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Sears v. Williams

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

July 27, 2015

ROBERT ALLAN SEARS, Movant,
v.
WARDEN STANLEY WILLIAMS, Respondent.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

G. R. SMITH, Magistrate Judge.

"Robert Allen Sears was tried by a Chatham County jury and convicted of the murder of Isaiah Lovett, aggravated assault, and possession of a knife during the commission of a felony." Sears v. State, 292 Ga. 64, 64 (2012). Following affirmance of his conviction, Sears says he filed for state habeas relief, doc. 3-1 at 4-5, but does not say when, only that it was denied, with the denial affirmed on January or June 12, 2015 (his writing is illegible). Id. at 5. He now petitions this Court for 28 U.S.C. § 2254 relief, doc. 3-1, and moves for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Doc. 2. Finding him indigent, the Court GRANTS his IFP motion (doc. 2), but upon preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Rule 4, his petition must be dismissed.

Timeliness issues aside, [1] Sears' petition is dead on arrival. Here is a snapshot of his claims (in raw, unedited form):

(A) Appellate Counsel Was Ineffective

(1 a) For failure to cite the instance of Brady violations that void the trial
(2 a) for failure to cite an ineffective assistance claim against trial counse, for his failure to protect Petitioner, by ensuring the victim prior violent acts were presented to the jury for innocence consideration.
(3 a) For failing to cite the available D.N.A. evidence present to prove innocence
(4 a) For failing to cite Confrontation issue present in this case that voids the trial
(5 a) For failing to cite instances of prosecutorial misconduct that voids the trial
(6 a) For failing to cite the instances of judicial misconduct that "Voids" the trial

(B) Ineffective Assistance of Trial Counsel.

Doc. 3-1 at 7.

Under the Eleventh Circuit's heightened pleading standard for habeas claims, Sears' "allegations must be factual and specific, not conclusory. Conclusory allegations are simply not enough to warrant a hearing." Chavez v. Sec'y Fla. Dep't of Corrs., 647 F.3d 1057, 1061 (11th Cir. 2011); see also Borden v. Allen, 646 F.3d 785, 810 (11th Cir. 2011) (applying a heightened pleading requirement in habeas cases and noting that "[t]he evidence supporting an [IAC] claim is available following the conviction, if not before. Whatever the claim, though, the petitioner is, or should be, aware of the evidence to support the claim before bringing his petition."); Gerwald v. United States, 2014 WL 1681506 at * 3 n. 5 (S.D.Ga. Apr. 28, 2014). Thus, § 2254 petitioners

cannot simply laundry-list their claims and hope that the court will develop (hence, litigate) them on their behalf. Holmes v. United States, 876 F.2d 1545, 1553 (11th Cir. 1989) (no hearing required on claims "which are based on unsupported generalizations"); Rodriguez v. United States, 473 F.2d 1042, 1043 (5th Cir. 1973) (no hearing required where petitioner alleged no facts to establish truth of his claims beyond bare conclusory allegations)." Jeffcoat v. Brown, 2014 WL 1319369 at *8 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 27, 2014); Bartley v. United States, 2013 WL 6234694 at * 2-3 (S.D.Ga. Dec. 2, 2013) (§ 2255 claims bereft of argument and citation to the record may be denied on pleading-deficiency grounds alone); see also Johnson v. Razdan, 2014 WL 1689021 at * 2 (11th ...

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