United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
DARNELL JONES, II J.
NOW, this 24th day of May, 2019, upon
consideration of the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (ECF
No. 1), the Commonwealth's Response thereto (ECF No. 6),
the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate
Judge Carol Sandra Moore Wells (ECF No. 27), Petitioner's
Objections thereto (ECF No. 28), the Commonwealth's
Response to Petitioner's Objections (ECF No. 31), and
Petitioner's Motion for Appointment of Counsel (ECF No.
25), it is hereby ORDERED that:
Petitioner's Objections are OVERRULED;
Report and Recommendation is APPROVED AND ADOPTED;
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus is DISMISSED and DENIED,
without an evidentiary hearing;
Petitioner has neither shown denial of a federal
constitutional right, nor established that reasonable jurists
would disagree with this court's procedural disposition
of his claims. Consequently, a certificate of appealability
is DENIED; and, 5. Petitioner's Motion for Appointment of
Counsel is DENIED.
 After having been convicted for
operating a methamphetamine lab, Pet. 1 (ECF numbering used
with respect to the Petition), Petitioner Michael Williams,
an inmate at the State Correctional Institution
(“SCI”) in Frackville, PA, filed a pro
se habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Petitioner seeks to have the charges against him dropped, his
sentence vacated, and the assistant district attorney on his
case prosecuted for falsification of evidence. Pet.
Upon referral from this Court, the Honorable Carol
Sandra Moore Wells, United States Magistrate Judge, prepared
a Report and Recommendation, recommending denial of
Petitioner's request for habeas relief. (ECF No. 27.)
Petitioner filed objections to Judge Wells'
recommendation. (ECF No. 28.) Respondents answered
Petitioner's objections. (ECF No. 31.)
When objections are filed to the R&R of a
Magistrate Judge, the district court must conduct a de
novo review of those portions of the R&R to which
objections are made. 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1). If there are
no objections to the R&R, or when reviewing those
portions of the R&R to which no objections are directed,
the court, as a matter of good practice, should
“satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the
face of the record in order to accept the
recommendation.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b), advisory committee
notes; see also Oldrati v. Apfel, 33 F.Supp.2d 397,
399 (E.D. Pa. 1998) (“In the absence of a timely
objection . . . this Court will review [the Magistrate's]
Report and Recommendation for ‘clear
error.'”) (citations omitted). “Objections
which merely rehash an argument presented to and considered
by a magistrate judge are not entitled to de novo
review.” Gray v. Delbiaso, CIVIL ACTION NO.
14-4902, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101835, at *11 (E.D. Pa. Jun.
30, 2017). “Where objections do not respond to the
Magistrate's recommendation, but rather restate
conclusory statements from the original petition, the
objections should be overruled.” Prout v.
Giroux, CIVIL ACTION NO. 14-3816, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
57085, at *30 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 29, 2016). “[F]ederal
district courts are not required to engage in de novo review
of objections to a Magistrate's R&R that lack
specificity.” Guzman v. Rozum, CIVIL ACTION
NO. 13-7083, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55661, at *22 (E.D. Pa.
Apr. 12, 2017). Courts should give liberal construction to
pro se habeas petitions. Rainey v. Varner, 603 F.3d
189, 198 (3d Cir. 2010).
Petitioner raises five topics in his Objections. He
argues the results of his trial are based on perjury. Obj.
1-3, 6 (Petitioner's numbering used with respect to the
Objections). He argues he was the victim of prosecutorial
misconduct. Obj. 3. He argues his conviction is based on an
unconstitutional search and seizure and his trial counsel was
ineffective. Obj. 3-5. Finally, he attacks the reliability of
the evidence used to convict him. Obj. 7-9. However,
Petitioner's objections are generally not responsive to
Judge Wells' Report and Recommendation. They do not
discuss the reasoning or the law employed by Judge Wells.
Rather, they rehash arguments Petitioner presented in his
habeas petition. Compare Pet. 5 with Obj.
3-5 (both arguing ineffective assistance of counsel), Pet. 5
with Obj. 2-4 (both arguing the prosecution suborned
perjury), Pet. 7, 11 with Obj. 7-9 (both arguing
forensic scientist testimony and laboratory test results were
not reliable evidence), Pet. 5, 9, 11 with Obj. 3-5
(both arguing illegal search and seizure due to lack of valid
warrant). See also Obj. 1 (discussing errors in the
trial process, not errors in the Report and Recommendation).
Because Petitioner's objections rehash arguments from his
habeas Petition, they are overruled. Gray, 2017 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS at *11; Prout, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS at
*30. Furthermore, even under a liberal reading,
Petitioner's objections lack specificity, point to no
supporting evidence, and are conclusory. They are overruled
for those reasons as well. Guzman, 2017 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS at *22; Prout, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS at
Having overruled Petitioner's Objections, this
Court does not conduct a de novo review but rather
reviews Judge Wells' Report and Recommendation for clear
error. Finding none, this ...