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Beaty v. Warden of Ridgeland Correctional Institution

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

August 22, 2018

Rion Beaty, #337153, Petitioner,
Warden of Ridgeland Correctional Institution, Respondent.



         Rion Beaty (“Petitioner”), an inmate incarcerated in Ridgeland Correctional Institution, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is authorized to review such petitions and submit findings and recommendations to the district judge. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the district judge dismiss the petition in this case without requiring respondent to file an answer.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Petitioner filed the instant petition seeking habeas relief from a sentence imposed in Beaufort County on April 22, 2013. [ECF No. 1 at 1]. Petitioner indicates he entered guilty pleas to armed robbery, kidnapping, and possession of a firearm during a violent crime and the court sentenced him to 15 years' imprisonment. Id. Petitioner states he filed a belated appeal on August 12, 2016. Id. at 2-3. Petitioner indicates he did not raise his habeas grounds through a post-conviction motion. Id. at 6-7.

         II. Discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of this petition pursuant to the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings for the United States District Court, the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, and other habeas corpus statutes. Pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). A federal court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). When a federal court is evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. Fine v. City of N.Y., 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir. 1975). The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990).

         B. Analysis

         The requirement that state remedies must be exhausted before filing a federal habeas corpus action is found in 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1), which provides that “[a]n application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted unless it appears that (A) the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State.” The exhaustion requirement is “grounded in principles of comity; in a federal system, the States should have the first opportunity to address and correct alleged violations of state prisoner's federal rights.” Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 731 (1991); Lawson v. Dixon, 3 F.3d 743, 749-50 n.4 (4th Cir. 1993). In Matthews v. Evatt, 105 F.3d 907 (4th Cir. 1997), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held:

[A] federal habeas court may consider only those issues which have been “fairly presented” to the state courts. . . . To satisfy the exhaustion requirement, a habeas petitioner must fairly present his claim to the state's highest court. The burden of proving that a claim has been exhausted lies with the petitioner.

Id. at 911 (citations omitted), abrogated on other grounds by United States v. Barnette, 644 F.3d 192 (4th Cir. 2011).

         Petitioner admits he has not exhausted his available state law remedies, including filing an application for post-conviction relief, with respect to each of his habeas claims. His habeas action is therefore subject to summary dismissal. See Galloway v. Stephenson, 510 F.Supp. 840, 846 (M.D. N.C. 1981) (“When state court remedies have not been exhausted, absent special circumstances, a federal habeas court may not retain the case on its docket, pending exhaustion, but should dismiss the petition.”); see also Pitchess v. Davis, 421 U.S. 482, 490 (1975).

         III. Conclusion and Recommendation

         For the foregoing reasons, the undersigned recommends the court dismiss this petition without prejudice and without ...

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