United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
William H. Barbour, Jr. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause is before the Court on the Objection of Petitioner,
Joseph Eugene Osborne (“Osborne”), to the Report
and Recommendation (“R and R”) of United States
Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker. Having considered the R
and R, Osborne's Objection thereto,  the other
pleadings in this case, as well as relevant authorities, the
Court finds the R and R should be adopted in its entirety
over Osborne's Objection.
was charged with murder following the suffocation of
five-year-old Charlie Hopkins, the son of his live-in
girlfriend. The death-by-suffocation determination was made
by pathologist, Dr. Steven Hayne (“Hayne”) who,
while performing an autopsy on Charlie's body, observed,
inter alia, (1) multiple abrasions and bruises on
Charlie's face that were consistent with a hand having
been held over his nose and mouth, and (2) the presence of
petechia, which are often associated with asphyxiation.
Following trial, at which Hayne and several other witnesses
testified, Osborne was found guilty of murder, and was
sentenced to a term of life imprisonment. Osborne's
conviction was affirmed on direct appeal. See Osborne v.
State, 942 So.2d 193 (Miss. Ct. App. 2006), cert.
denied, 942 So.2d 164 (Miss. 2006).
November of 2012, Osborne filed a Petition for
Post-Conviction Relief in the Mississippi Supreme Court,
alleging, inter alia, that the State had violated
his constitutional rights to due process, a fair trial, and
to confront witnesses. Osborne's claims were predicated
on Hayne's qualifications (or alleged lack thereof) to
offer forensic evidence, and Hayne's testimony in his and
other trials. Osborne's Petition was denied as follows:
In the present application, Osborne maintains that he has
obtained evidence regarding Dr. Steven Hayne's alleged
arrangement with the State, professional qualifications, and
instances of “forensic fraud, ” all of which
purportedly constitute “newly-discovered
evidence.” See Miss. Code Ann. §§
99- 39-5(2)(a)(i), 99-39-27(9). Relatedly, Osborne raises
claims of alleged violations of “fundamental
constitutional rights based upon such “newly-discovered
evidence” (i.e., violations of Osborne's: (1) due
process rights under Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264
(1959), via the presentation of false evidence during trial;
(2) due process rights under Brady v. Maryland, 373
U.S. 83 (1963); (3) substantive right to a fair trial via
“gross violations of [the] Rules of Evidence”
(namely, Mississippi Rule of Evidence 702); and (4) rights
under the Confrontation Clause)).
After due consideration, the panel finds that Osborne's
claim of “newly discovered evidence” is without
merit as the subject evidence was “reasonably
discoverable at the time of trial” and/or not “of
such nature that it would be practically conclusive that, if
it had been introduced at trial, it would have caused a
different result in the conviction or sentence.” Miss.
Code Ann. §§ 99-39-5(2)(a)(i), 99-39-27-(9). As
such, that claim is time-barred and should be denied. Since
Osborne's alleged “fundamental”
constitutional right claims are predicated upon evidence
which is not “newly-discovered, ” the panel finds
that those claims are waived. See Miss. Code Ann.
§ 99-39-21(1). Alternatively, the panel finds that
Osborne's alleged “fundamental”
constitutional right claims are without merit and should be
denied. Finally, the panel finds that Osborne has failed to
present a substantial showing of the denial of a state or
federal right. Accordingly, the panel finds that
Osborne's present application should be denied.
Osborne v. State, No. 2012-M-1845, slip order at 1-2
(Miss. May 29, 2013).
the decision of the Mississippi Supreme Court, Osborne file a
Petition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, for Writ of
Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (“2254
Petition”) in this Court. In his 2254 Petition, Osborne
raises the following claims:
(1) He was denied his right to due process, as articulated in
Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264 (1959), based on
Hayne's offering false and misleading evidence regarding
(a) his qualifications and (2) his findings with respect to
(2) He was denied his right to due process, as articulated in
Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), based on the
failure of the State to disclose material evidence regarding
(a) its business relationship with Hayne, (b) Hayne's
license and credentialing history, and (c) Hayne's
time-of-death determination; and
(3) He was denied his Sixth Amendment to confront witnesses
based on the failure of the State to disclose impeaching
information regarding Hayne.
2254 Petition came before United States Magistrate Judge
Robert H. Walker who, upon review, entered a Report and
Recommendation (“R and R”) recommending that
Osborne's Petition be dismissed as untimely.
making his recommendation, Judge Walker first found that
Osborne's Petition was governed by a one-year statute of