United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division
ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION,
GRANTING RESPONDENT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, AND
DENYING THE PETITION
GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Vincent Missouri (Missouri), a self-represented state
prisoner, filed this case as a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 action.
The matter is before the Court for review of the Report and
Recommendation (Report) of the United States Magistrate Judge
suggesting Respondent Randall Williams's (Williams)
motion for summary judgment be granted and Missouri's
petition be denied. The Report was made in accordance with 28
U.S.C. § 636 and Local Civil Rule 73.02 for the District
of South Carolina.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976).
The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of
those portions of the Report to which specific objection is
made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge or
recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. §
Magistrate Judge filed the Report on March 14, 2019, and the
Clerk of Court entered Missouri's objections on April 1,
2019. The Court has carefully reviewed the objections, but
holds them to be without merit. It will therefore enter
preliminary matter, the Court notes there is no dispute
Missouri has satisfied the exhaustion requirements of Section
2254. As a matter of clarification, however, the Court notes
the South Carolina Supreme Court has “declare[d] that
in all appeals from criminal convictions or post-conviction
relief matters, a litigant shall not be required to petition
for rehearing and certiorari following an adverse decision of
the Court of Appeals . . . to be deemed to have exhausted all
available state remedies respecting a claim of error.”
In re Exhaustion of State Remedies in Criminal and
Post-Conviction Relief, 471 S.E.2d 454, 454 (1990).
October 31, 2014, as per Missouri's plea agreement with
the State, he pled guilty to two counts of bank robbery.
Although he had earlier indicated to Judge L. Verdin he
wanted to represent himself, there is no mention of that at
his plea hearing before Judge James R. Barber, III (Judge
Barber sentenced Missouri to concurrent ten-year sentences on
each count and ordered his sentences run consecutive to an
earlier imposed twenty-year sentence. Missouri failed to file
a direct appeal as to his plea. Instead, he filed a pro se
Post-Conviction Relief (PCR) Application in state court.
court denied and dismissed Missouri's petition, and the
South Carolina Supreme Court denied his petition for cert.
Missouri then filed his Section 2254 petition with this
Court. He raises four grounds for relief:
GROUND ONE: That Petitioner is being held in custody in
violation of his Sixth Amendment right to have represented
GROUND TWO: Denial of effective assistance of counsel during
PCR stages, in violation of Petitioner's Sixth Amendment
GROUND THREE: That the state court lacked
subject-matter-jurisdiction to accept the guilty plea.
GROUND FOUR: Denial of Due Process, in “Failing to
timely hold a hearing into Petitioner's request to
Magistrate Judge suggests Grounds One and Four are
procedurally barred, and Grounds Two and Three are
non-cognizable as Section 2254 claims. Missouri make no
specific objections regarding Grounds Two and Three, but
argues Grounds One and Four, which concern his right to
represent himself in his state proceedings, are not
procedurally barred. In support, he ...