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Chestnut v. White

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

March 4, 2014

GEORGE CHESTNUT, Petitioner,
v.
SUSAN WHITE, Administrator, Mountain View Correctional Institution, Respondent.

ORDER

ROBERT J. CONRAD, Jr., District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on consideration of Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment on the claims presented by Petitioner in his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons that follow, Respondent's Motion will granted and Petitioner's Section 2254 petition will be denied and dismissed.

I. BACKGROUND

Petitioner is presently a prisoner of the State of North Carolina who was sentenced in Mecklenburg County Superior Court in 2010 following his entry of guilty pleas to two counts of felony breaking and entering, two counts of larceny after breaking or entering, two counts of credit card theft, and one count of obtaining property by false pretenses. As part of the plea agreement, Petitioner admitted that he had attained the status of habitual felon and the State and Petitioner agreed that the convictions could be consolidated for sentencing. On June 10, 2011, Petitioner appeared with counsel before the superior court and was sentenced to a term of 67-90 months' imprisonment. (Doc. No. 5-2: Transcript of Plea; Doc. No. 5-3: Judgment and Commitment). Petitioner did not appeal.

On May 3, 2012, Petitioner prepared a pro se motion for appropriate relief (MAR) which was filed in the Mecklenburg County Superior Court and was summarily denied. (Doc. Nos. 5-4 and 5-5). On June 13, 2012, the North Carolina Court of Appeals denied Petitioner's petition for a writ of certiorari. (Doc. No. 5-8). The present federal habeas petition was docketed in this Court on September 11, 2012, and the Respondent has filed a motion for summary judgment, and Petitioner has filed a response and a pro se motion for summary judgment. Petitioner's arguments will be addressed in turn herein.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, and it appears that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2); United States v. Lee , 943 F.2d 366, 368 (4th Cir. 1991). Any permissible inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986). Where, however, the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, summary judgment is appropriate. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).

B. Section 2254 Standard

In addition to the motion for summary judgment standard set forth above, this Court must also consider the requirements set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which provide, in relevant part, that an application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim-

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see also Tice v. Johnson , 647 F.3d 87, 103 (4th Cir. 2011).

A claim is considered "adjudicated on the merits" when it is "substantively reviewed and finally determined as evidenced by the state court's issuance of a formal judgment or decree..." Young v. Catoe , 205 F.3d 750, 755 (4th Cir. 2000) (quoting Thomas v. Davis , 192 F.3d 445, 455 n.2 (4th Cir. 1999)). A state court adjudication is "contrary to" clearly established federal law only if "the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the United States Supreme] Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than [the United States Supreme] Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts." Williams v. Taylor , 529 U.S. 362, 412-13 (2000). "It is not enough for us to say that, confronted with the same facts, we would have applied the law differently; we can accord [the petitioner] a remedy only by concluding that the state court's application of the law in his case was objectively unreasonable." See Tice , 647 F.3d at 103 (citing Williams v. Ozmint , 494 F.3d 478, 483-84 (4th ...


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