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Williams v. Bingham

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Western Division

February 14, 2014

KENNETH L. WILLIAMS a/k/a KENNY BELL, Petitioner,
v.
MARGARET BINGHAM, Respondents.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SHARION AYCOCK, District Judge.

This matter comes before the court on the pro se petition of Kenneth L. Williams for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The State has answered the petition. The petitioner has not filed a traverse, and the deadline to do so has expired. The matter is ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus will be denied.

Facts and Procedural Posture

Kenneth Williams (a.k.a. Kenny Bell), is in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and is currently housed at Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi. Williams was convicted of one (1) count of possession of cocaine with intent to sell, transfer, or deliver and one (1) count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in the Circuit Court of Grenada County, Mississippi. State Court Record (hereinafter referred to as "SCR"), Vol. 1, p. 71. On February 5, 2008, he was sentenced to serve twenty (20) years for the possession of cocaine with intent to sell charge and three (3) years for the felon in the possession of a firearm charge all in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections; the sentences run concurrently. SCR, Vol. 1, p. 71-72.

Williams appealed his convictions and sentences in the Mississippi Supreme Court, raising the following issues (as stated by counsel):

Issue 1. Williams was denied his fundamental and constitutional right to a fair trial by introduction of evidence of cocaine and cocaine sales not charged in Count I of the indictment.
Issue 2. Williams did not voluntarily and intelligently elect to proceed pro se.

On June 30, 2009, the Mississippi Court of Appeals found no merit to these issues and affirmed the judgment of the circuit court. Williams v. State, 45 So.3d 676 (Miss.Ct.App. 2010), reh'g denied, Nov. 3, 2009, cert. denied Feb. 25, 2010 (Cause No. 2008-KA-00346-COA).

On April 27, 2010, Williams filed a pro se Application for Leave to Proceed in the Trial Court with a Motion for Post-Conviction Relief in the Mississippi Supreme Court, raising the following issues:

Issue 1. Trial counsel failed to file motions or to make objections to errors or to assist in filing motions or to assist petitioner with objections for errors by the court and was in a conflict of interest with petitioner and should not have been allowed to even be involved as standby counsel.
Issue 2. The trial court was in error for admitting evidence of prior sales of cocaine and admitting testimony of prior sales of cocaine which was not included in the indictment. This was in violation of due process of law and equal protection pursuant to the 5th and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution.
Issue 3. The trial court was in error in allowing the petitioner to proceed in pro se when it was not his choice and not voluntarily or made intelligently.
Issue 4. The trial court [erred in making] petitioner proceed pro se when the court plainly had said he did not have the knowledge or the skill to defend himself and was also bias and abused its discretion.
Issue 5. The trial court was in error for not conducting an on the record of petitioner to determine if he was competent to stand trial.
Issue 6. The cumulative errors alone or combined has infected the fairness of the trial and has more likely than not caused a suspect verdict.
Issue 7. The state failed to bring petitioner to trial within 270 days.

On June 23, 2010, that court filed an order dismissing the application as procedurally barred. S.C.R. Miscellaneous Pleadings, Cause No. 2010-M-00692. In that order, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that "all of the issues raised in the motion for post-conviction relief were either raised on direct appeal or could have been raised on direct appeal. Therefore, the motion for post-conviction relief is procedurally barred pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-21."

In the instant Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, filed on March 7, 2011, Williams raises the ...


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