United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Bryan Harwell Chief United States District Judge
Farid Ahmad Mangal, a state prisoner,  filed a petition
for federal habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
alleging, among other claims, that his trial counsel was
ineffective by failing to object to and by eliciting improper
bolstering testimony at his jury trial in a South Carolina
court. The Court previously ordered the Magistrate Judge to
conduct an evidentiary hearing on the improper bolstering
claims raised in Ground Two of Petitioner's § 2254
petition. See ECF No. 65. The matter now
returns to the Court for review of the Report and
Recommendation (“R & R”) of United States
Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McDonald, who recommends denying
Respondent's motion for summary judgment and granting
Petitioner habeas relief as to the improper bolstering claims
raised in Ground Two of his § 2254 petition.
See ECF No. 99.
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
this Court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261,
270-71 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo
determination of those portions of the R & R 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.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b).
party has filed objections to the R & R, and the time for
doing so has expired. In the absence of objections to the R
& R, the Court is not required to give any explanation
for adopting the Magistrate Judge's recommendations.
See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir.
1983). The Court reviews only for clear error in the absence
of an objection. See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc.
Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (stating
that “in the absence of a timely filed objection, a
district court need not conduct 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'” (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory
thorough review of the record in this case, the Court finds
no clear error. Accordingly, the Court
ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's R & R
[ECF No. 99], DENIES Respondent's motion
for summary judgment [ECF No. 21] as to the improper
bolstering claims raised in Ground Two of Petitioner's
§ 2254 petition, and GRANTS
Petitioner's § 2254 petition as to the improper
bolstering claims. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2243
and 2254, the Court VACATES Petitioner's
March 16, 2007 convictions for criminal sexual conduct with a
minor in the first degree, criminal sexual conduct with a
minor in the second degree (two counts), lewd act upon a
child, and incest. The Court ORDERS that
Petitioner be released from custody unless the State of South
Carolina retries him within 120 days of the date of this
IS SO ORDERED.
 Petitioner has been in state custody
since 2004, and he was convicted in 2007.
 “Improper bolstering is
‘testimony that indicates the witness believes the
victim, but does not serve some other valid purpose.'
Improper bolstering also occurs when a witness testifies for
the purpose of informing the jury that the witness believes
the victim, or when there is no other way to interpret the
testimony other than to mean the witness believes the victim
is telling the truth.” Chappell v. State, __
S.E.2d __,, 2019 WL 7341490, at *3 (S.C. Ct. App. Dec. 31,
2019) (internal citation omitted) (quoting and citing
Briggs v. State, 806 S.E.2d 713, 717-18 (S.C.
 The Court granted Respondent's
motion for summary judgment with respect to Ground One and
the expert qualification issue raised in Ground Two and
denied a certificate of appealability as to those issues.
See ECF No. 65 at p. 26. The Court held in abeyance
its ruling on the improper bolstering claims. Id. at
 The Magistrate Judge issued the R
& R in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and
Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(c) (D.S.C.).
 Objections were due yesterday, January
2, 2020. See ECF No. 99; see also Fed. R.
Civ. P. 72(b)(2) (requiring a party to serve and file
specific written objections within fourteen days after being
served with the R & R); Rule 8(b) of the Rules Governing
Section 2254 Cases (same). Respondent did not file any
objections or any motion for an extension of time to do
See Herrera v. Collins, 506
U.S. 390, 403 (1993) (explaining “[t]he typical relief
granted in federal habeas corpus is a conditional order of
release unless the State elects to retry the successful
habeas petitioner”); Hilton v. Braunskill, 481
U.S. 770, 775 (1987) (“[F]ederal courts may delay the
release of a successful habeas petitioner in order to provide
the State an opportunity to correct the constitutional
violation found by the court.”); Wolfe v.
Clarke, 718 F.3d 277, 291 (4th Cir. 2013) (“In the
absence of extraordinary circumstances, the proper
disposition is generally, as the district court recognized,
the release of a successful habeas petitioner, subject to
rearrest and retrial.”); Austin v. Plumley,
565 Fed.Appx. 175, 191-92 (4th ...