Saunders v. Warden of Broad River Prison
ORDER AND OPINION re 39 MOTION for Leave to File Nunc Pro Tunc filed by Turuk Saunders. The Court directs Respondent's counsel to make independent inquiry with the person(s) who allegedly signed the questioned docum ents to determine if they are authentic. The information requested in the Order shall be submitted to the Court by Respondent's counsel on or before July 7, 2017. Further details set forth in Order. Signed by Honorable Richard M Gergel on 6/8/2017. (ssam, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Turuk Saunders, #199803,
Warden, Broad River Correctional Instit.,
Case No 2:16-cv-1724-RMG
ORDER AND OPINION
Turuk Saunders ("Petitioner"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this action on May
27,2016, seeking habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Dkt. No. 1.) On March 9, 2017, this
Court adopted the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation to grant Respondent's
motion for summary judgment and deny the habeas petition. (Dkt. No. 28.) In that Order, the
Court construed Petitioner's untimely objections (Dkt. No. 27), mailed after the deadline for
objections, as a motion to reconsider. The Court later denied Petitioner's motion to alter or
amend that judgment. (Dkt. No. 32.)
Petitioner has now filed a motion, received on June 5, 2017, asking the Court to accept his
objections to the Magistrate's Report and Recommendation as timely filed. (Dkt. No. 39). In this
motion, Petitioner represents that on February 16, 2017, Postal Director Morley "himself signed,
notarized, and accepted my Objections from my prison cell #2051." (Dkt. No. 39-1 at 1.)
Although the Petitioner did not provide this "notarized" document when filing this most recent
motion, he appears to be referencing a certificate of service previously filed with the Court
indicating that the objections were mailed on February 16,2017.
"notarized" certificate of service indicates that the notary's commission expires on September
16, 2026. (ld). This "notarized" certificate of service is inconsistent with the stamped envelope
which came with Petitioner's objections and this certificate of service, which bears two stamps
indicating that the mailroom received the envelope and documents on either February 28 or
March 1,2017, not February 16,2017. (Dkt. No. 27-2).
Petitioner also indicates in his June 5, 2017 filing that he has "a signed affidavit" from
'"the BRCI Postal Director" supporting his claim that he delivered his objections to the prison
mailroom on February 16,2017. (Dkt. No. 39-1). There is an undated letter from "Morley,
S.C," the "BRCI Postal Director," stating that Petitioner gave him "legal mail" on February 16,
2017 and that he mailed the material the following day, February 17,2017. (Dkt.No. 39-2).
This undated letter is not notarized or otherwise sworn and appears to bear the same signature as
the person who notarized the certificate of service attesting to the February 16,2017 receipt date
in the prison mail room and other notarized documents submitted in this case. (Dkt. Nos.
8; 31 at 5, 6; 39-1). Further, the date provided for the expiration of the commission of this
"notary" is variably given as September 16,2026, September 16,2027, and May 30, 2017. (ld.)
Based upon the apparent inconsistencies and irregularities in the submitted documents,
the Court directs Respondent's counsel to make independent inquiry with the person(s) who
allegedly signed the questioned documents to determine if they are authentic. To the extent that
.\Ilr. Morley, the alleged Postal Director of BRCI and author of the undated letter (Dkt. No. 39-2),
does verify the information contained in the undated letter, he should certify the statement under
oath and have it notarized by a duly qualified notary public.
He should also explain the
discrepancy between the date he states in the certificate of service (Dkt. No 27 at 8) that he
allegedly received Petitioner's objections, February 16, 2017, and the date stamped on the
envelope indicating receipt in themailroomon February 28 and/or March 1,2017 (Dkt.No. 272). This information shall be submitted to the Court on or before July 7, 2017.
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.
United States District Court Judge
Charleston, South Carolina
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