United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Patricia T. Morris Magistrate Judge
ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS, ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION, DENYING MOTIONS TO VACATE, GRANTING MOTION TO
SUPPLEMENT, GRANTNG MOTION TO DISMISS, DENYING SUPPLEMENTAL
MOTION, DENYING MOTION FOR CREDIT TO FEDERAL SENTENCE,
DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING PERMISSION
TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge
Kwame Amin Matthews pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the
distribution of cocaine on October 8, 2014. ECF. Nos. 78, 95,
98. After being sentenced to 151 months incarceration,
Matthews appealed. ECF Nos. 141, 147. On September 2, 2015,
the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the
government's motion to dismiss the appeal by relying on
the appellate waiver provision in Matthews's plea
agreement. ECF No. 169. On February 4, 2016, Matthews filed a
motion to vacate his sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2255. ECF No.
199. The government filed a motion to dismiss Matthews's
motion to vacate his sentence on February 29, 2016. ECF No.
207. On March 28, 2016, Matthews then filed a motion to
supplement his prior motion. ECF No. 214. The government
countered on April 12, 2016, by filing a motion to deny
Matthew's supplemental motion. ECF No. 217.
his original and supplemental motions, Matthews alleged that
his attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel and
that his guilty plea was not voluntarily made. ECF No. 199 at
1; ECF No. 214 at 1. The government asserted that Matthews
had waived his right to collaterally attack his sentence by
entering into the Rule 11 plea agreement and that Matthews
had waived his voluntariness argument by failing to raise it
on direct appeal or in his initial § 2255 motion. On
July 14, 2016, Judge Morris issued a report recommending that
Matthews's motion to vacate his sentence be denied and
the government's motion to dismiss be granted because
Matthews waived his right to appeal. See Rep. &
Rec. 4-7, ECF No. 239. Judge Morris also recommended that,
even if not waived, the ineffective assistance of counsel
claim should be dismissed because the alleged errors did not
prejudice Matthews. Id. at 7-10. Finally, Judge
Morris recommended that Matthews' motion to supplement
his § 2255 motion be granted and that the
government's motion to deny that supplemental motion be
denied. ECF Nos. 214, 217.
same day Judge Morris issued her report and recommendation,
Matthews filed an “amended motion to vacate
sentence.” ECF No. 240. On August 4, 2016, Matthews
filed two objections to the report and recommendation. ECF
No. 241. Matthews has also filed a motion for a
recommendation that his state jail time be credited to his
federal sentence. ECF No. 242.
objections to the report and recommendation will be addressed
first. Then, his amended motion to vacate his sentence and
his motion for a recommendation that his state jail time be
credited to his federal sentence will be addressed.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72, a party may object to
and seek review of a magistrate judge's report and
recommendation. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2).
Objections must be stated with specificity. Thomas v.
Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 151 (1985) (citation omitted). If
objections are made, “[t]he district judge must
determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's
disposition that has been properly objected to.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). De novo review requires at least a
review of the evidence before the magistrate judge; the Court
may not act solely on the basis of a magistrate judge's
report and recommendation. See Hill v. Duriron Co.,
656 F.2d 1208, 1215 (6th Cir. 1981). After reviewing the
evidence, the Court is free to accept, reject, or modify the
findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge. See
Lardie v. Birkett, 221 F.Supp.2d 806, 807 (E.D. Mich.
those objections that are specific are entitled to a de novo
review under the statute. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d
636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986). “The parties have the duty to
pinpoint those portions of the magistrate's report that
the district court must specially consider.”
Id. (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
A general objection, or one that merely restates the
arguments previously presented, does not sufficiently
identify alleged errors on the part of the magistrate judge.
See VanDiver v. Martin, 304 F.Supp.2d 934, 937 (E.D.
Mich. 2004). An “objection” that does nothing
more than disagree with a magistrate judge's
determination, “without explaining the source of the
error, ” is not considered a valid objection.
Howard v. Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 932
F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991). Without specific objections,
“[t]he functions of the district court are effectively
duplicated as both the magistrate and the district court
perform identical tasks. This duplication of time and effort
wastes judicial resources rather than saving them, and runs
contrary to the purposes of the Magistrate's Act.”
Id. Matthews has presented two objections to the
report and recommendation.
Morris rested her report and recommendation primarily on a
finding that Matthews knowingly and voluntarily entered into
the plea agreement and thus waived his right to appeal or
collaterally attack his conviction and sentence. Judge Morris
noted that “the court, government counsel and defense
counsel all concluded that Petitioner was capable of
tendering a knowing plea . . . and Petitioner was noted to be
following along as government counsel was summarizing the
plea agreement provisions.” Rep & Rec. at 6, ECF
No. 239. Matthews argues that he had been treated at a
hospital for a concussion mere hours before entering into the
plea. Id. at 5. But Judge Morris explained that
“Petitioner does not connect ‘concussion'
with any failure to understand what was happening or any
other symptoms that would prevent his plea from being knowing
or voluntary at the time of the plea taking.”
Id. Judge Morris alternatively found that, even if
the appeal waiver were unenforceable, Matthews's counsel
was not ineffective and thus Matthews is not entitled to
first objection, Matthews again argues that his plea was not
entered into voluntarily. Specifically, he asserts that his
“counsel was ineffective in not requesting a
psychological or medical evaluation” into the
“extent of [Matthews's] head injury” and his
other disorders. Objs. at 1, ECF No. 241. As Matthews
characterizes his objection, his counsel was ineffective for
1) failing to investigate Matthews's medical and
psychological background, 2) obtain a psychological
evaluation of Matthews, and 3) assert psychological and
medical background as “mitigating factors during plea
negotiations or during [the] plea hearing.”
Id. at 2.
has not demonstrated an issue of fact regarding the
voluntariness of his plea. Even if Matthews's allegations
regarding the concussion are accurate, there is no evidence