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Stephen Michael Gaultney v. David Ballard

December 5, 2012

STEPHEN MICHAEL GAULTNEY, PETITIONER,
v.
DAVID BALLARD, WARDEN, MOUNT OLIVE CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David A. Faber Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Pending before the court was Stephen Gaultney's Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody. By Standing Order, the action was referred to United States Magistrate R. Clarke VanDervort for submission of findings of fact and recommendations regarding disposition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). Magistrate Judge VanDervort submitted his Findings and Recommendation ("PF&R") to the court on August 8, 2012, in which he recommended that the court grant respondent's motion for summary judgment, dismiss the petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody, and remove this matter from the court's active docket.

In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), the parties were allotted fourteen days plus three mailing days in which to file any objections to Magistrate Judge VanDervort's Findings and Recommendations. The failure of any party to file such objections constitutes a waiver of such party's right to a de novo review by this court. Snyder v. Ridenour, 889 F.2d 1363 (4th Cir. 1989). Plaintiff's objections were received by the district court on August 28, 2012. Defendant contends that plaintiff's objections were not timely filed. Given operation of the "mailbox rule" of Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988), wherein a document is deemed filed by a prisoner when it is delivered to prison officials for mailing, the court finds that plaintiff's objections are timely. Accordingly, plaintiff's motion to strike defendant's reply (Doc. No. 75) is DENIED as moot. With respect to plaintiff's objections, the court conducted a de novo review and, on September 28, 2012, granted respondent's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The reasons for that decision follow.

Gaultney first objects that Magistrate Judge VanDervort failed to rule on all the issues that were raised in his petition. Specifically, plaintiff contends that the PF&R failed to address the following claims:

1. That Gaultney was convicted in violation of his right against self-incrimination when he was compelled to participate in three separate psychiatric and psychological examinations.

2. Erroneous instruction on transferred intent.

3. State's use of defendant's statements to police, solicited while in State custody and where defendant could not knowingly and intelligently waive his right to counsel, was improper.

4. The trial court erred when it refused Gaultney's self defense instructions.

5. The trial court erred in denying a motion for a new trial since the State proved neither malice nor premeditation.

Objections at 3-6.

In his PF&R, Magistrate Judge VanDervort listed the eighteen grounds for relief asserted by Gaultney in his petition:

1. Voluntariness of statement given to arresting detective due to drug intoxication and totality of circumstances.

2. The Grand Jury proceeding was tainted by misconduct, thus invalidating the indictment ...


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