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Singletary v. Stephon

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

October 2, 2019

ROBERT SINGLETARY, #189516, Petitioner,
v.
WARDEN MICHAEL STEPHON, BROAD RIVER CORRECTIONAL, Respondent.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BRISTOW MARCHANT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Petitioner, an inmate with the South Carolina Department of Corrections, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The petition was filed pro se on January 23, 2019.[1]

         The Respondent filed a return and motion for summary judgment on May 16, 2019.[2]As the Petitioner is proceeding pro se, a Roseboro order was filed on May 17, 2019, advising Petitioner that he had thirty-four (34) days to file any material in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. Petitioner was specifically advised that if he failed to respond adequately, the motion for summary judgment may be granted, thereby ending his case. Thereafter, on May 28, 2019, Petitioner filed supplemental documentation in support of his Petition. He then filed a memorandum in opposition to summary judgment on May 30, 2019.[3]

         This matter is now before the Court for disposition.[4]

         Procedural History

         Petitioner was indicted in Florence County in September 2009 for lewd act on a minor and criminal sexual conduct with a minor, first degree [Indictment No. 09-GS-21-1350]. (R.pp. 328-329). Petitioner was represented by Vick Meetz, Esquire. After a trial by jury on June 21-23, 2010, Petitioner was convicted as charged and sentenced to concurrent sentences of thirty (30) years imprisonment for criminal sexual conduct with a minor, first degree, and fifteen (15) years imprisonment, for lewd act on a minor. (R.pp. 1-245).

         Petitioner filed a timely direct appeal on which he was represented by Breen Richard Stevens, Esquire. Petitioner raised the following issue in his direct appeal:

Whether the trial court erred in failing to grant a mistrial after the State solicited testimony from an expert witness which the court ruled was inadmissible?

See Court Docket No. 15-2, p. 4.

         On October 31, 2012, the South Carolina Court of Appeals denied the appeal in its entirety. State v. Singletary, 2012-UP-589 (S.C.Ct. App. filed October 31, 2012)(unpublished). (R.pp. 332-333). The remittitur was issued on November 16, 2012. See Court Docket No. 15-4.

         On April 30, 2013, Petitioner filed an application for post-conviction relief (“APCR”) in state circuit court. Singletary v. State of South Carolina, No. 2013-CP-21-1159. (R.pp. 247-253). Petitioner raised the following grounds in his APCR:

6th Amend-Coleman vs. Thompson 51 U.S. 722 . . . Strickland v. State - Martinez v. Ryan - Strickland v. Washingto[n]
a. The right to a fair trial - ambiguous sentence
b. The right to present everdince [sic] on my behalf - ineffective coun
c. The right for me to have witnesses on my behalf
d. Stence [sic] ¶ 0-15 the judge gave me 15 yrs. Stence[sic] ¶ 0-30 the judge gave me 30 yrs. Stencing [sic] was extreme.

(R.p. 249).

         Petitioner was represented in his APCR by Jonathan Waller, Esquire, and an evidentiary hearing was held on Petitioner's application on October 9, 2014. (R.pp. 275-317). After the hearing, both parties filed post-hearing memoranda. (R.pp. 254-261, 268-274). By order dated March 25, 2015, and filed April 1, 2015, the PCR judge denied Petitioner's requested relief in its entirety. (R.pp. 318-327).

         Petitioner appealed the denial of his APCR. Petitioner's PCR appellate counsel, LaNelle Durant of the South Carolina Commission on Indigent ...


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