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United States v. Gravley

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, Pikeville

September 18, 2017

DWAUNE GRAVLEY, Defendant. Civil No. 7:13-cv-7271-GFVT-EBA



         This matter is before the court on the Recommended Disposition filed by United States Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins. [R. 398.] The Defendant, Dwaune Gravley, has filed a pro se motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255 [R. 364] and a supplemental § 2255 Motion to Vacate, Set Aside, or Vacate his Sentence [R. 387]. Consistent with local practice, Judge Atkins reviewed the motion and ultimately recommends that the Court deny both § 2255 motions in their entirety.

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(2), a petitioner has fourteen days after service to register any objections to the Recommended Disposition or else waive his rights to appeal. In order to receive de novo review by this Court, any objection to the recommended disposition must be specific. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986). A specific objection “explain[s] and cite[s] specific portions of the report which [counsel] deem[s] problematic.” Robert v. Tesson, 507 F.3d 981, 994 (6th Cir. 2007). A general objection that fails to identify specific factual or legal issues from the recommendation, however, is not permitted, since it duplicates the Magistrate's efforts and wastes judicial economy. Howard v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 509 (6th Cir. 1991).

         Defendant Gravley filed timely objections to the Recommended Disposition. [R. 399.] The Court acknowledges its duty to review Gravley's filings under a more lenient standard than the one applied to attorneys because Gravley is proceeding pro se. See Franklin v. Rose, 765 F.2d 82, 84-85 (6th Cir. 1985). Under this more lenient construction, the objections are sufficiently definite to trigger the Court's obligation to conduct a de novo review. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c). The Court has satisfied that duty, reviewing the entire record, including the pleadings, the parties' arguments, relevant case law and statutory authority, as well as applicable procedural rules. For the following reasons, Gravley's objections will be OVERRULED.


         Judge Atkins's Recommended Disposition accurately sets forth the factual and procedural background of the case. The Court mentions only key facts to frame its discussion and analysis and incorporates Judge Atkins's discussion of the record into this Order.

         On January 20, 2011, while an inmate at USP Big Sandy, Dwaune Gravley was charged with one count of first degree murder in violation is of 18 U.S.C. § 1111(a) and (b); one count of conspiracy to commit murder in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1117; and four additional counts relating to the murder of fellow inmate Shamoni Peterson. [R. 190.] He was found guilty by a jury on all counts on April 1, 2011 [R. 297] and was sentenced to life in prison on September 8, 2011 [R. 329].

         Gravley appealed to the Sixth Circuit and the judgment of this Court was upheld on October 15, 2014. [R. 379.] On April 1, 2013, Gravley filed his first Motion to Vacate pursuant to § 2255 and filed a supplemental § 2255 on February 1, 2016. [R. 364; R. 387.] After briefing, Magistrate Judge Atkins issued a Report and Recommendation on June 23, 2017, recommending that all of Gravley's claims be dismissed. [R. 398.] Gravley has objected to that Recommendation. [R. 399.]


         Judge Atkins outlined Gravley's ten claims as follows:

1) prosecution witness Paul Woods allegedly perjured himself at Gravley's trial; (2) the prosecution committed misconduct by failing to correct the perjured testimony of Paul Woods; (3) appellate counsel Kevin Schad was ineffective by failing to object to the perjury and the government's failure to correct transcripts on appeal; (4) the prosecution committed a Brady violation by not disclosing to Gravley “exculpatory information, ” in reports indicating that prosecution witness Darone Crawford suffered from mental health issues; (5) counsel Stephen Milner was ineffective by advising that he would take no further action in the case until the District Court ruled on Gravley's motion to proceed pro se; (6) counsel Milner made racially disparaging remarks about Gravley to another client; (7) counsel Milner was ineffective by providing only “token representation;” (8) appellate counsel Scott Williamson was ineffective by failing to inform Gravley he was no longer working on his appeal after being found guilty of unprofessional conduct in another matter; (9) appellate counsel Kevin Schad was ineffective by failing to raise valid issues on direct appeal, including alleged perjury, prosecutorial misconduct, and suppression of evidence; and (10) Gravley has discovered new evidence of prosecutorial misconduct, in a 2007 Bureau of Prisons report stating that there was a lack of evidence to charge him with murder at that time.

[R. 398 at 6.]

         Judge Atkins thoughtfully considered each of these claims and this Court is in agreement with his conclusions. We now turn to ...

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