United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
PATRICK MICHAEL DUFFY United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Victor Penny's
objections to United States Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon
Baker's report and recommendation (“R &
R”) (ECF Nos. 29 & 20.). Magistrate Judge Baker
recommends the Court grant Respondent Joseph McFadden's
motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 12), deny Penny's
motion for declaratory judgment (ECF No. 17), and dismiss
this federal habeas case. For the reasons stated herein, the
Court overrules Penny's objections and disposes of the
case in the manner Magistrate Judge Baker recommends.
& 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 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. 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
has moved for summary judgment, and Penny's
declaratory-judgment motion is in essence one for summary
judgment. To grant summary judgment, the Court must find
“there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The judge is not to weigh
the evidence, but rather must determine if there is a genuine
issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). All evidence should be viewed in
the light most favorable to the no-nmoving party. Perini
Corp. v. Perini Constr., Inc., 915 F.2d 121, 124 (4th
Cir. 1990). “[W]here the record taken as a whole could
not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving
party, disposition by summary judgment is appropriate.”
Teamsters Joint Council No. 83 v. Centra, Inc., 947
F.2d 115, 119 (4th Cir. 1991).
applying these standards, the Court is mindful that pro
se filings are held to a less stringent standard than
those drafted by attorneys, see Gordon v. Leeke, 574
F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and that federal district
courts are charged with liberally construing pro se
filings to allow the development of a potentially meritorious
case, see Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980).
spends the bulk of his objections either rehashing the
arguments he has previously presented and baldly disagreeing
with Magistrate Judge Baker's conclusions. The Court
summarily overrules those objections, as they are not proper.
See, e.g., Anderson v. Dobson, 627
F.Supp.2d 619, 623 (W.D. N.C. 2007) (“An
‘objection' that does nothing more than state a
disagreement with a magistrate's suggested resolution, or
simply summarizes what has been presented before, is not an
‘objection' as that term is used in this
context.” (citation and quotation marks omitted)). Two
objections, however, warrant some discussion. The Court
addresses them seriatim.
Penny argues Magistrate Judge Baker failed to address his
contention that he did not intelligently plead guilty. The
Court disagrees. A guilty plea is valid when the defendant
enters it voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently. See
Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 242-43 (1969). The
knowledge and intelligence requirements mean that the
defendant has “‘a full understanding of the
charges against him and the possible consequences of his
plea.'” Meyer v. Branker, 506 F.3d 358,
366 (4th Cir. 2007) (quoting Brady v. United States,
397 U.S. 742, 749 n.6 (1970)). After reciting these rules in
her R & R, Magistrate Judge Baker found that Penny's
“guilty plea colloquy indicates he had a full
understanding of the charges against him as well as the
consequences of his plea.” (R & R, ECF No. 20, at
13.) Thus, Magistrate Judge Baker did address Penny's
argument about the intelligence requirement. The Court agrees
with her assessment that the record shows Penny pled guilty
intelligently. Thus, the Court overrules Penny's
Penny asserts that during the PCR proceedings, both his plea
counsel and the state intentionally misrepresented facts to
the PCR court. The Court agrees with McFadden that those
assertions are not properly before this Court. See Fowler
v. McKie, No. 0:15-cv-1718-TMC-PJG, 2016 WL 2731974, at
*12 (D.S.C. Apr. 18, 2016), report and recommendation
adopted, 2016 WL 2647678 (D.S.C. May 10, 2016). Thus,
the Court overrules Penny's objection.
carefully reviewed the record and the remaining portions of
the R & R, the Court sees no clear errors Magistrate
Judge Baker's analysis. The Court therefore adopts the R
& R as its own opinion.
foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that Penny's
motion for declaratory judgment is DENIED, that
McFadden's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED, and