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Jackson v. Crockett

United States District Court, Southern District of Mississippi, Northern Division

March 16, 2015

JEFFREY JACKSON PETITIONER
v.
JOHNNY CROCKETT, WARDEN RESPONDENT

ORDER

DANIEL P. JORDAN III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This habeas corpus petition is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation [9] of Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball entered January 7, 2015. For the reasons stated below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation [9], and Petitioner Jeffrey Jackson’s Petition [1] is dismissed with prejudice.

I. Facts and Procedural History

Judge Ball’s detailed recitation of the facts of this case is incorporated herein by reference. In general terms, Jackson was convicted of armed robbery in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi. State Court Record [7-1] at 42. On appeal, the Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed [6-1], and Jackson’s subsequent application for post-conviction relief was denied [6-2] by the Mississippi Supreme Court. Jackson then filed his Petition [1] in this Court on February 22, 2012. Johnny Crockett, Warden of the Kemper/Neshoba County Correctional Facility, responded [6]. On January 7, 2015, Judge Ball entered a Report and Recommendation [9], recommending that the Court dismiss Jackson’s Petition. Jackson filed Objections [12], and Crockett notified [13] the Court that he does not intend to respond to the Objections.

II. Standards

Jackson mistakenly contends that Judge Ball applied the wrong legal standards. Objections [12] at 1. Pursuant to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), a federal habeas court may grant an application for a writ of habeas corpus only when the adjudication of the claim

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized that “‘an unreasonable application of federal law is different from an incorrect application of federal law.’” Renico v. Lett, 599 U.S. 766, 773 (2010) (quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 410 (2000)). “[A] federal habeas court may not issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly.” Williams, 529 U.S. at 411. Rather, the application must be not only incorrect but also “objectively unreasonable.” Id. at 409. And a result is “objectively unreasonable” only “where there is no possibility fairminded jurists could disagree that the state court’s decision conflicts with [United States Supreme Court] precedents.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011). And “[i]t bears repeating that even a strong case for relief does not mean the state court’s contrary conclusion was unreasonable.” Id. Finally, under § 2254(e)(1), “a determination of a factual issue made by a State court [is] presumed to be correct, ” and the petitioner has “the burden of rebutting the presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence.” “If this standard is difficult to meet, that is because it was meant to be. [But] . . . § 2254(d) stops short of imposing a complete bar on federal court relitigation of claims already rejected in state proceedings.” Richter, 562 U.S. at 102.

III. Analysis

In his Petition, Jackson raises multiple claims of error, including: 1) Batson violations; 2) impermissibly suggestive identification procedures; 3) various abuses of discretion by the trial court; 4) prosecutorial misconduct; 5) improper admission of evidence that deprived Jackson of his right to a fair trial; 6) insufficiency of the evidence based on the witnesses’ inconsistent testimony; and 7) ineffective assistance of counsel. Jackson raised all of these grounds either on direct appeal or in his motion for post-conviction relief, and the state court rejected them. Judge Ball subsequently concluded that Jackson failed to meet § 2254’s standards as to those holdings. Having now considered the record as a whole, the Court agrees with Judge Ball’s analysis and conclusions. And while it could simply incorporate the Report in its entirety, the Court will comment to some extent on issues Jackson presented in his Objections.[1]

A. Improper Admission of Evidence

Jackson asserts that admission of testimony concerning a .357 Magnum found in a search of his home was improper because the weapon used in the crime was a .38 revolver. He therefore asserts that he was denied his right to a fair trial. Objections [12] at 2.

When a habeas petitioner claims the erroneous admission of evidence, our role is limited to determining whether [the] error [was] so extreme that it constituted denial of fundamental fairness under the due process clause. Habeas relief is warranted only when the erroneous ...

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