United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
Randall S. Tyler, #294029, Petitioner,
Warden, Perry Correctional Institution, Respondent.
L. Wooten, Chief United States District Judge.
Randall S. Tyler, proceeding pro se, filed this
petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 on January 30,
2017. ECF No. 1. On June 5, 2017, Respondent filed a Motion
for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 15. Subsequently, Petitioner
filed a response in opposition to summary judgment, ECF No.
45, to which Respondent replied, ECF No. 46. This matter now
comes before this Court for review of the Report and
Recommendation (“the Report”) filed on January
30, 2018, by United States Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon
Baker, to whom this case was previously assigned pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule
73.02(B)(2)(c), (D.S.C.). ECF No. 47. In the Report, the
Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court grant summary
judgment, dismiss the petition with prejudice, and deny a
certificate of appealability. Id. The Report also
recommends denying Petitioner's request for an
evidentiary hearing. Id. Thereafter, Petitioner
filed timely objections to the Report and a “Motion for
Evidentiary Hearing” on March 16, 2018. ECF Nos. 52,
53. This matter is now ripe for disposition.
Court is charged with conducting a de novo review of
any portion of the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation to which a specific objection is registered,
and may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
recommendations contained in that report. 28 U.S.C. §
636. In conducting its review, the Court applies the
The magistrate judge makes only a recommendation to the
Court, to which any party may file written objections . . . .
The Court is not bound by the recommendation of the
magistrate judge but, instead, retains responsibility for the
final determination. The Court is required to make a de
novo determination of those portions of the report or
specified findings or recommendation as to which an objection
is made. However, the Court is not required to review, under
a de novo or any other standard, the factual or
legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those
portions of the report and recommendation to which no
objections are addressed. While the level of scrutiny
entailed by the Court's review of the Report thus depends
on whether or not objections have been filed, in either case
the Court is free, after review, to accept, reject, or modify
any of the magistrate judge's findings or
Wallace v. Housing Auth. of the City of Columbia,
791 F.Supp. 137, 138 (D.S.C. 1992) (citations omitted).
light of the standard set forth in Wallace, the
Court has reviewed, de novo, the relevant case law,
the Report, the objections, and all relevant filings.
Petitioner has filed objections and a motion for evidentiary
hearing, which have been carefully considered. The Magistrate
Judge analyzes in significant detail Petitioner's failure
to state a legal or factual basis for the Court to grant
Petitioner relief in this case. This Court embraces the
Magistrate Judge's detailed analysis.
Petitioner's objections regarding his co-defendant's
statement should be overruled because allowing the testimony
was properly determined to be harmless error. See Wiggins
v. Boyette, 635 F.3d 116 (4th Cir. 2011). Further, trial
counsel's decision not to object to statements by witness
Hutto was a strategic decision employed for a valid reason.
See Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984);
McCaver v. Lee, 221 F.3d 583 (4th Cir. 2000);
Whitehead v. State, 417 S.E.2d 530 (S.C. 1992).
Lastly, Petitioner's motion for a hearing is denied, as
it would not change the analysis and conclusion reached by
the Magistrate Judge, fails to show that he would prevail on
the instant Petition, and the Court finds that Petitioner was
given a full and fair opportunity to present evidence and
that his claims were adjudicated on the merits in state
court. See Juniper v. Zook, 876 F.3d 551 (4th Cir.
2017) (“A petitioner who has diligently pursued his
habeas corpus claim in state court is entitled to an
evidentiary hearing in federal court, on facts not previously
developed in the state court proceedings, if the facts
alleged would entitle him to relief, and if he satisfies one
of the six factors enumerated by the Supreme Court in
Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293, 313, 83 S.Ct. 745, 9
L.Ed.2d 770 (1963).”).Thus, Petitioner's objections
should be overruled and his motion for a hearing should be
reasons stated by the Magistrate Judge and those stated
herein, IT IS ORDERED that the Report, ECF
No. 47, is ACCEPTED, and the
Petitioner's objections, ECF No. 52, are
OVERRULED. Further, as stated above and in
light of the dismissal of the Petition, Petitioner's
Motion for Evidentiary Hearing, ECF No. 53, is
DENIED. After careful consideration,
Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 15, is
hereby GRANTED, and the Petition, ECF No. 1,
is DISMISSED with prejudice.
Court has reviewed this petition in accordance with Rule 11
of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings. The Court
concludes that it is not appropriate to issue a certificate
of appealability as to the issues raised herein. Petitioner
is advised that he may seek a certificate from the Fourth
Circuit Court of Appeals under Rule 22 of the Federal Rules
of Appellate Procedure.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
 The Court notes that the ruling by the
state trial judge was pre-Crawford v. Washington,
541 U.S. 36 (2004), which clarified the constitutional
confrontation issue and the “reliability” and
“vagaries of the rules of evidence” analysis at
issue in Ohi ...