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Mosley v. King

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

March 27, 2017

JAMES MOSLEY PETITIONER
v.
RONALD KING RESPONDENT JAMES MOSLEY PETITIONER
v.
JOHNNIE DENMARK RESPONDENT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         This matter comes before the court on the pro se petition of James Mosley for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The State has responded to the petition; the petitioner has not replied, 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

         The Petitioner, James Mosley, is lawfully in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and is currently housed at the Wilkinson County Correctional Facility in Woodville, Mississippi. On August 24, 2010, Mosley was convicted of: Count II - sale of cocaine, Count III - sale of marijuana, and Count IV - sale of methamphetamine in the Circuit Court of Choctaw County, Mississippi. See State Court Record ("SCR"), Vol. 1, p. 79-80; Circuit Court Cause No. 2010-023-CR. Mosley was found to be both a habitual offender, under Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-81, and a second or subsequent drug offender, under Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-147. Therefore, Mosley was sentenced to serve sixty (60) years for Count II, six (6) years for Count Ill. and sixty (60) years for Count IV in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections ("MDOC"), with the sentences to run consecutively. Id.

         Mosley appealed these convictions and sentences to the Mississippi Supreme Court, raising the following issue, as stated by counsel:

Issue 1. The trial court abused its discretion by sentencing Mosley to serve 126 years in prison. This sentence was disproportionate to the crime and a violation to Mosley's Constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

         On September 27, 2012, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court in a written opinion. State v. Mosley, 104 So.3d 839 (Miss. 2012) reh 'g denied, Jan. 17, 2013 (Case No. 2010-KA-01498-SCT).

         On April 17, 2014 (signed on April 16, 2014), Mosley filed two (2) Applications to Proceed in the Trial Court with Motions for Post-Conviction Relief ("PCR") in the Mississippi Supreme Court: Case Numbers 2014-M-00486 and 2014-M-00503. The application filed in Case No. 2014-M-00486 challenges the conviction in Choctaw County Circuit Court case number 2010-023-CR. In that Application, Mosley raised the following issues, pro se:

Issue 1. Whether the trial court violated Mosley's Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment right to proceed without counsel when he elected to do so.
Issue 2. Whether Mosley was sentenced as a habitual offender under Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-81 (Supp. 1986) based on insufficient evidence or as the result of a fundamentally defective sentencing hearing.
Issue 3. The sentence as a habitual offender of one hundred twenty-six years with the Mississippi Department of Corrections constitutes life in prison without parole and cruel and unusual punishment.
Issue 4. Whether a prosecutor's knowing presentation of false evidence and failure to correct the record violate a criminal defendant's due process right.

         The application was denied by the Mississippi Supreme Court on June 10, 2014:

In his petition for post-conviction relief, Mosley argues he was not allowed to proceed pro se at trial, the State failed to prove that he was a habitual offender, and his sentence violated the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Mosley's sentence was addressed on direct appeal and, thus, is barred by res judicata. Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-21(3). The remaining issues could have been raised at trial or on direct appeal, and thus, are barred from review. Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-21(1).
* Furthermore, the claims lack sufficient merit to warrant an evidentiary hearing. After due consideration, the panel finds that Mosley's petition should be denied.

Id.

         Originally, Mosley filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus on October 18, 2013, before the filing and disposition of his state court post-conviction motions. In the petition, Mosley referenced both of his circuit court case numbers and challenged the sentences and convictions in both of his circuit court cases. ECF, Doc. 1, p. 1. On May 30, 2014, the State filed a motion to clarify, arguing that it was unclear which issues Mosley wished to raise in this petition as to which cases. Given the state of Mosley's pleadings, he could have been in violation of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, Rule 2(e). ECF, Doc. 15. The State argued that Mosley had filed an improper federal habeas corpus petition and asked that the court direct him to amend or clarify his petition to ensure the sought relief from only one of his state court convictions. On June 17, 2014, the court granted the State's motion. ECF, Doc 16.

         On June 23, 2014, Mosley filed an amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus, ECF, Doc. 17, which the court granted on August 11, 2014. ECF, Doc. 19. However, in his amended petition, Mosley merely requested that the final orders from the state court regarding his motions for post-conviction relief be added to his petition for habeas corpus relief. Mosley then filed two additional federal petitions for writs of habeas corpus: on July 18, 2014, Mosley filed a new petition in Case No. 1:14CV115-GHD-SAA. In that petition, Mosley appeared to challenge his convictions and sentences arising out of his August 24, 2010, judgment in Choctaw County (Circuit Court Cause No. 2010-023-CR). On July 21, 2014, Mosley filed another new petition in this Court in Case No. 1:14CV117-MPM-JMV. In that petition, Mosley seemed to challenge his convictions and sentences arising out of his February 24, 2010, judgment in Choctaw County (Circuit Court Case No. 2010-046-CR).

         The State then filed a Motion to Consolidate the two cases in the interest of judicial economy, as the new petition in Case No. 1:14CV115-GHD-SAA challenged the same convictions and sentences as the instant petition (No. 1:13CV209-SAA). ECF, Doc. 24. The court granted the motion on October 23, 2014, ECF, Doc. 27, and directed the State to file an answer to the petition. ECF, Doc. 30.

         In one of his two consolidated Petitions for Writs of Habeas Corpus (filed in Case No. 1:14CV115- GHD-SAA), Mosley raises the following issues:[1]

         Ground One.

The trial court abused its discretion by sentencing Mosley to serve 126 years in prison. This sentence was disproportionate to the crime and a violation to Mosley's Constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

         Ground Two.

1. Whether the trial court violated Mosley's Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment right to proceed without counsel when he voluntarily and intelligently elected to do so.
2. Whether Mosley was sentenced as a habitual offender under Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-81 (Supp. 1986) based on insufficient evidence or as the result of a fundamentally defective sentencing hearing.
3. The sentence of one hundred twenty-six years as a habitual offender with the Mississippi Department of Corrections constitutes a sentence of life in prison without parole and cruel and unusual punishment.
4. Whether a prosecutor's knowing presentation of false evidence and failure to correct the record violate a criminal defendant's due process rights.

         Mosley also sets forth the following grounds for relief in his other consolidated habeas corpus petition ...


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