United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [DKT. NO.
63], GRANTING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [DKT. NO.
27], AND DISMISSING THE PETITION WITH PREJUDICE [DKT. NO.
M. KEELEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
17, 2017, the pro se petitioner, Michael Curtis
Reynolds ("Reynolds"), filed a Petition for Habeas
Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241
("Petition"), attacking the validity of his
conviction and sentence (Dkt. No. 1). For the reasons that
follow, the Court ADOPTS the magistrate
judge's Report and Recommendation ("R&R")
(Dkt. No. 63) and DENIES
2007, following a five-day jury trial, Reynolds was convicted
of several crimes related to terrorism, including attempting
to provide material support to a foreign terrorist
organization (al-Quada); attempting to coordinate damage to
an interstate gas pipeline facility through force or
explosion; and possessing an unregistered grenade, ail of
which related to his use of an online message board and email
messages to solicit help with an apparent terrorist plot. The
District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
sentenced Reynolds to a total term of 360 months of
incarceration. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
denied his appeal, in which he had alleged that there was
insufficient evidence to connect him to incriminating e-mails
sent to an undercover officer posing as a terrorist. See
Reynolds v. United States of America, 374 Fed.Appx. 356
(3d Cir. 2010).
claims here that it was a "physical impossibility"
for him to have committed the crimes for which he was
convicted (Dkt. No. 1 at 6). Specifically, he argues that no
"use" of email could have occurred because he did
not possess a computer monitor and could not
"teach" other individuals about his terror plot
absent the sending of emails. Id. He also claims
that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fabricated or
planted evidence in order to obtain the convictions against
him. Id. at 6-7. In addition, he contends that
certain information contained in his Presentence
Investigation (PSI) was "falsifi[ed]" to enhance
his sentence. Id. at 7. For relief, Reynolds seeks
release or, in the alternative, an evidentiary hearing.
Id. at 8.
to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and the local rules, the Court
referred the Petition to the Honorable Michael J.
Aloi, United States Magistrate Judge, for
initial review. After being directed to show cause, the
respondent moved to dismiss the Petition (Dkt. No. 27) . In a
lengthy and thorough R&R, Magistrate Judge Aloi
recommended that the Court deny the Petition and dismiss the
case with prejudice (Dkt. No. 63). After carefully outlining
the claims presented in each of Reynolds' previously
filed § 2255 motions and § 224i petitions, as well
as the manner in which each case had been resolved,
" the R&R concluded that each of
the claims raised in the Petition are "identical to
those already repeatedly denied by the sentencing court, this
Court, and other districts." id. At 28-30.
Accordingly, the R&R concluded that the Petition should
be denied and dismissed as successive and an abuse of the
writ of habeas corpus. Id. at 30.
R&R also informed Reynolds of his right to file
"written objections identifying the portions of the
Recommendation to which objections are made and the basis for
such objections." LcL. at 33. It further warned him that
the failure to do so may result in waiver of his right to
appeal. Id. The Court received Reynolds' timely
objections on May 21, 2018 (Dkt. No. 66).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Pro Se Pleadings
Reynolds is acting pro se, the Court must liberally
construe his pleadings. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976); hoe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291,
1295 (4th Cir. 1978). A pro se complaint is subject
to dismissal, however, if the Court cannot reasonably read
the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff
could prevail. Rarnett v. Harqett, 174 F.3d 1128,
1133 (10th Cir. 1999). A court may not construct the
plaintiff's legal arguments for him, nor should it
"conjure up questions never squarely presented."
Reaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278
(4th Cir. 1985).
Review of the R&R
reviewing a magistrate judge's R&R, the Court must
review de novo only those portions to which an
objection is timely made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) (1) (C) .
On the other hand, "the Court may adopt, without
explanation, any of the magistrate judge's
recommendations to which the prisoner does not object."
Dellacirprete v. Gutierrez, 479 F.Supp.2d 600,
603-04 (N.D. W.Va. 2007) (citing Camby v. Davis, 718
F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983)} . Courts will uphold those
portions of a recommendation to which no objection has been
made unless they are "clearly erroneous." See
Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co., 416
F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) .
objections to an R&R distract a district court from
"focusing on disputed issues" and defeat the
purpose of an initial screening by the magistrate judge.
McPherson v. Astrue, 605 F.Supp.2d 744, 749 (S.D.
W.Va. 2009) (citing Howard's Yellow Cabs, Inc. v.
United States, 987 F.Supp. 469, 474 (W.D. N.C. 1997)).
Failure to raise specific errors waives the claimant's
right to a de novo review because "general and
conclusory" objections do not warrant such review.
Id. (citing Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d
44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982); Howard's Yellow Cabs,
987 F.Supp. at 474); see also Green v. Rubenstein,
64 4 F.Supp.2d 723 (S.D. W.Va. 2009). Indeed, failure to file
specific objections waives appellate review of both factual
and legal questions. See United States v. Schronce,
72 7 F.2d 91, 94 & n.4 (4th Cir. 1984); see also
Moore v. United States, 950 F.2d 656, 659 (10th Cir.