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Cook v. Judges Who Issue In Case 16-1953

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

June 30, 2017

Anthony Cook, Plaintiff,
v.
The Judges Who Issue Order in 16-1953; Patricia S. Connor; Judge Ralph Anderson; Annie Doe; S.C.D.C General Counsel; Judge Harwell; Judge Rogers, III; Judge Cain; Judge Gossett; The United States and other 192 Member States of the U.N.; All States or Territories That Allow Same-Sex Marriage; All Defendants Referred to and Listed in 016-CV-2939-TMC-TER, Defendants.

          ORDER

          R. BRYAN HARWELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Anthony Cook (“Plaintiff”), currently incarcerated at Lieber Correctional Institution (“Leiber”), and proceeding pro se, brought this action, which has been construed by the Magistrate Judge as having been brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, because Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have violated his constitutional rights. This matter is before the Court after issuance of the Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin, filed on December 15, 2016. [ECF #22]. This matter was referred to the Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e). In the R&R, the Magistrate Judge recommends summary dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint. Plaintiff filed what has been construed as his objections to the R&R on January 17, 2017. [ECF #30]. Prior to the issuance of the R&R, Plaintiff also filed a Renewed Motion for Recusal. [ECF #13');">13]. Plaintiff has filed several documents entitled, “Affidavit of Facts Giving Judicial Notice”, as well. This matter is now before the Court for review.

         Background

         Plaintiff filed this action on October 6, 2016, along with two other individuals, Yahya Muquit and Lawrence L. Crawford. [ECF #1]. This voluminous Complaint appears, at best, to generally allege fraud and violations of due process against Plaintiff on the part of one or more Defendants. [ECF #1]. On October 6, 2016, the Court issued a Break-Out and Proper Form Order directing that this case be filed as separate actions for each named Plaintiff; accordingly, the only Plaintiff in this current lawsuit is Anthony Cook. Despite the Court's Order, Plaintiff has filed numerous documents purporting to be filed on behalf of all original Plaintiffs. As best this Court can deduce from the voluminous, at times unintelligible, and incoherent Complaint filed in this case, Plaintiff seeks to have a lawsuit wherein he sought habeas relief pursuant to § 2254, Civil Action Number 8:14-3555-RBH-JDA, be reinstated, or the decision in that case (summary judgment in favor of the Respondent) to be overturned. Plaintiff further seeks this Court to reinstate one or more other actions, including Civil Action Number 0:06-2459 (former Plaintiff Lawrence L. Crawford's case). Within his Complaint, Plaintiff appears to seek removal of the related state court cases, and an order disqualifying all judges in the United States District Court from hearing his case; instead, transferring this case and the above-cited related cases to New Jersey. Plaintiff also seeks relief in the form of an order directing that he be sent to federal prerelease camp. Generally, Plaintiff alleges fraud on the part of several judges in the District Court, including Judge Harwell and Judge Cain. He generally alleges his due process rights have been violated, and he seeks to challenge any law contrary to God's law that only heterosexuals have the right to marry. The Magistrate Judge concluded Plaintiff was attempting to raise these same allegations but found no legal basis to provide any of the requested relief.

         On November 14, 2016, Plaintiff filed a “Renewed” Motion for Recusal. [ECF #13');">13]. This Renewed Motion for Recusal alleges that Judge Austin and Judge Harwell must recuse themselves from this case based upon a prior mandamus filing, as well as other miscellaneous filings. [ECF #13');">13]. Further, Plaintiff alleges there is an unspecified jurisdictional issue with Judge Austin issuing the order to break out the original Plaintiffs' cases. [ECF #13');">13, p. 5]. Plaintiff further requests an injunction requiring the courts to provide him some unidentified copies of filings and to provide him a word processor to type his legal documents. [ECF #13');">13, p. 5');">p. 5]. Finally, Plaintiff requests a stay on two cases until the conclusion of this case. [ECF #13');">13, p. 6]. On December 15, 2016, Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin issued her Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that Plaintiff's complaint be summarily dismissed. [ECF #22]. Though voluminous in number of pages, the Magistrate Judge reviewed the filings and determined there was no arguable basis for any requested relief. Plaintiff filed his objections to this recommendation on January 17, 2017. This matter is now before the Court for review.

         Standards of Review

         I. Review of the Magistrate Judge's Report & Recommendation

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the 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 and recommendation 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 to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The right to de novo review may be waived by the failure to file timely objections. Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). The district court is obligated to conduct a de novo review of every portion of the Magistrate Judge's report to which objections have been filed. Id. However, the Court need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only “general and conclusory objections that do not direct the [C]ourt to a specific error in the [M]agistrate's proposed findings and recommendations.” Id. In the absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court reviews only for clear error, Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005), and the Court need not give any explanation for adopting the Magistrate Judge's recommendation. Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983).

         II. Review of Pro Se Litigant's Filing

         In determining whether a prisoner petition should be dismissed under § 1915(d), district courts should exercise discretion. Brown v. Briscoe, 998 F.2d 201, 203 (4th Cir. 1993). The district court should dismiss the case if it is satisfied that it is based on clearly baseless factual allegations or a indisputably meritless legal theory. Id. Pro se litigants, such as Plaintiff, are accorded liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard in review of their pleadings than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Even so, pro se pleadings remain subject to summary dismissal, and district courts are not required to rewrite a petition or complaint to include claims that have not been presented or construct Plaintiff's legal arguments on his behalf. See generally Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 113');">133 (10th Cir. 1999); Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993).

         Discussion

         I. Motion for Recusal

         The Magistrate Judge considered Plaintiff's “Renewed” Motion for Recusal filed November 14, 2016 [ECF #13');">13] and determined that Plaintiff did not provide, nor could she ascertain any discernible basis upon which recusal or disqualification would be appropriate as to either herself or Judge Harwell. Instead, Plaintiff continues to allege in his numerous filings that several judges have worked some unspecified fraud upon the court. 28 U.S.C. § 455 governs when a justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United Status must disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding. None of the stated grounds are present in this case, and Plaintiff does not otherwise allege or point to any appropriate ground for recusal. See generally McBeth v. Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A., 921 F.Supp. 1473, 1477 (D.S.C. April 12, 1996) (noting that the standard is “objective reasonableness” and is not to be construed with requiring recusal on spurious or loosely based charges of partiality). Accordingly, this Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that the Motion for Recusal filed November 14, 2016 should be denied. [ECF #27].

         II. Review of ...


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