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Stevenson v. Myers

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

March 16, 2018

Troy Stevenson, Petitioner,
Ronaldo Myers, Respondent.



         This matter is before the Court on Respondent's second motion for summary judgment [Doc. 29] and Petitioner's motion to expedite consideration [Doc. 34]. Petitioner, represented by counsel, is a state prisoner who seeks relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2), D.S.C., this magistrate judge is authorized to review the petition and submit findings and recommendations to the District Court.

         Petitioner filed this Petition for writ of habeas corpus on January 1, 2017. [Doc. 1.] On July 31, 2017, the Honorable Henry M. Herlong denied Respondent's first motion for summary judgment and directed the parties to address in any filings related to a subsequently filed motion for summary judgment (a) which standard the Court should apply to the instant Petition; (b) whether Petitioner had exhausted state court remedies related to petitioning the Supreme Court of South Carolina to issue an extraordinary writ; and (c) whether the one-year statute of limitations applies to the instant Petition. [Doc. 26; see Doc. 24.] On September 5, 2017, Respondent filed a second motion for summary judgment. [Doc. 29.] Petitioner filed a response in opposition on September 19, 2017 [Doc. 30], and Respondent filed a reply on September 22, 2017 [Doc. 32]. On February 24, 2018, Petitioner filed a motion to expedite consideration, notifying the Court that his state criminal case has been noticed for trial during the week of April 9, 2018. [Doc. 34.] Respondent filed a response on March 8, 2018, taking no position on the motion to expedite consideration. [Doc. 35.] Both motions are ripe for review.


         Petitioner is a pretrial detainee confined in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center following indictments from the Richland County grand jury. [Docs. 1 at 1; 10-1.] In February 2014, Petitioner was indicted for murder, kidnapping, second-degree burglary, and attempted armed robbery. [Doc. 10-1.] On June 15, 2015, represented by Aimee Zmroczek, Petitioner proceeded to a jury trial.[1] [Doc. 10-2.] On June 22, 2015, the jury began deliberations. [Id. at 1242.] Shortly after the jury began deliberations, the trial court halted the deliberations [id. at 1245] and, subsequently, granted a mistrial [id. at 1290].

         On September 10, 2015, Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the indictments on double jeopardy grounds. [See Doc. 10-5 at 1.] A hearing was held on October 12, 2015 [Doc. 10-4], and the trial court denied the motion on October 15, 2015 [Doc. 10-5].

         Petitioner filed a notice of appeal on October 16, 2015. [Doc. 10-6.] On December 10, 2015, Petitioner filed his initial brief [Doc. 10-7], and on March 10, 2016, the State filed its initial brief [Doc. 10-8]. On March 14, 2016, the State filed a motion to dismiss the appeal as interlocutory [Doc. 10-9], which the South Carolina Court of Appeals granted on May 12, 2016 [Doc. 10-10].

         Petitioner filed this Petition for writ of habeas corpus on January 1, 2017. [Doc. 1.]

         Petitioner raises the following ground for relief:

The rights guaranteed to the Petitioner under The United States Constitution outlined in the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause and Article I, Section 12 of the South Carolina Constitution which closely tracks the language of the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause: “No person shall be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or liberty . . . .”. The trial judge abused his discretion with his decision to grant the state's motion for mistrial, over the objection of the defendant, because it was not supported by manifest necessity. Further in between the first and second trial, the trial court erred in denying a motion by Petitioner to dismiss the charges on grounds of double jeopardy, and the Court of Appeals of South Carolina dismissed Petitioner's appeal without ruling on its merits. Petitioner should be enjoined from the imminent second trial pending disposition of his habeas petition.

[Doc. 1 at 3-4.]


         Summary Judgment Standard

         Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states, as to a party who has moved for summary judgment:

The court shall grant summary judgment 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). A fact is “material” if proof of its existence or non-existence would affect disposition of the case under applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). An issue of material fact is “genuine” if the evidence offered is such that a reasonable jury might return a verdict for the non-movant. Id. at 257. When determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ambiguities against the movant and in favor of the non-moving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962).

         The party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of demonstrating to the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the movant has made this threshold demonstration, the non-moving party, to survive the motion for summary judgment, may not rest on the allegations averred in his pleadings. Id. at 324. Rather, the non-moving party must demonstrate specific, material facts exist that give rise to a genuine issue. Id. Under this standard, the existence of a mere scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's position is insufficient to withstand the summary judgment motion. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. Likewise, conclusory allegations or denials, without more, are insufficient to preclude granting the summary judgment motion. Ross v. Commc'ns Satellite Corp., 759 F.2d 355, 365 (4th Cir. 1985), overruled on other grounds, 490 U.S. 228 (1989). “Only disputes over facts that might ...

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