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Frierson v. Williams

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Anderson/Greenwood Division

September 19, 2019

Darryl Frierson, Petitioner,
Charles Williams, Warden, Respondent.


          Bruce Howe Hendricks United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation entered by United States Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin on March 25, 2019 (“Report”). (ECF No. 36.) In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 73.02 for the District of South Carolina, this case was referred to Magistrate Judge Austin to review Petitioner Darryl Frierson’s (“Petitioner”) 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition for habeas relief, to handle pretrial matters, and to submit findings and recommendations to the Court. In her Report, the Magistrate Judge recommends that Respondent Warden Charles Williams’ (“Respondent”) motion for summary judgment (ECF Nos. 12 & 13) be granted. (See ECF No. 36 at 2.) The Report sets forth in detail the relevant facts and standards of law, and the Court incorporates them here without recitation.[1]


         The Magistrate Judge entered her Report on March 25, 2019, recommending that Defendant’s motion for summary judgment (ECF Nos. 12 & 13) be granted and that Petitioner’s habeas petition (ECF No. 1) be denied. (ECF No. 36 at 29.) Petitioner filed objections on June 5, 2019. (ECF No. 46.) Defendant filed a reply to Petitioner’s objections on June 18, 2019. (ECF No. 51.) The matter is ripe for consideration and the Court now makes the following ruling.


         The 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 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). In the absence of a timely filed objection, a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must “only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.” Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).


         The Court declines to repeat the cogent analysis of the Magistrate Judge with regard to every aspect of each Ground for relief and will confine its analysis of the Report to those portions about which Defendant raises an objection.

         A. Ground One

         The Magistrate Judge found that Ground One-in which Petitioner contends that his plea of guilty was not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11-fails to raise a cognizable federal habeas claim. (ECF No. 36 at 16–17.) Accordingly, the Magistrate Judge recommends that Respondent be granted summary judgment on this claim. (Id. at 17.)

         In his objections, Petitioner concedes that “the Magistrate Judge is right in reference to Rule 11, . . . and it should not be used to make a claim, and the state court do not have to follow that rule . . . .” (ECF No. 46 at 1 (errors in original).) Nevertheless, Petitioner argues that the U.S. Supreme Court’s holdings in Boykins v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238 (1969) and McCarthy v. United States, 394 U.S. 459 (1969) somehow support his assertion that the record in the case sub judice is inadequate to show that Petitioner knowingly and intelligently pleaded guilty. (See ECF No. 46 at 1–3.) Petitioner states, “Although the State violated [R]ule 11, the State court and this court rather be heard from a constitutional view point of due process, ” and he seeks to “amend his habeas petition to cure this defect.” (Id. at 3 (errors in original).) From this convoluted line of argument, Petitioner proceeds to an irrelevant discussion of case law regarding amendment of his petition. (Id. at 3.)

         Boykins and McCarthy have no impact on Petitioner’s Rule-11-based claim in Ground One. Petitioner’s arguments fail to point the Court to any error in the Magistrate Judge’s analysis or recommendation regarding Ground One. Therefore, the objection is overruled.

         B. Ground Two

         Petitioner’s second Ground for relief-in which he claims that his trial counsel was ineffective “for [counsel’s] failure to adequately inform[] [Petitioner] of the possibility to suppress evidence gathered from law enforcement’s warrantless placement of a mobile tracking device on his vehicle” (see ECF No. 1 at 7)-was properly exhausted in the state courts. In considering the merits of Ground Two, the Magistrate Judge found that the South Carolina Supreme Court’s denial of Petitioner’s ineffective assistance claim was neither contrary to nor an unreasonable application of applicable Supreme Court precedent, specifically Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984) and Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52 (1985). (ECF ...

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