United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division
OPINION & ORDER
M. HERLONG, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court for review of the Report and
Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Jacqueline
D. Austin, made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)
and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District of South
Carolina. Marion Stewart (“Stewart”) is
a state prisoner seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254. In her Report and Recommendation,
Magistrate Judge Austin recommends granting the
Respondent's motion for summary judgment and denying
Factual and Procedural Background
is currently incarcerated at McCormick Correctional
Institution, a South Carolina Department of Corrections
(“SCDC”) facility. In January 2010, Stewart was
indicted in South Carolina state court for armed robbery.
(Ret. & Mem. Attach. 4 (App'x 523-24), ECF No. 11-5.)
After a jury trial, Stewart was found guilty of armed robbery
on April 13, 2011. (Id. Attach. 4 (App'x
515-21), ECF No. 11-5.) Due to his criminal history, Stewart
was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of
parole. (Id. Attach. 4 (App'x 522), ECF No.
appealed his conviction on the grounds that his confession
was not voluntary, he was in custody at the time of the
confession, and he should have been informed of his
Mirandarights. See State v. Stewart, No.
2012-UP-654, 2012 WL 10864542 (S.C. Ct. App. Dec. 12, 2012)
(unpublished). The South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed
Stewart's conviction in an unpublished opinion dated
December 12, 2012. Id. The South Carolina Supreme
Court denied Stewart's petition for writ of certiorari on
June 11, 2014. (Ret. & Mem. Attach. 2 (June 11, 2014
Order), ECF No. 11-2.) Remittitur was issued on June 26,
2014. (Id. Attach. 3 (Remittitur), ECF No. 11-3.)
10, 2014, Stewart filed an application for post-conviction
relief (“PCR”) raising ineffective assistance of
counsel, due process, and Fifth Amendment claims.
(Id. Attach. 4 (App'x 526-31), ECF No. 11-5.) An
evidentiary hearing was held on March 23, 2016. (Id.
Attach. 4 (App'x 537-603), ECF No. 11-5.) On May 31,
2016, the PCR court denied Stewart's PCR application and
dismissed his application with prejudice. (Id.
Attach. 4 (App'x 606-21), ECF No. 11-5.) Stewart filed a
petition for writ of certiorari with the South Carolina
Supreme Court on December 12, 2016. (Ret. & Mem. Attach.
6 (Pet. Writ Cert.), ECF No. 11-7.) On July 14, 2017, the
South Carolina Supreme Court denied Stewart's petition
for writ of certiorari. (Id. Attach. 7 (July 14,
2017 Order), ECF No. 11-8.)
proceeding pro se, filed the instant § 2254 petition on
April 27, 2018,  raising one ground for relief:
Ground One: U.S. Const. Rights to
Due Process and Equal Protection were denied petitioner by
allowing statements of petitioner taken in violation of his
Fifth Amend. right to be used against him at trial.
Supporting Facts: Several law enforcement
officers surrounded petitioners residence while two officers
conducted a custodial interrogation inside a law enforcement
vehicle and by using subterfuge and intimidation coerced
statements from him without reading and informing him of his
Miranda rights and the trial judge erroneously
allowed these statements into evidence prejudicing petitioner
by denying him the protections granted by our United
States Constitution and depriving him of the possibility
of receiving a fair trial.
(§ 2254 Pet. 5, ECF No. 1 (errors in original).)
22, 2018, Respondent filed a motion for summary judgment.
(Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 12.) After receiving two extensions,
Stewart responded in opposition on September 24, 2018. (Resp.
Opp'n Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 22.) Magistrate Judge Austin
issued her Report and Recommendation on November 13, 2018,
and recommends granting Respondent's motion for summary
judgment and denying Stewart's petition because Stewart
has not demonstrated that the state court's decision was
contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly
established federal law. (R&R 19, ECF No. 24.) After
receiving two extensions, Stewart filed objections to the
Report on January 10, 2019. (Objs., generally, ECF No. 34.)
Stewart also filed a motion to amend his petition. (Mot. Am.,
ECF No. 35.) Respondent filed a response in opposition to the
motion to amend on January 28, 2019. (Resp. Opp'n Mot.
Am., ECF No. 37.) This matter is now ripe for review.
Discussion of the Law
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate only “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). In deciding whether a genuine issue of
material fact exists, the evidence of the non-moving party is
to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn
in his favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, “[o]nly disputes
over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under
the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary
will not be counted.” Id. at 248.
litigant “cannot create a genuine issue of material
fact through mere speculation or the building of one
inference upon another.” Beale v. Hardy, 769
F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985). “[W]here the record
taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the non-moving party, disposition by summary
judgment is appropriate.” Monahan v. Cty. of
Chesterfield, Va., 95 F.3d 1263, 1265 (4th Cir. 1996)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “[T]he
mere existence of some alleged factual dispute
between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly
supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is
that there be no genuine issue of material
fact.” Ballenger v. N.C. Agric. Extension
Serv., 815 F.2d 1001, 1005 (4th Cir. 1987) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted).
Standard of Review in a ...