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Williams v. Allen

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

March 22, 2017

MARTIN ALLEN, Warden, Respondent.


         Ronnie Williams, currently incarcerated at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia, once again (for at least the twelfth time) asks for habeas relief on his state criminal conviction despite the Court's unambiguous warning that further requests for recalculation of his sentence would expose him to further sanctions. See Williams v. Allen, No. CV416-324, doc. 5 (imposing $500 sanction after petitioner filed an eleventh petition for habeas relief, despite prior warnings). Yet again, the Court notes that:

Petitioner has wasted this Court's resources several times through the years with unmeritorious (and unauthorized) successive attempts at habeas relief from his state court conviction and sentence. See Williams v. Owens, No. 412CV019 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 28, 2012) (R&R recommending dismissal of his fifth § 2254 attempt). See also Williams v. State Board of Pardon and Paroles, No. 408CV105 (S.D. Ga. Nov. 19, 2008); Williams v. Barrow, No. 405CV167 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 24, 2005); Williams v. Johnson, No. 403CV069 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 16, 2003); Williams v. Johnson, No. 402CV044 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 14, 2002); Williams v. Smith, No. 495CV176 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 4, 1995). And that is just in the Southern District of Georgia.

Byson, No. CV416-232, doc. 6 at n. 1; see also Williams v. Toole, CV414-088 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 7, 2015) (denying his seventh § 2254 petition on the merits).[1] Yet, petitioner returns again without authorization from the Eleventh Circuit and "[w]ithout so much as a hint that he has run his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 claims through this Court [nine] times before, " to challenge the calculation and application of his state sentence. CV412-019, doc. 4 at 1.

         "Before a second or successive application permitted by this section is filed in the district court, the applicant shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court to consider the application." 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A). Because Williams sought no such permission, this Court "is not at liberty to consider" his ninth § 2254 petition. Smalls v. St. Lawrence, 2012 WL 1119766 at * 1 (S.D. Ga. Feb. 27, 2012). Accordingly, his unauthorized successive § 2254 petition, which is otherwise meritless, should be DISMISSED.[2] And, pursuant to the Court's prior Orders in CV416-324 (doc. 5) and CV416-232 (doc. 6), his motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is DENIED. Williams is ORDERED to pay the $5 filing fee within 14 days of this Order.

         By "continuing to raise a claim that he is statutorily prohibited from pursuing" - conduct that the Court repeatedly cautioned him would be considered "vexatious litigation that warrant[s] some type of sanction, " see, e.g., CV 416-324, doc. 5 at 5-6; CV416-232, doc. 6 at 5 -Williams has again crossed the sanctions line. Given the persistence of his abuse, undeterred even in the face of the Court's repeated warnings and recommendation of a $500 sanction (to be collected from his prison account), the time has come to manage an inmate who won't manage himself. In that regard, the Court recognizes that "[a]ccess to the courts is unquestionably a right of considerable constitutional significance, " but it "'is neither absolute nor unconditional.'" Miller v. Donald, 541 F.3d 1091, 1096 (11th Cir. 2008) (quoting Cofield v. Ala. Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 936 F.2d 512, 516 (11th Cir. 1991)). Sometimes, "[conditions and restrictions on [a] person's access are necessary to preserve the judicial resource for all other persons." Id. "Frivolous and vexatious law suits, " like those continually pressed by Williams, "threaten the availability of a well-functioning judiciary to all litigants." Id.[3]

         Accordingly, the Court recommends that the following restrictions be imposed upon petitioner:

         1. As to any future civil actions sought to be commenced in forma pauperis (IFP) by petitioner, the Clerk be DIRECTED[4] to receive the papers, open a single miscellaneous file for tracking purposes, and forward them to the presiding judge for a determination as to whether petitioner qualifies for IFP status and whether he has stated a habeas claim with any arguable merit. Only if the pleading alleges a plausible claim for relief will the Court allow it to be filed. IFP petitions that fail to pass muster shall be DISMISSED without any further judicial action after THIRTY (30) DAYS from the date the Clerk receives the petition, unless the Court orders otherwise. This automatic dismissal of insubstantial claims "will reduce the burden of paper-moving and explanation-writing, conserving a little judicial time for litigants who deserve attention."[5] Thus, although the Court will read and consider any future IFP application and petition that Williams endeavors to file, it will not necessarily enter an order addressing the IFP application or petition. If no order is forthcoming, then THIRTY (30) DAYS after the petition's receipt the Clerk shall, without awaiting any further direction, notify Williams that his case has been dismissed per the form attached as an appendix to this R&R.

         2. The Clerk shall not docket any further petitions, motions or papers in this case. The Clerk also shall not docket any further petitions, motions or papers in a case automatically dismissed pursuant to the directive above -- except for a notice of appeal. Any papers other than a notice of appeal shall be returned to petitioner unfiled. If he files a notice of appeal, the Clerk shall forward a copy of this Order, the notice of appeal, and the dismissed petition to the Court of Appeals. Petitioner shall remain responsible for appellate filing fees or he may move this Court to grant IFP status on appeal.

         3. To ensure that all future pleadings filed by Williams are properly consolidated for review, the Clerk shall personally advise each deputy clerk of the Court's ruling in this case and develop a procedure for ensuring that all future complaints filed by Williams are immediately assigned and forwarded to the presiding district judge in this case, regardless of which divisional clerk's office receives and dockets the papers.

         4. Petitioner may file a motion to modify or rescind the imposition of these restrictions NO EARLIER THAN ONE (1) YEAR from the date of this Order.

         5. A copy of this R&R shall be forwarded to each judicial officer in this district.

         Applying the Certificate of Appealability (COA) standards set forth in Brown v. United States, 2009 WL 307872 at * 1-2 (S.D. Ga. Feb. 9, 2009), the Court discerns no COA-worthy issues at this stage of the litigation, so no COA should issue either. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1); Rule 11(a) of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases ("The district court must issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters a final order adverse to the applicant") (emphasis added). And, as there are no non-frivolous issues to raise on appeal, an appeal would not be taken in good faith. Thus, in forma pauperis status on appeal should likewise be DENIED. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3).

         This R&R is submitted to the district judge assigned to this action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and this Court's Local Rule 72.3. Within 14 days of service, any party may file written objections to this R&R with the Court and serve a copy on all parties. The document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendations." Any request for additional time to file objections should be filed with the Clerk for consideration by the assigned district judge.

         After the objections period has ended, the Clerk shall submit this R&R together with any objections to the assigned district judge. The district judge will review the magistrate judge's findings and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The parties are advised that failure to timely file objections will result in the waiver of rights on appeal. 11th Cir. R. 3-1; see Symonett v. V.A. Leasing ...

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