claim
on the basis of procedural default. See Breard v.
Pruett, 134 F.3d 615, 619 (4th Cir. 1998).
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
PCR proceedings, Petitioner argued his trial counsel was
ineffective in numerous respects, thereby violating his Sixth
Amendment right to counsel. The PCR court rejected all of
those ineffective-assistance claims. In Ground Two of his
§ 2254 petition, Petitioner argues that the PCR
court's determinations on four of his
ineffective-assistance claims were unreasonable and contrary
to clearly established Supreme Court decisions.
Magistrate Judge thoroughly analyzed all the claims in Ground
Two and found they all lack merit. Petitioner's
objections to those conclusions are merely restatements of
his claims. As those objections are not proper, the Court
overrules them. See, e.g., Anderson v. Dobson, 627
F.Supp.2d 619, 623 (W.D. N.C. 2007) (stating an objection
“that merely restates the arguments previously
presented” or “does nothing more than state a
disagreement with a magistrate's suggested
resolution” is not sufficient to trigger de novo review
(citation and quotation marks omitted)).
no clear error in any other portion of the R & R, it is
ORDERED that Petitioner's objections to the R & R are
OVERRULED and that the R & R is ADOPTED. It is further
ORDERED that Respondent's motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED, that Petitioner's motion for summary judgment is