Donald L. Spencer v. Harold Clark
UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Motion disposition in opinion--denying Motion to proceed in forma pauperis (FRAP 24) [1000012751-2], denying Motion to proceed in forma pauperis (FRAP 24) [1000009488-2]; denying Motion certificate of appealability (Local Rule 22(a)) [999993567-2] Originating case number: 1:16-cv-01394-TSE-TCB Copies to all parties and the district court/agency. . Mailed to: Spencer. [16-7711]
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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
DONALD L. SPENCER,
Petitioner - Appellant,
HAROLD CLARKE, Director of Va. Dept. of Corr.,
Respondent - Appellee.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at
Alexandria. T. S. Ellis, III, Senior District Judge. (1:16-cv-01394-TSE-TCB)
Submitted: May 25, 2017
Before MOTZ, THACKER, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.
Dismissed by unpublished per curiam opinion.
Donald L. Spencer, Appellant Pro Se.
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
Decided: May 30, 2017
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Donald L. Spencer seeks to appeal the district court’s order dismissing as
successive and unauthorized his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (2012) petition. The order is not
appealable unless a circuit justice or judge issues a certificate of appealability. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c)(1)(A) (2012). A certificate of appealability will not issue absent “a substantial
showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2) (2012). When
the district court denies relief on the merits, a prisoner satisfies this standard by
demonstrating that reasonable jurists would find that the district court’s assessment of the
constitutional claims is debatable or wrong. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484
(2000); see Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 336-38 (2003). When the district court
denies relief on procedural grounds, the prisoner must demonstrate both that the
dispositive procedural ruling is debatable, and that the petition states a debatable claim of
the denial of a constitutional right. Slack, 529 U.S. at 484-85.
We have independently reviewed the record and conclude that Spencer has not
made the requisite showing. Accordingly, we deny Spencer’s motion for a certificate of
appealability, deny him leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and dismiss the appeal. We
dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately
presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional
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