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COOPER v. POOLE (2019)

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United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

Gregory COOPER, Petitioner - Appellant, v. Katy POOLE; State of North Carolina, Respondent - Appellees.

No. 19-6802

Decided: August 23, 2019

Before FLOYD and RUSHING, Circuit Judges, and SHEDD, Senior Circuit Judge. Gregory Cooper, Appellant Pro Se.

Gregory Cooper seeks to appeal the district court's order accepting the recommendation of the magistrate judge and dismissing as untimely his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (2012) petition. The order is not appealable unless a circuit justice or judge issues a certificate of appealability. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(A) (2012). A certificate of appealability will not issue absent “a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2) (2012). When the district court denies relief on the merits, a prisoner satisfies this standard by demonstrating that reasonable jurists would find that the district court's assessment of the constitutional claims is debatable or wrong. See Buck v. Davis, ––– U.S. ––––, 137 S. Ct. 759, 773-74, 197 L.Ed.2d 1 (2017). When the district court denies relief on procedural grounds, the prisoner must demonstrate both that the dispositive procedural ruling is debatable, and that the petition states a debatable claim of the denial of a constitutional right. Gonzalez v. Thaler, 565 U.S. 134, 140-41, 132 S.Ct. 641, 181 L.Ed.2d 619 (2012) (citing Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484, 120 S.Ct. 1595, 146 L.Ed.2d 542 (2000)).

Limiting our review of the record to the issues raised in Cooper's informal brief, we conclude that Cooper has not made the requisite showing. See 4th Cir. R. 34(b); see also Jackson v. Lightsey, 775 F.3d 170, 177 (4th Cir. 2014) (“The informal brief is an important document; under Fourth Circuit rules, our review is limited to issues preserved in that brief.”). Accordingly, we deny a certificate of appealability, deny leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and dismiss the appeal. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.

DISMISSED

PER CURIAM:

Dismissed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.

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