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Williams v. Phillips

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


September 17, 2007

ALBERT WILLIAMS, PETITIONER,
v.
WILLIAM PHILLIPS, SUPERINTENDENT OF GREEN HAVEN CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, RESPONDENT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kimba M. Wood, U.S.D.J.

ORDER

Petitioner Albert Williams ("Petitioner") is currently serving two concurrent terms of twenty-five years to life after a jury convicted him of first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy. He has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, arguing: (1) that his speedy trial rights were violated; and (2) that he was denied the effective assistance of appellate counsel. Petitioner subsequently withdrew his speedy trial claim.

Magistrate Judge Frank Maas issued a Report and Recommendation (the "R&R") recommending that the Court deny the habeas petition.*fn1 Petitioner timely filed objections to the R&R.

The Court notes at the outset that "pro se litigants generally are entitled to a liberal construction of their pleadings, which should be read 'to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'" Green v. United States, 260 F.3d 78, 83 (2d Cir. 2001) (quoting Graham v. Henderson, 89 F.3d 75, 79 (2d Cir. 1996); Williams v. Kullman, 722 F.2d 1048, 1050 (2d Cir. 1981). When a magistrate judge issues a report and recommendation, the appropriate standard of review to be applied by the reviewing district court depends on whether objections are filed. See Nuetzel v. Walsh, No. 00-CV-8776, 2006 WL 2742000, at *1, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69583, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 26, 2006). Where, as here, "objections are merely perfunctory responses, argued in an attempt to engage the district court in a rehashing of the same arguments set forth in the original petition, reviewing courts should review a report and recommendation for clear error.'" Id. (quoting Edwards v. Fischer, 414 F. Supp. 2d 342, 346-47 (S.D.N.Y. 2006)). Because Petitioner's objections -- even construed liberally -- repeat arguments that Petitioner has previously made, and do not allege that Magistrate Judge Maas made any specific errors, the Court will review the R&R for clear error. See id.

The Court has reviewed the R&R, and finds it to be well-reasoned and free of any "clear error on the face of the record." Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b) advisory committee's note; see also Nelson v. Smith, 618 F. Supp. 1186, 1189 (S.D.N.Y. 1985). The Court therefore accepts and adopts the R&R.


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