United States District Court, D. South Carolina
F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge.
David Ratliff (“Petitioner” or
“Ratliff”), a prisoner proceeding pro
se, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus seeking
relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Ratliff alleges that his
constitutional rights have been violated based on multiple
instances of ineffective assistance of counsel during his
state trial and appeal.
Respondent filed a motion for summary judgment on March 24,
2017. Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309
(4th Cir. 1975), this Court advised Petitioner of the summary
judgment and dismissal procedures and the possible
consequences if he failed to adequately respond to the
Respondent's motion. Petitioner filed a response on April
3, 2017. However, over the course of the next few months,
Petitioner filed multiple motions asking the Magistrate Judge
to extend his time to more fully respond. These motions were
granted. On June 9, 2017, Petitioner filed his response in
opposition to the Respondent's Motion for Summary
Judgment, to which the Respondent replied
Magistrate Judge assigned to this action prepared a
thorough Report and Recommendation (“Report”) and
opines that this Court should grant Respondent's Motion
for Summary Judgment and dismiss Ratliff's Petition. (ECF
No. 24). The Report sets forth, in detail, the relevant facts
and standards of law on this matter, and this Court
incorporates those facts and standards without a recitation.
the Magistrate Judge determined that all but one - the
Seventh Ground - of Petitioner's grounds for relief have
been procedurally bypassed. As to the Seventh Ground, the
Magistrate Judge determined that the state court's
dismissal of Petitioner's ineffective assistance of
counsel claim did not involve an unreasonable application of
was advised of his right to object to the Report, which was
entered on the docket on August 31, 2017. (ECF No. 44).
Petitioner filed objections to the Report on October 6, 2017,
(ECF No. 50), and Respondent filed a response to
Petitioner's objections on October 11, 2017. (ECF No.
52). Thus, this matter is ripe for the Court's review.
district court is to construe a pro se
petitioner's objections to a report and recommendation
broadly rather than in a narrow manner. See Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 48 (4th Cir. 1982) (holding that
the fact “that Orpiano was acting pro se should have
encouraged the district court to read his objections broadly
rather than in [a] narrow manner”). However, a district
court is not required to conduct de novo review “when a
party makes general and conclusory objections that do not
direct the court to a specific error in the magistrate's
proposed findings and recommendations.” Id. at
his petition for writ of habeas corpus, Ratliff attempts to
set forth seven grounds for relief. In each ground for relief,
Petitioner argues ineffective assistance of counsel. The
Magistrate Judge's Report thoroughly outlines the
applicable legal standards and properly analyzes the claims
for relief before concluding that summary judgment should be
granted and the petition should be dismissed. (ECF No. 44).
Magistrate Judge suggests that the first six grounds are
procedurally barred and not preserved for review. See,
e.g. Pickard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 278 (1971)
(“We simply hold that the substance of a Federal habeas
corpus claim must first be presented to het state
courts.”). The Magistrate Judge did, however, address
Petitioner's Ground Seven on the merits under
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 558 (1984). The
Magistrate Judge, agrees with the PCR court's finding
that the trial counsel did not err in failing to object to
the admission of the State's evidence on a different
Magistrate Judge opines that trial counsel's performance
was not deficient under Strickland. Ultimately, the
Magistrate Judge finds that the state courts' decisions
did not result “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” nor were they “based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
has submitted a fifteen-page handwritten response to the
Report. Despite his numerous arguments and assertions,
Petitioner fails to make any specific objections to the
Magistrate's Report. Most of Petitioner's assertions
are an attempt to reargue his § 2254 Petition (ECF No.
1) and his response to Respondent's Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 42). Petitioner does not specifically point
to any mistakes or error in the Report.
stated above, in absence of specific objections that direct
the court to a specific error in the magistrate's
proposed findings and recommendations, the Court is not
required to give an explanation for adopting the
recommendation of the Magistrate Judge. See Orpiano,
87 F.2d at 48. The Court has made a substantial effort to
read Petitioner's arguments broadly for objections as
advised by the Fourth Circuit in Orpiano. However,
none of the arguments can be construed ...