United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a Report and Recommendation from the
Magistrate Judge (Doc. No. 26) recommending (1) no
evidentiary hearing be held in this matter; (2)
petitioner's petition for habeas corpus relief under 28
U.S.C. § 2254 be denied; (3) this action be dismissed
with prejudice; and (4) a certificate of appealability should
not issue. Petitioner filed objections to the Report and
Recommendation. (Doc. Nos. 27 and 29).
de novo review, and for the following reasons,
Plaintiff's objections are OVERRULED and
the Report and Recommendation is ADOPTED.
Accordingly, Petitioner's petition for habeas corpus
relief (Doc. No. 1) is DENIED and this
action is dismissed with prejudice.
was one of several defendants charged in connection with an
aborted drug deal. (Doc. No. 11-1 at 73). He was a passenger
in a vehicle in which Laura Carter was found to be in
possession of a quantity of cocaine, which she said Defendant
had handed to her at the time of the stop. (Id.)
Petitioner was indicted on one count of possession with
intent to sell cocaine, and one count of possession with
intent to deliver cocaine. (Id.) On October 2, 2014,
Defendant pleaded guilty to the charge for possession with
intent to sell, and the state dismissed the remaining charge.
(Id.) Co-defendant Laura Carter pleaded guilty to
facilitation of possession. (Id. at 71). Another
co-defendant was tried and convicted. (Id. at 73).
filed a pro se state post-conviction petition with
the Marshall County Circuit Court and was appointed counsel.
(Doc. No. 11-1 at 3, 56-57). On March 11, 2016, the circuit
court held an evidentiary hearing and heard testimony from
Petitioner and his trial attorneys. (Doc. No. 11-1 at 64-70).
16, 2016, before the circuit court ruled on the
post-conviction petition, Petitioner filed a Motion to
Reconsider Post Conviction, submitting a notarized statement
by Carter, dated February 17, 2016, in which Carter claimed
the drugs as hers. (Id. at 71). She wrote, “I
claim the ounce as mine, I'm doing time for it. It was on
ME and I'm writing you this to let you know I'm the
guilty on facilitation possession …You not guilty on
having an ounce - I am.” Relying upon the Carter
statement, Petitioner argued that his plea was not knowing
and voluntary, and that counsel were ineffective for allowing
him to enter the plea agreement. (Id. at 65-69).
30, 2016, the circuit court denied Petitioner's state
post-conviction petition. The court found that
Petitioner's trial counsel never made the threatening
statements attributed to her and that Petitioner failed to
show he pled guilty because of the statements. (Id.
at 79). The circuit court then dismissed Petitioner's
pro se motion to reconsider because it did not
demonstrate grounds for reopening the evidence at a
post-conviction proceeding. (Doc. No. 1 at 14).
27, 2017, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
(“TCCA”) affirmed the denial of Petitioner's
state post-conviction petition. (Doc. No. 11-6). The TCCA
stated that the only issue raised on appeal was
Petitioner's claim that counsel “terrorized”
him with threats of an all-white jury, that these statements
constituted ineffective assistance of counsel, and that they
caused him to involuntarily plead guilty. (Id. at
2). The TCCA held that there was no proof in the record to
preponderate against the findings of the circuit court that
the statements alleged by Petitioner were never made.
proceeding pro se, brought this action on July 17,
2017, seeking federal habeas corpus relief, under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, asserting the following grounds for relief: (1)
representation of appointed counsel was deficient; (2) his
guilty plea was not knowing and voluntary; and (3) he is
innocent of the offence to which he pleaded guilty. (Doc. No.
1). The Magistrate Judge found Petitioner was not entitled to
relief on any of these grounds.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Rule 72.03(b)(3), a
district court reviews de novo any portion of a
report and recommendation to which a specific objection is
made. United States v. Curtis, 237 F.3d 598, 603
(6th Cir. 2001). General or conclusory objections are
insufficient. See Zimmerman v. Cason, 354 Fed.Appx.
228, 230 (6th Cir. 2009). Thus, “only those specific
objections to the magistrate's report made to the
district court will be preserved for appellate review.”
Id. (quoting Smith v. Detroit Fed'n of
Teachers, 829 F.2d 1370, 1373 (6th Cir. 1987)).
conducting the review, the court may “accept, reject,
or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Arguments not raised before the
Magistrate Judge will not be considered. Swain v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 379 Fed.Appx. 512, 517-18 (6th
Cir. 2010) (citing Ward v. United States, 208 F.3d
216 (table) (6th Cir. 2000) (“[A] claim raised for the
first time in objections to a magistrate judge's report
is deemed waived.”).