United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Marcus L. Watts, Petitioner,
Warden, Turbeville Correctional Institution, Respondent.
F. ANDERSON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pro se petitioner, Marcus L. Watts
(“Petitioner”), brought this action pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254 for habeas relief. In accordance with
28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c)
(D.S.C.), the case was referred to the Magistrate Judge.
reviewing the petition, the Magistrate Judge assigned to this
action prepared a thorough Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) and opines that this
petition should be dismissed without requiring respondent to
file a return because the petitioner has not received
permission from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to file a
successive § 2254 petition. (ECF No. 8). The Report sets
forth, in detail, the relevant facts and standards of law on
this matter, and this Court incorporates those facts and
standards without a recitation.
response to the Report, Petitioner filed a motion to stay to
request permission from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
to file a successive § 2254 petition. (ECF No. 11). This
request to stay was granted on April 30, 2019, and Petitioner
was given 30 days to request permission from the Fourth
Circuit and required to notify the Court of the Fourth
Circuit's decision within 60 days. To date, Petitioner
has made no additional filings in this matter or otherwise
sought to inform the Court of the status of his request to
the Fourth Circuit. Thus, this matter is ripe for review.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
district court is only required to conduct a de novo
review of the specific portions of the Magistrate Judge's
Report to which an objection is made. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); Carniewski v. W.
Virginia Bd. of Prob. & Parole, 974 F.2d 1330 (4th
Cir. 1992). In the absence of specific objections to portions
of the Magistrate's Report, this Court is not required to
give an explanation for adopting the recommendation. See
Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Thus,
the Court must only review those portions of the Report to
which Plaintiff has made a specific written objection.
Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416
F.3d 310, 316 (4th Cir. 2005).
seeks to vacate his current criminal sentence based on the
grounds of (1) ineffective assistance of counsel, (2)
involuntary guilty plea, (3) lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, and (4) plea made in ignorance. However, the
Magistrate Judge correctly holds that the claims raised in
this petition are successive. Although Plaintiff was granted
a stay in these proceedings to seek authorization for a
successive § 2254 petition, he failed to notify this
Court of the Fourth Circuit's decision. Nevertheless, a
review of the Fourth Circuit's records indicates that
Petitioner did in fact request authorization to file a
successive § 2254 petition and this request was denied
on April 29, 2019. In Re Marcus Leeotis Watts, No.
19-188, Doc. 5 (4th Cir. Apr. 29, 2019).
Petitioner's request to file a successive petition was
denied by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, this Court is
without authority to entertain it. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2244; United States v. Winestock, 340 F.3d
200, 205 (4th Cir. 2003) (“In the absence of pre-filing
authorization, the district court lacks jurisdiction to
consider an application containing abusive or repetitive
carefully reviewing the applicable laws, the record in this
case, the Report, and the response thereto, this Court finds
the Magistrate Judge's recommendation fairly and
accurately summarizes the facts and applies the correct
principles of law. Accordingly, this Court adopts the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation and
incorporates it herein by reference. (ECF No. 11).
Consequently, the petition (ECF No. 1) is dismissed without
prejudice and without requiring a return from respondent.
FURTHER ORDERED that a certificate of appealability is denied
because the petitioner has failed to make “a
substantial showing of the denial of a ...