United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
OPINION & ORDER
M. Herlong, Jr. Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the court for review of the Report and
Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Kevin F.
McDonald, made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)
and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South
Carolina. John Douglas Alexander
(“Alexander”) is a state prisoner seeking habeas
corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his
Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge McDonald
recommends granting Respondent's motion for summary
judgment and dismissing Alexander's motion for default
judgment and petition without an evidentiary hearing.
Factual and Procedural Background
is currently incarcerated at McCormick Correctional
Institution in the South Carolina Department of Corrections.
In November 2006, Alexander was indicted in South Carolina
state court on charges of assault and battery with intent to
kill (“ABWIK”) and possession of a firearm during
the commission of a violent crime. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J.
Ex. 1 (App'x 473-74), ECF No. 11-1.) After a jury trial,
Alexander was found guilty of both charges on June 14, 2007.
(Id. Ex. 1 (App'x 165), ECF No. 11-1.) Alexander
was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of
parole for ABWIK and five years' imprisonment for the
possession of a firearm. (Id. Ex. 1 (App'x 169),
ECF No. 11-1.)
18, 2007, Alexander appealed his conviction. (Id.
Ex. 2 (Notice of Appeal), ECF No. 11-2.) The South Carolina
Court of Appeals affirmed Alexander's conviction in an
opinion dated April 29, 2010. (Id. Ex. 1 (App'x
212), ECF No. 11-2.) On May 6, 2010, Alexander filed an
application for post-conviction relief (“PCR”)
raising the following grounds:
1. Ineffective assistance of trial counsel, in that:
a. Petitioner was denied his non-waivable Constitutional
right to be present at a “critical state” of his
criminal trial (Applicant's Grounds A, B);
b. Counsel conceded at trial that the evidence did not
support a charge on self-defense (Applicant's Ground D);
c. Counsel failed to present a meaningful or effective
defense at trial (Applicant's Ground I);
d. Counsel failed to adequately investigate, prepare for and
advise Petitioner of a possible defense based on insanity
(Applicant's Grounds H, K);
e. Petitioner was denied [the] right to peremptory challenge
and strike a juror who after being selected, sworn in and the
trial started, was discovered to have been associated with
the judge (Applicant's Ground M);
f. Counsel failed to object to or request a mistrial when the
phrase “malice and malice aforethought” was used
forty-two times during closing arguments and the jury charge
(Applicant's Ground G);
g. Counsel failed to object to the jury instructions
(Applicant's Grounds P, R, and S);
2. Trial judge's abuse of discretion, in that:
a. Trial judge conspired along with the Solicitor to commit
prosecutorial abuse by allowing the term “malice and
malice aforethought” forty-two times during the closing
argument and jury charge (Applicant's Ground N);
b. Jury instruction constituted prejudicial error
(Applicant's Ground P);
3. Violation of due process, in that:
a. Petitioner's Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth
Amendment rights were violated (Applicant's Ground E, F);
4. Prosecutorial misconduct, in that:
a. Prosecutor gave [a] false impression to Court and jury
which involved a corruption of the truth seeking function of
the trial process (Applicant's Ground J); and
b. Brady violation (Applicant's Grounds C, O).
(R&R 2-4, ECF No. 49 (citing Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex.
1 (App'x 215-45), ECF No. 11-1).) An evidentiary hearing
was held on December 8, 2011. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 1
(App'x 329), ECF No. 11-1.) On March 26, 2012, the PCR
court denied Alexander's PCR application. (Id.
Ex. 1 (App'x 463-72), ECF No. 11-1.) The same day,
Alexander filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment of
the order of dismissal, pursuant to Rule 59(e) of the South
Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. (Id. Ex. 3
(Pet'r Mot. Alter or Amend J.), ECF No. 11-3.) On April
27, 2012, Alexander filed an amended motion to alter or amend
the judgment. (Id. Ex. 4 (Pet'r Am. Mot. Alter
or Amend J.), ECF No. 11-4.)
about July 30, 2013, Alexander's case was transferred to
the South Carolina Court of Appeals, pursuant to Rule 243(1)
of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules. (Id.
Ex. 12 (Rule 243 Order), ECF No. 11-12.) The Court of Appeals
denied Alexander's petition for writ of certiorari in an
order dated May 21, 2015. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 13
(May 21, 2015 Order), ECF No. 11-13.) On June 8, 2015, the
Court of Appeals issued its remittitur on the PCR Appeal.
(Id. Ex. 15 (Jun. 8, 2015 Order), ECF No. 11-15.)
Alexander filed a motion to rescind the remitittur on June 8,
2015. (Id. Ex. 16 (Pet'r Mot. Rescind
Remittitur), ECF No. 11-16.) The Court of Appeals recalled
the remittitur in an order dated June 25, 2015. (Id.
Ex. 17 (Jun. 25, 2015 Order), ECF No. 11-17.) On August 20,
2015, the Court of Appeals denied Alexander' petition for
rehearing. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 20 (Aug. 20, 2015
Order), ECF No. 11-20.) The Supreme Court of South Carolina
dismissed Alexander's petition for writ of certiorari in
an order dated September 21, 2015. (Id. Ex. 21 (Sep.
21, 2015 Order), ECF No. 11-21.)
acting pro se, filed the instant § 2254 petition on
February 22, 2016,  alleging ineffective assistance of
counsel. (§ 2254 Pet., generally ECF No. 1.) On April
21, 2016, Alexander moved for default judgment.
(Pet'r Mot. Default J., ECF No. 15.) Respondent responded
on May 12, 2016. (Resp't Resp. Opp'n Mot. Default J.,
ECF No. 17.) On May 19, 2016,  Alexander replied. (Pet'r
Reply, ECF No. 24.)
April 25, 2016, Respondent moved for summary judgment.
(Resp't Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 12.) Alexander responded
on June 10, 2016. (Pet'r Resp. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J.,
ECF No. 25.) On June 28, 2016,  and July 15, 2016,  Alexander filed
supplements to his response in opposition to Respondent's
motion for summary judgment. (Pet'r Supp. Resp. Opp'n
Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 30; Pet'r 2d Supp. Resp. Opp'n
Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 35.) On January 13, 2017, Magistrate
Judge McDonald issued a Report and Recommendation
recommending granting Respondent's motion for summary
judgment and denying Alexander's petition and motion for
default judgment. (R&R, ECF No. 49.) After receiving no
objections and after a thorough review of the Report and
Recommendation, the court entered an order on February 1,
2017, adopting the Report and Recommendation. (Feb. 1, 2017
Order, ECF No. 51). On February 2, 2017,  Alexander filed
objections, which the court construed as a motion to alter or
amend the judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e). (Objs., ECF No.
54.) The court denied Alexander's motion to alter or
amend the judgment in an order dated February 8, 2016. On
February 7, 2017,  Alexander filed a motion to alter or amend
the judgment, which the court construed as a renewed motion
to alter or amend the judgment, or, in the alternative, a
motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b). (Mot.
Alter or Amend J., ECF No. 57.) The court granted
Alexander's motion to vacate the judgment in an order
dated February 14, 2017. (Feb. 14, 2017 Order, ECF No. 59.)
On February 23, 2017, Respondent replied to Alexander's
objections. (Resp't Reply Pet'r Objs., ECF No. 61.)
This matter is now ripe for consideration.
Discussion of the Law
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate only “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In deciding whether a genuine issue of
material fact exists, the evidence of the non-moving party is
to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn
in his favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, “[o]nly
disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of
summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or
unnecessary will not be counted.” Id. at 248.
litigant “cannot create a genuine issue of material
fact through mere speculation or the building of one
inference upon another.” Beale v. Hardy, 769
F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985). “[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.” Monahan v. Cty. of
Chesterfield, Va., 95 F.3d 1263, 1265 (4th Cir. 1996)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “[T]he
mere existence of some alleged factual dispute
between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly
supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is
that there be no genuine issue of material
fact.” Ballenger v. N.C. Agric. Extension
Serv., 815 F.2d 1001, 1005 (4th Cir. 1987) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted).
Standard of Review in a § 2254 Petition
addition to the standard that the court must employ in
considering motions for summary judgment, the court must also
consider the petition under the requirements set forth in 28
U.S.C. § 2254. Under § 2254(d),
[a]n application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in the State court proceedings
unless the adjudication of the claim - (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; or (2)
resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.
“a determination of a factual issue made by a State
court shall be presumed to be correct, ” the petitioner
has “the burden of rebutting the presumption of
correctness by clear and convincing evidence.” 28
U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). With respect to reviewing the state
court's application of federal law, “‘a
federal habeas court may grant the writ if the state court
identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the
Supreme] Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that
principle to the facts of the prisoner's
case.'” Humphries v. Ozmint, 397 F.3d 206,
216 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529
U.S. 362, 413 (2000)). Further, “an ‘unreasonable
application of federal law is different from an incorrect
application of federal law, ' because an incorrect
application of federal law is not, in all instances,
objectively unreasonable.” Id. (quoting
Williams, 529 U.S. at 410). “Thus, to grant [a
petitioner's] habeas petition, [the court] must conclude
that the state court's adjudication of his claims was not
only incorrect, but that it was objectively
unreasonable.” McHone v. Polk, 392 F.3d 691,
719 (4th Cir. 2004).
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
order to successfully challenge a conviction or sentence on
the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel, Alexander
must demonstrate that his counsel's performance fell
below an objective standard of reasonableness, and that he
was prejudiced by his counsel's deficient performance.
See Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687
(1984). With respect to the first prong, there is “a
strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls within
the wide range of reasonable professional assistance.”
Id. at 689. In order to prove prejudice, Alexander
must “show there is a reasonable probability that, but
for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the
proceeding would have been different. A reasonable
probability is a probability sufficient to undermine the
confidence in the outcome.” Id. at 694.
filed objections to the Report and Recommendation. Objections
to the Report and Recommendation must be specific. Failure to
file specific objections constitutes a waiver of a
party's right to further judicial review, including
appellate review, if the recommendation is accepted by the
district judge. See United States v. Schronce, 727
F.2d 91, 94 & n.4 (4th Cir. 1984). In the absence of
specific objections to the Report and Recommendation
of the magistrate judge, this court is not required to give
any explanation for adopting the recommendation. See
Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983).
review, the court finds that many of Alexander's
objections are non-specific, unrelated to the dispositive
portions of the magistrate judge's Report and
Recommendation, or merely restate his claims. However, the
court was able to glean several specific objections.
Alexander objects that the magistrate judge erred in (1)
denying his motion for default; (2) failing to consider
Alexander's due process and equal protection claims; (3)
refusing to consider Alexander's claims arising from
errors of state law; and (4) finding that trial counsel was
not constitutionally ineffective in failing to (a) object to
the trial court's refusal to give a self-defense jury
charge, (b) explain his charges and possible defenses, (c)
adequately counsel him on the consequences of his failure to
testify, (d) ensure that he was present at all critical
stages of his trial, (e) object to the solicitor's
failure to disclose material evidence, (f) object to the
state's harassment of a witness, (g) object to the
state's presentation of allegedly perjured testimony, (h)
effectively question witnesses, (i) object to the
solicitor's closing arguments, and (j) object to the
trial court's jury instructions. (Objs., generally, ECF
Alexander's Motion for Default Judgment
objects that the magistrate judge erred in recommending
denial of his motion for default judgment. (Id. at
37, ECF No. 54.) Alexander argues that the Respondent failed
to file a motion for an extension and its motion for summary
judgment was therefore untimely. (Id., ECF No. 54.)
order dated March 3, 2016, the magistrate judge ordered
Respondent to file its answer to Alexander's § 2254
petition or a responsive pleading within fifty days. (Mar. 3,
2016 Order 2, ECF No. 6.) Therefore, the Respondent's
deadline to file a response was April 25, 2016. Respondent
filed its motion for summary judgment on April 25, 2016.
(Resp't Resp. Opp'n Mot. Default J., ECF No. 17.)
Therefore, Respondent's motion was timely and the
magistrate judge did not err in recommending dismissal of
Alexander's motion for default judgment. As a result,
Alexander's objection is without merit.
Due Process and Equal Protection Claims
objects that the magistrate judge erred by construing his
§ 2254 petition to contain only ineffective assistance
of counsel claims, rather than claims for ineffective
assistance of counsel and violations of his right to due
process and equal protection. (Id., ECF No. 54.)
ground in Alexander's § 2254 petition argues that
his right to due process and equal protection was violated
through ineffective assistance of counsel. (E.g.,
§ 2254 Pet. 35, ECF No. 1-1 (“GROUND ONE: That by
and through ineffective assistance of counsel the Petitioner
was denied and deprived of due process and equal protection
of law under the fifth (5th), sixth (6th) and fourteenth
(14th) Amendments of the United States
Constitution.”).) Moreover, the magistrate judge
properly applied the applicable law for ineffective
assistance of counsel, which protects against violations of
the accused's rights to counsel and due process. See
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 684-85 (“The Constitution
guarantees a fair trial through the Due Process Clauses, but
it defines the basic elements of a fair trial largely through
the several provisions of the Sixth Amendment, including the
Counsel Clause . . . .”). Therefore, the magistrate
judge's Report and Recommendation fully analyzed all of
Alexander's claims for relief which were fairly
presented. As a result, Alexander's objection is without
Consideration of State Law Issues
objects that the magistrate judge erred by refusing to
consider Alexander's claims which allege errors of state
law. (Objs. 31-33, ECF No. 54.) Alexander argues that the
magistrate judge should have fully considered Alexander's
claims that the indictment did not provide adequate notice of
the charges he faced, and the trial court erred by refusing
to grant a self-defense jury charge. (Id., ECF No.
54.) Alexander argues these claims were proper because they
arise from clear errors of both state and federal law.
(Id. at 32, ECF No. 54 (citing United States v.
Goetz, 746 F.2d 705, 708 (11th Cir. 1984); State v.
Lee-Grigg, 649 S.E.2d 41, 49 (S.C. Ct. App. 2007).)
is not the province of a federal habeas court to reexamine
state-court determinations on state-law questions. In
conducting habeas review, a federal court is limited to
deciding whether a conviction violated the Constitution, laws
or treaties of the United States.” Estelle v.
McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68 (1991). Alexander
“cannot repackage . . . state law issue[s] into a
federal one by citing the due process clause.”
Missouri v. Beckwith, Civil Action No. 9:08-2878-SB,
2009 WL 3233521, at *5 (D.S.C. Sept. 29, 2009) (unpublished).
Errors in state court indictments are matters of state law
which are not subject to federal habeas review. Wright v.
Angelone, 151 F.3d 151, 157 (4th Cir. 1998). Similarly,
“questions of jury instructions are matters of state
law, not cognizable on federal review, unless a specific
constitutional issue is implicated that calls into question
the Due Process Clause.” Grandison v.
Corcoran, 78 F.Supp.2d 499, 507 (D. Md. 2000).
instant case, the South Carolina Court of Appeals reviewed
Alexander's pro se petition for writ of certiorari,
considered the record, and found no error meriting appeal.
(Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 13 (May 21, 2015 Order), ECF
No. 11-13.) As a result, this court is bound by the state
court's construction of South Carolina law, which is
presumed correct unless the petitioner rebuts that
presumption by clear and convincing evidence. §
2254(e)(1). Further, this court cannot grant relief based
upon the state court's factual findings unless they are
objectively unreasonable. § 2254(d)(2).
review, Alexander has failed to show that the due process
clause is implicated by the state court's decision, and
does not provide clear and convincing evidence that the state
court's findings were in error. Therefore, the magistrate
judge did not err in refusing to consider Alexander's
claims for relief based upon errors of state law. As a
result, Alexander's objection is without merit.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Failure to Effectively Raise Self-Defense Theory
objects that the magistrate judge erred in finding that the
PCR court's determination that trial counsel was not
ineffective for conceding Alexander's claim of
self-defense and failing to object to the trial court's
refusal to charge the jury on self-defense was not
unreasonable or contrary to existing law. (Objs. 4-9, ECF No.
54.) Alexander argues that, because trial counsel testified
during the PCR hearing that “[o]ut of an abundance of
caution I might have [objected to the court's refusal to
give a self-defense charge], ” the PCR court's
decision that trial counsel was not ineffective was an
unreasonable application of law. (Id. at 3-8, ECF
No. 54 (quoting Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 1 (App'x
420), ECF No. 11-1).) Further, Alexander argues that the PCR
court's decision that even had trial counsel objected,
Alexander was not entitled to a jury charge on self-defense,
is contrary to existing law. (Id. at 6-8, ECF No.
court specifically addressed Alexander's arguments and
found that trial counsel's decision not to pursue a
self-defense charge was based upon sound trial strategy and
that counsel was not ineffective. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J.
Ex. 1 (App'x 469-70), ECF No. 11-1.) Specifically, the
PCR court found:
Applicant . . . alleged that Counsel was ineffective when he
conceded that a self-defense jury charge was not proper.
Applicant testified that this was the only defense that was
ever discussed between himself and counsel, never the
This Court finds that the Applicant has failed to meet his
burden of proof. Counsel testified that although that was
discussed as a potential defense, when the Applicant's
sister testified, as the only eyewitness to the events, he
did not feel that the testimony presented supported a
self-defense charge. A defendant is entitled to a
self-defense charge where the evidence shows that (1) he was
without fault in bringing on the difficulty, (2) he actually
believed he was in imminent danger of losing his life or
sustaining serious bodily injury, (3) a reasonably prudent
person of ordinary firmness and courage would have
entertained the same belief, and (4) he had no other probable
means of avoiding the danger other than to act as he did.
State v. Sullivan, 345 S.C. 169, 547 S.E.2d 183
(2001); State v. [Addison], 338 S.C. 277, 525 S.E.2d
Counsel testified that the sister's testimony did not
support the fact that the victim was armed or that it was
necessary for the Applicant to shoot the victim to stop the
victim from hurting him or his sister. . . . Additionally,
Counsel testified that he thought that the sister would be a
strong witness for the defense who could help them reach the
threshold of the requirement of evidence of imminent danger
for bodily injury to the Applicant or sister. However,
Counsel testified that the sister did not testify as she had
indicated during previous conversations and he had to shift
strategy for closing and focus on the lack of intent.
This Court finds that the Applicant has failed to meet his
burden of proof as to this claim. The facts must support a
jury instruction for it to be proper. State v.
Crosby, 355 S.C. 47, 584 S.E.2d 110 (2003) . . . .
Furthermore, the facts presented at trial through testimony
did not support the charge of self-defense. Counsel is an
experienced trial attorney who has prepared and presented
many criminal cases which focused on self-defense and he is
well-aware of the elements that must be met for a jury charge
of self-defense to be considered. Even if this Court were to
find that Counsel was deficient for conceding to no
self-defense charge, prejudice cannot be established. It is
clear that the trial judge did not feel that the Applicant
had met the threshold for the charge and would not have
allowed the charge even if Counsel had not conceded the
(Id. Ex. 1 (App'x 469-70), ECF No. 11-1.)
Furthermore, the PCR court found trial counsel's
testimony credible. (Id. Ex. 1 (App'x 471C), ECF
alone, unsuccessful trial tactics neither constitute
prejudice nor definitively prove ineffective assistance of
counsel.” Bell v. Evatt, 72 F.3d 421, 429 (4th
Cir. 1995). “For a lawyer's trial performance to be
deficient, his errors must have been so serious that he was
not functioning as the counsel guaranteed the defendant by
the Sixth Amendment.” United States v. Roane,
378 F.3d 382, 404 (4th Cir. 2004) (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted). In order to successfully challenge
the PCR court's credibility determination, Alexander must
demonstrate a stark and clear error. Cagle v.
Branker, 520 F.3d 320, 324 (4th Cir. 2008).
“[F]ederal habeas courts [have] no license to
redetermine credibility of witnesses whose demeanor has been
observed by the state trial court, but not by them.”
Id. Mere disagreement with a state court's
credibility determination is not enough; rather, the federal
court must determine that the state court's determination
was wrong and “unreasonable in light of the evidence
presented.” Merzbacher v. Shearin, 706 F.3d
356, 367 (4th Cir. 2013).
instant case, Alexander has failed to demonstrate that the
PCR court erred in finding trial counsel credible. The record
supports the PCR court's conclusion. During the PCR
hearing, trial counsel testified that Alexander's case
“did not even get close to the threshold [of
self-defense] based on the testimony.” (Mem. Supp. Mot.
Summ. J. Ex. 1 (App'x 403), ECF No. 11-1.) Trial counsel
based his testimony on his experience with self-defense cases
and because there was no evidence of imminent threat.
(Id. Ex. 1 (App'x 403, 411, 419), ECF No. 11-1.)
Further, Alexander has failed to demonstrate that trial
counsel's decision not to pursue a defense of
self-defense was ineffective assistance. Therefore, the
magistrate judge did not err in finding that the PCR
court's decision was not contrary to or an unreasonable
application of existing law. As a result, Alexander's
objection is without merit.
Failure to Explain Charges and Possible Defenses
objects that the magistrate judge erred in finding that the
PCR court's determination that trial counsel was not
ineffective with respect to the claim that counsel failed to
explain the charges Alexander faced and the elements of
self-defense was not an unreasonable application of or
contrary to existing law. (Objs. 9-11, ECF No. 54.) Alexander
argues that trial counsel's explanation of the elements
of ABWIK and self-defense in “layman's terms”
failed to provide sufficient legal detail for Alexander to
understand the nature of the charges against him, assist in
his own defense, or knowingly agree to a course of action.
(Id. at 10-11, ECF No. 54.) As a result, Alexander
argues that the PCR court erred in finding credible trial
counsel's testimony that he believed Alexander understood
the elements of ABWIK and self-defense. (Id. at 11,
ECF No. 54.)
the PCR hearing, Alexander testified that trial counsel did
not explain the elements of ABWIK, assault and battery of a
high and aggravated nature (“ABHAN”),
self-defense, or defense of another. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ.
J. Ex. 1 (App'x 337), ECF No. 11-1.) However, the PCR
court did not find Alexander's testimony credible.
(Id. Ex. 1 (App'x 471C), ECF No. 11-1.) In
contrast, the PCR court found trial counsel's testimony
about how he prepares for trial and the manner in which he
explains the charges and defenses to his clients “very
credible.” (Id. Ex. 1 (App'x 467), ECF No.
11-1.) Furthermore, the PCR court found that trial counsel
was “fully prepared for trial” and was not
ineffective. (Id. Ex. 1 (App'x 467-68), ECF No.
in the record demonstrates that the PCR court made a stark
and clear error in regard to its credibility determinations.
Cagle, 520 F.3d at 324. Further, Alexander has
failed to demonstrate that trial counsel's explanations
were so inadequate as to result in ineffective assistance.
Therefore, the magistrate judge did not err in finding that
the PCR court's decision was not an unreasonable
application of or contrary to existing law. As a result,
Alexander's objection is without merit.
Failing to Counsel on Consequences of ...