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Fields v. Cartledge

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

July 25, 2017

Anthony Fields, Petitioner,
v.
Warden Cartledge, Respondent.

          ORDER

          Timothy M. Cain United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the court on Respondent's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No.12). Petitioner Anthony Fields, a state inmate proceeding pro se, filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2), D.S.C., all pre-trial proceedings were referred to a magistrate judge. On April 24, 2017, Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett filed a Report and Recommendation (“Report”) recommending that Respondent's motion for summary judgment should be granted. (ECF No. 44). On May 10, 2017, Petitioner timely filed objections to the Report (ECF No. 46), and Respondent filed a response to Petitioner's objections on May 24, 2017 (ECF No. 47).

         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 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 with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). However, the court need not conduct a de novo review when a party makes only “general and conclusory objections that do not direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence of a timely filed, specific objection, the Magistrate Judge's conclusions are reviewed only for clear error. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).

         I. Background/Procedural History

         Petitioner is a state inmate currently housed in the Broad River Correctional Institution. In October 1989, Petitioner was indicted for second-degree burglary and larceny. On February 27, 1990, he pled guilty to the charges and was sentenced to concurrent terms of ten years' imprisonment, provided that upon ninety days of shock probation, the balance of his sentence would be suspended and he would be placed on probation for three years with other conditions. He did not appeal his 1990 convictions and sentences.

         In March 1993, Petitioner's probation was revoked when he was indicted for one count of first-degree burglary and two counts of second-degree burglary. On August 10, 1993, Petitioner pled guilty to those charges and was sentenced to an aggregate term of twenty years' imprisonment. Petitioner did not appeal his 1993 convictions and sentences.

         In August 2005, Petitioner was indicted for first degree burglary and petit larceny. In 2006, after a jury trial, he was found guilty as charged and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the burglary offense and thirty days imprisonment for the larceny offense. In 2007, Petitioner filed an application for post-conviction relief (“PCR”) challenging his 1990 convictions and sentences. Petitioner's application was dismissed as untimely on January 23, 2017.

         In 2013, Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in this court, challenging his 1993 and 2006 convictions and sentences. See C/A No. 0:13-02679-TMC (D.S.C. Oct. 1, 2013). The petition was dismissed and respondent was granted summary judgment on July 25, 2014.

         Petitioner then filed this habeas action challenging his 1990 convictions and sentences. Specifically, Petitioner raises the following grounds for relief, quoted verbatim:

Ground One: 6th Amendment Violations, Denial of Counsel.
Supporting Facts: Petitioner invoked his right to counsel, but no counsel represented petitioner, at no judicial proceedings for this case. And petitioner never waived his right to counsel. State has delayed adjudicating petitioner PCR petition for more than 8 years, and is still pending.
Ground Two: Denial of Direct Appeal of Conviction.
Supporting Facts: I was not consulted by counsel on my ability to appeal or means to appeal. Never waived right ...

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