United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division
Taurus S. Watts, Petitioner,
Warden Michael Stephon, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER
CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Petitioner's pro se
Petition for writ of habeas corpus, challenging his 2009
murder conviction and filed in this court pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254. ECF No. 1. In accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c), DSC, this
matter was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Shiva
V. Hodges for pre-trial proceedings and a Report and
22, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued an Order to Show Cause
why the Petition should not be dismissed as untimely. ECF No.
8. The Order provided notice to Petitioner the court was
“considering dismissal of his case based on the running
of the one-year statute of limitations” for such
petitions, as there was an “unexplained 7-year gap
between when Petitioner's conviction became final and the
filing of this habeas petition.” Id. at 1, 2.
Petitioner was afforded 21 days to “submit a document
to this court providing facts concerning the issue of
timeliness of this petition that would provide a basis for
the application of equitable tolling and thereby prevent
dismissal based on the limitations bar.” Id.
at 2. No. response was received from Petitioner. On June 19,
2019, the Magistrate Judge entered a Report recommending the
case be dismissed without issuance and service of process for
failure to prosecute and because the habeas petition is
untimely. ECF No. 12. The Magistrate Judge advised Petitioner
of the procedures and requirements for filing objections to
the Report and Recommendation and the serious consequences if
he failed to do so. Petitioner filed objections to the Report
on July 1, 2019. ECF No. 14.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976).
The court is charged with making a de novo determination of
any portion of the Report and Recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge to which a specific objection is made. The
court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
recommendation made by the Magistrate Judge or recommit the
matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See 28
U.S.C. § 636(b).
Report recommends dismissal for failure to prosecute, or in
the alternative because the statute of limitations bars
Petitioner's claims and Petitioner has demonstrated no
grounds for equitable tolling. ECF No. 12.
objections argue his Petition is not untimely. ECF No. 14. He
sets forth the following timeline:
• June 20, 2012 - Direct Appeal denied
• May 30, 2013 - PCR application filed in Richland
County Court of Common Pleas
• March 3, 2016 - PCR denied
• March 9, 2016 - PCR Notice of Appeal filed
• November 17, 2016 - PCR Petition for Writ of