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English v. Bartel

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

February 8, 2019

Roderick English, #301507, Petitioner,
Warden Bartel and South Carolina Department of Corrections, Respondent.



         Roderick English (“Petitioner”), proceeding pro se, 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 the district judge dismiss the petition in this case without requiring respondent to file an answer.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Petitioner states he pled guilty to assault with the intent to commit criminal sexual conduct on April 22, 2004, and was sentenced to 18 years. [ECF No. 1-2 at 1]. In Ground One of his petition, Petitioner alleges he is being falsely imprisoned and his constitutional rights are being violated. Id. at 5. He claims he has advised agencies of the legal errors and the corrections needed. Id. Petitioner does not provide any other grounds for relief or facts supporting his grounds in the petition. Id. at 7-14. Instead, in response to the questions on the petition, he appears to copy verbatim language from other documents and legal memorandum that he has previously filed with or received from the court or other administrative agencies. Id. Petitioner seeks immediate release and to have his conviction and sentence vacated. Id. at 15.

         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, 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 (2nd 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 petition is subject to summary dismissal because Petitioner's allegations are vague and conclusory in violation of Rule 2(c) of the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases. A habeas petitioner is required to specify all the grounds for relief available to him and state the facts supporting each ground. See Mayle v. Felix, 545 U.S. 644, 655-56 (2005) (“Habeas Corpus Rule 2(c) is more demanding” than the pleading requirement for ordinary civil proceedings and requires petitioners to “plead with particularity [] to assist the district court in determining whether the State should be ordered to ‘show cause why the writ should not be granted.'”).

         Petitioner has not appropriately responded to the habeas sections requesting the grounds and facts supporting his claims for relief. Instead, Petitioner used the space provided on the § 2254 form to copy previous orders or other administrative matters that have no bearing on his claims. The court will not search for facts. See Dinkins v. Charoen Pokphand USA, Inc., 133 F.Supp.2d 1254, 1261 (D. Ala. 2001) (noting a lawsuit should not be a “game of hunt the peanut”); Teti v. Bender, 507 F.3d 50, 60 (1st Cir. 2007) (“A habeas proceeding is not a fishing expedition.”). Because Petitioner has failed to provide information sufficient to ascertain the grounds he pursues in his habeas petition, the petition should be summarily dismissed. See Peyatt v. Holland, No. 85-6488, 1987 WL 35854 (4th Cir. Feb. 4, 1987) (affirming district court's dismissal of a habeas petition without prejudice for petitioner's failure to comply with an order directing completion of the petition as required by Rule 2(c)); Bryant v. Cartlege, C/A No. 8:13-316-RMG, 2014 WL 108354, at *2 (D.S.C. Jan. 9, 2014) (dismissing habeas ground which was “impermissibly vague” under Rule 2(c)) (citing Mayle, 545 U.S. at 649).

         III. Conclusion and Recommendation

         For the foregoing reasons, the undersigned recommends the court dismiss this petition without prejudice and without requiring respondent to file a return.


         The parties are directed to note the important information in the attached “Notice of Right to File Objections ...

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