United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
C. DEVER III, Chief United States District Judge.
January 3, 2017, Magistrate Judge Numbers issued a Memorandum
and Recommendation ("M&R") [D.E. 28]. In that
M&R, Judge Numbers recommended that respondent's
motion for summary judgment [D.E. 18] be granted and that
Willie James Dean, Jr.'s ("Dean") petition for
a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 be
denied. On January 17, 2017 Dean filed objections to the
M&R [D.E. 29]. As explained below, the court overrules
Dean's objections, adopts the findings and conclusions in
the M&R, and grants respondent's motion for summary
Federal Magistrates Act requires a district court to make a
de novo determination of those portions of the magistrate
judge's report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made." Diamond
v. Colonial Life & Accident Tns. Co.. 416
F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (emphasis, alteration, and
quotation omitted); see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Absent a
timely objection, "a district court need not conduct a
de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that
there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to
accept the recommendation." Diamond. 416 F .3d
at 315 (quotation omitted). Moreover, the court need not
conduct a de novo review where a party makes only
"general and conclusory objections that do not direct
the court to a specific error in the magistrate's
proposed findings and recommendations." Orpiano v.
Johnson. 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982); Wells v.
Shriners Hosp.. 109 F.3d 198, 200-01 (4th Cir. 1997).
"Section 636(b)(1) does not countenance a form of
generalized objection to cover all issues addressed by the
magistrate judge; it contemplates that a party's
objection to a magistrate judge's report be specific and
particularized, as the statute directs the district court to
review only those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is
made." United States v. Midgette. 478 F.3d 616,
621 (4th Cir. 2007).
objections reiterate arguments stated in his petition, and
his objections do not meaningfully address the M&R.
Compare [D.E. 29], with [D.E. 1]. Because
Dean's boilerplate objections do not meaningfully address
the M&R, de novo review is not required. See,
e.g.. Wells. 109 F.3d at 200-01;
Orpiano. 687 F.2d at 47.
Dean's objections lack merit. Dean, a state inmate
proceeding pro se, pleaded guilty in Cumberland County
Superior Court to second degree murder, robbery with a
dangerous weapon ("RWDW"), assault with a deadly
weapon inflicting serious injury ("AWDWISI"), and
malicious conduct by a prisoner on September 5, 2014. Pet.
[D.E. 1] 1. Pursuant to the terms of his plea bargain, Dean
was sentenced to consecutive terms of 160-204 months
imprisonment for second degree murder and malicious conduct
by a prisoner and 70-96 months imprisonment for RWDW. [D.E.
20-3]. Dean was also sentenced to a concurrent term of 20-33
months imprisonment for AWDWISI. Id. Dean did not
appeal. Pet. at 2.
habeas petition, Dean argues: (1) ineffective assistance of
counsel concerning his guilty plea; (2) ineffective
assistance of counsel because counsel failed to notify him of
his right to appeal; (3) his guilty plea was involuntary; (4)
the state court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction due to
various alleged defects in his indictment; and, (5) he was
denied equal protection. See [D.E. 1].
M&R applies the appropriate standard of review. See
M&R 2-3. Dean's sworn statements during his guilty
plea colloquy doom his claim that his guilty plea was
involuntary. See [D.E. 20-1]. As the M&R notes,
the record demonstrates that Dean's guilty plea was
knowing and voluntary. [D.E. 20-1]; M&R 8-9; see
Blackledge v. Allison. 431 U.S. 63, 73-74 (1977). As
for Dean's claim that counsel rendered ineffective
assistance concerning his guilty plea, the claim fails as to
performance and prejudice. See M&R 4-6; Premo v.
Moore. 131 S.Ct. 733, 739-46 (2013).
Dean's claim that counsel was ineffective by failing to
notify him of his statutory right to appeal, the claim fails.
See M&R 6-8. Dean does not argue that he explicitly
directed counsel to file an appeal on his behalf. See
Id. Rather, Dean argues that counsel violated his
duty to consult with Dean regarding an appeal. See
In Roe v. Flores-Ortega, 528 U.S. 470 (2000), the
Supreme Court stated that:
counsel has a constitutionally imposed duty to consult with
the defendant about an appeal when there is reason to think
either (1) that a rational defendant would want to appeal
(for example, because there are nonfrivolous grounds for
appeal), or (2) that this particular defendant reasonably
demonstrated to counsel that he was interested in appealing.
Id. at 480. Dean has not presented any evidence to
establish either prong under Flores-Ortega. Indeed,
the record evidence suggests otherwise. See [D.E. 20-1];
M&R 6-7. Thus, the claim fails.
Dean's attack on the state court's subject-matter
jurisdiction, the M&R properly analyzed and rejected the
argument. See M&R 9-10.
Dean alleges that "Equal Protection of the Law was
violated, due to the fact that other 1st. time felony
offenders with similar crimes in similar circumstances
received lesser sentences for worser crimes." Pet. 10
(quotation omitted). "To succeed on an equal protection
claim, [Dean] 'must first demonstrate that he has been
treated differently from others with whom he is similarly
situated and that the unequal treatment was the result of
intentional or purposeful discrimination.'"
Veney v. Wvche, 293 F.3d 726, 730-31 (4th Cir. 2002)
(quotation omitted). Dean has failed to allege any facts or
to provide any evidence to suggest that his sentence was
based on purposeful discrimination, and the record lacks any
support for this claim. See M&R 10-12. Accordingly, the
after reviewing the M&R, the record, and Dean's
objections, the court ADOPTS the findings and conclusions in
the M&R [D.E. 28] and OVERRULES Dean's objections
[D.E. 29]. Respondent's motion for summary judgment [D.E.
18] is GRANTED, and Dean's petition is DISMISSED. The
court denies a certificate of appealability. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 2253(c); Miller-El v. Cockrell,537 ...