United States District Court, D. South Carolina
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. Arimatia Buggs (“Buggs”), a
state prisoner proceeding pro se, seeks habeas corpus relief
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In her Report and
Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Austin recommends dismissing
Buggs' petition with prejudice and without requiring the
Respondent to file an answer or return because the petition
is untimely under the one-year statute of limitations set
forth in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(“AEDPA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1)(A). For
the reasons set forth below, the court adopts the Report and
Recommendation and dismisses Buggs' § 2254 petition.
Factual and Procedural Background
is currently incarcerated at the Tyger River Correctional
Institution, a South Carolina Department of Corrections
facility. On April 11, 2000, Buggs pled guilty in state court
to murder, attempted murder, first degree burglary, and
attempted armed robbery. (§ 2254 Pet. 1, ECF No. 1.)
Buggs was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment.
(Id., ECF No. 1.) Buggs did not appeal his
conviction or sentence. On April 2, 2001, Buggs filed an
application for post-conviction relief (“PCR”).
See Buggs v. State, No.
2001-CP-10-01209. An evidentiary hearing was held on
November 22, 2002, and on January 30, 2003, the PCR court
vacated Buggs' conviction for attempted murder on the
basis that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction
over that charge and denied relief on the remaining grounds.
(§ 2254 Pet. Attach. 1 (Jan. 30, 2003 Order 7-39), ECF
No. 1-1.) Buggs filed a motion to reconsider, which was
denied on August 21, 2007. (Id. Attach. 1 (Supp.
Docs. 2), ECF No. 1-1.) Buggs did not appeal.
21, 2005, Buggs filed a second PCR application. Buggs v.
State, No. 2005-CP-10-02621. A hearing was held on
January 23, 2008. (§ 2254 Pet. Attach. 1 (Supp. Docs.
1-4), ECF No. 1-1.) In the second PCR action, the parties
reached an agreement to allow Buggs to file a belated appeal
of his first PCR application pursuant to Austin v.
State, 409 S.E.2d 395 (S.C. 1991), and agreed on which
issues were preserved for appeal. (Id. Attach. 1
(Supp. Docs. 1-6), ECF No. 1-1.) The PCR court approved the
agreement and dismissed the action on February 20, 2008.
(Id. Attach. 1 (Supp. Docs. 5-6), ECF No. 1-1.) On
January 6, 2010, the South Carolina Court of Appeals denied
Buggs' petition for writ of certiorari. Buggs v.
State, No. 2005-CP-10-02621.
filed the instant § 2254 petition on June 18, 2019,
raising the following grounds for relief: (1) ineffective
assistance of counsel, (2) actual innocence, (3) false
arrest, (4) appeal of guilty plea based on counsel's
statement that Buggs did not have the right to appeal.
(§ 2254 Pet., generally, ECF No. 1.) Magistrate Judge
Austin issued a Report and Recommendation on July 17, 2019,
and recommends that Buggs' petition be dismissed with
prejudice and without requiring the Respondent to file an
answer or return. (R&R 16, ECF No. 7.) Buggs filed
objections to the Report and Recommendation on July 30,
2019. (Objs., ECF No. 9.) This matter is now
ripe for review.
Discussion of the Law
Objections to the Report and Recommendation must be specific.
Failure to file specific objections constitutes a waiver of a
party's right to further judicial review, including
appellate review, if the recommendation is accepted by the
district judge. See United States v. Schronce, 727
F.2d 91, 94 & n.4 (4th Cir. 1984). In the absence of
specific objections to the Report and Recommendation of the
magistrate judge, this court is not required to give any
explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983).
review, the court finds that many of Buggs' objections
are nonspecific, unrelated to the dispositive portions of the
magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation, or merely
restate his claims. However, the court was able to glean one
specific objection. Buggs objects to the magistrate
judge's conclusion that the statute of limitations should
not be equitably tolled. (Objs., generally, ECF No. 9.)
§ 2254 petition is untimely, “[a] petitioner is
entitled to equitable tolling only if he shows (1) that he
has been pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some
extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and prevented
timely filing.” Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S.
631, 649 (2010) (citing Pace v. DiGuglielmo, 544
U.S. 408, 418 (2005)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“Equitable tolling is appropriate when, but only when,
extraordinary circumstances beyond the petitioner's
control prevented him from complying with the statutory time
limit.” Rouse v. Lee, 339 F.3d 238, 246 (4th
Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks omitted). The petitioner
bears the burden of showing that he is entitled to equitable
tolling. Pace, 544 U.S. at 418.
case, Buggs argues that his claims have merit, which
establishes “extraordinary circumstances.” (Objs.
2-5, ECF No. 9.) Specifically, Buggs submits that he
initially believed his time had expired for any further
review based upon the advice of his counsel immediately
following his belated appeal and the language of the court in
the order from that review. It was understood by the
petitioner that the Austin or belated appeal would only allow
petitioner the chance for a writ of certiorari. It was June
of 2019 when petitioner learned that “actual innocence,
” which he asserted at PCR[, ] could potentially
overcome procedural default.
(Id. 6-7, ECF No. 9.) Buggs further submits that the
court should find that he has diligently pursued his rights
because he exhausted his state court remedies. (Id.
7, ECF No. 9.)
review, the state proceedings in Buggs' case concluded on
January 6, 2010, the date that his petition for writ of
certiorari was denied by the South Carolina Court of Appeals,
and the AEDPA limitations period expired nineteen days later
on January 25, 2010. Buggs filed the instant petition on June
8, 2019, over nine years later. This extended lapse of time
fails to show that Buggs has diligently pursued his rights.
See United States v. Oriakhi, No. 08-8224, 2010 WL
3522005, at *1 (4th Cir. Sept. 10, 2010) (unpublished)
(applying equitable tolling standard to motion filed pursuant
to 28 ...