Vaughn v. South Carolina, The State of
ORDER adopting 37 Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks, granting 22 Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissing casewith prejudice. The Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability in this matter. Signed by Honorable G Ross Anderson, Jr on 2/14/13.(hhil, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Timothy J. Vaughn, #317474,
Anthony Padula, Warden,
C/A No.: 2:11-3111-GRA-BHH
This matter comes before the court for a review of United States Magistrate
Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks’ Report and Recommendation made in accordance
with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), D.S.C, and filed on
January 28, 2013. Petitioner Timothy J. Vaughn (“Petitioner”), an inmate currently in
state custody at Lee Correctional Institution, brought this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 on February 8, 2011.1 ECF No. 1. Respondent moved for summary
judgment on April 17, 2012, and the Court sent Petitioner an order pursuant to
Roseboro v. Garrison, 428 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), explaining the summary
judgment process and instructing Petitioner that he had thirty-four days to respond to
the motion. ECF Nos. 22 & 24. Petitioner filed a response in opposition on August
13, 2013. ECF No. 34. Magistrate Judge Hendricks now recommends that this Court
grant Respondent’s motion for summary judgment and Petitioner’s § 2254 petition be
Prisoner petitions are deemed filed at the time that they are delivered to prison authorities for mailing
to the court clerk. Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 276 (1988). The envelope Petitioner used to file the
§ 2254 petition is stamped “received” by Lee Correctional Institution Mail Room on November 10,
2011, and the postmark reveals that the petition was mailed that same day. However, as Judge
Hendricks did in her Report and Recommendation, the Court will assume a filing date of February 8,
2011, which is the date Petitioner indicates that his § 2254 petition was placed in the prison mailing
system. See ECF No. 1 at 14.
Page 1 of 4
dismissed with prejudice as untimely under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). Report & Recommendation, ECF No. 37.
Standard of Review
Petitioner brings this claim pro se. This Court is required to construe pro se
pleadings liberally. Such pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those
drafted by attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). This
Court is charged with liberally construing a pleading filed by a pro se litigant to allow
for the development of a potentially meritorious claim. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S.
364, 365 (1982). A court may not construct the petitioner’s legal arguments for him,
Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411 (7th Cir. 1993), nor is a district court required to
recognize “obscure or extravagant claims defying the most concerted efforts to
unravel them,” Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985).
The magistrate makes only a recommendation to the Court.
recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final
determination remains with the Court. Matthews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270–71
(1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions
of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. Accordingly,
this Court may “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
In the absence of objections to the Report and Recommendation, this Court is
not required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983).
Page 2 of 4
Petitioner timely filed an Objection to the Report and Recommendation on
February 7, 2013. ECF No. 39. Specifically, Petitioner objects to Magistrate Judge
Hendricks’ finding that he is not entitled to equitable tolling. However, the Court finds
that his objection is without merit.
Under the AEDPA, an inmate who is incarcerated “pursuant to the judgment of
a State court” and who seeks federal post-conviction habeas relief is subject to a oneyear statute of limitations. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). However, this one-year limitations
period may be equitably tolled in some situations. Holland v. Florida, 560 U.S. ___,
130 S.Ct. 2549, 2562 (2010). In order to have the limitations period tolled, a
petitioner must show (1) that he has been pursuing his rights diligently and (2) that
some extraordinary circumstance stood in his way and prevented timely filing. Id.
As correctly calculated in the Report and Recommendation, Petitioner’s
habeas petition had to be filed on or before December 2, 2010. See Report &
Recommendation, ECF No. 37. Petitioner’s § 2254 petition was not filed until
February 8, 2011. Yet, Petitioner claims in his objection that he should be entitled to
equitable tolling of the limitations period. Petitioner asserts that he was placed on
“administration protected custody” in the month of December 2010 and that this
caused him to miss the one-year deadline. See ECF No. 39.
The Court finds that Petitioner’s § 2254 petition is untimely and simply cannot
be salvaged by equitable tolling principles. Petitioner fails to show in his objection
that he had been pursuing his rights diligently in the one year prior to him being
placed in “administration protected custody” in December of 2010—the month the
Page 3 of 4
limitations period ended. Moreover, being placed in protective custody does not rise
to the level of an extraordinary circumstance beyond Petitioner’s control enough to
warrant the extraordinary remedy of equitable tolling. See Bogan v. South Carolina,
204 F. App’x 160, 160 (4th Cir. 2006) (“Recourse to equitable tolling must be guarded
and infrequent.”). Accordingly, Petitioner’s objection is without merit, and he is not
entitled to equitable tolling.
After a thorough review of the record, the Report and Recommendation, and
the relevant case law, this Court finds that the Magistrate Judge applied sound
principles to the facts of this case. Therefore, this Court adopts the magistrate’s
Report and Recommendation in its entirety.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT Respondent’s Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED and that Petitioner’s § 2254 Petition is DISMISSED with
prejudice. The Court declines to issue a certificate of appealability in this matter.2
IT IS SO ORDERED.
February 14 , 2013
Anderson, South Carolina
When a district court issues a final ruling on a habeas petition, the court must issue or deny a certificate of
appealability. See Rule 11(a) of the Rules governing 28 U.S.C. § 2254 & 2255. The Court has reviewed its order
and, pursuant to Rule 11(a), declines to issue a certificate of appealability as Petitioner has not made a
substantial showing of a denial of a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2), see Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S.
473, 484 (2000) (holding that, to satisfy § 2253(c), “a petitioner must demonstrate that reasonable jurists would
find the district court’s assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong.”).
Page 4 of 4
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?