United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
MICHAEL P. MILLS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the court on the pro se petition
of La Tidtus Jones for a writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The State has responded to the
petition, and Mr. Jones has replied, and the matter is ripe
for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the instant
petition for a writ of habeas corpus will be denied.
Corpus Relief Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
writ of habeas corpus, a challenge to the legal
authority under which a person may be detained, is ancient.
Duker, The English Origins of the Writ of Habeas Corpus: A
Peculiar Path to Fame, 53 N.Y.U.L.Rev. 983 (1978); Glass,
Historical Aspects of Habeas Corpus, 9 St. John's L.Rev.
55 (1934). It is “perhaps the most important writ known
to the constitutional law of England, ” Secretary
of State for Home Affairs v. O'Brien, A.C. 603, 609
(1923), and it is equally significant in the United States.
Article I, § 9, of the Constitution ensures that the
right of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be
suspended, except when, in the case of rebellion or invasion,
public safety may require it. Habeas Corpus, 20 Fed.
Prac. & Proc. Deskbook § 56. Its use by the federal
courts was authorized in Section14 of the Judiciary Act of
1789. Habeas corpus principles developed
over time in both English and American common law have since
The statutory provisions on habeas corpus appear as
sections 2241 to 2255 of the 1948 Judicial Code. The
recodification of that year set out important procedural
limitations and additional procedural changes were added in
1966. The scope of the writ, insofar as the statutory
language is concerned, remained essentially the same,
however, until 1996, when Congress enacted the Antiterrorism
and Effective Death Penalty Act, placing severe restrictions
on the issuance of the writ for state prisoners and setting
out special, new habeas corpus procedures for
capital cases. The changes made by the 1996 legislation are
the end product of decades of debate about habeas
Id. Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a federal court may
issue the writ when a person is held in violation of the
federal Constitution or laws, permitting a federal
court to order the discharge of any person held by a
state in violation of the supreme law of the land.
Frank v. Mangum, 237 U.S. 309, 311, 35 S.Ct. 582,
588, 59 L.Ed. 969 (1915).
Tidtus Jones is in the custody of the Mississippi Department
of Corrections and is currently housed at the East
Mississippi Correctional Institution in Meridian,
Mississippi. On July 19, 2011, Jones was convicted in the
Circuit Court of Tunica County, Mississippi, of one count of
uttering a forgery. See State Court Record
(hereinafter “SCR” for Case No.
2011-KA-01468-COA), Vol. 1, p. 122. On August 23, 2011, he
was sentenced as a habitual offender under Miss. Code Ann.
§ 99-19-81 to serve ten years in the custody of the
Mississippi Department of Corrections. SCR, Vol. 1, p.
filed an appeal of his conviction and sentence with the
Mississippi Supreme Court. On appeal, he raised the following
ground for relief, through counsel:
Issue 1. Whether the indictment handed down
was fatally defective where it charged the appellant with
uttering a forgery, and the check described in the indictment
was a different check altogether than that which was
attached, requiring different elements of proof.
Issue 2. Whether, after a pretrial hearing
on the matter, the trial court committed plain error by
forcing the appellant to be shackled when the prospective
jurors entered the courtroom, during voir dire, and
throughout the entire jury selection process.
Issue 3. Whether the trial court erred in
failing to suppress audio recording evidence of an
interrogation over the objections of the defense that the
appellant's Miranda rights had been violated.
Issue 4. Whether the trial court erred when
it failed to sustain the appellants motion to set aside the
jury's verdict (JNOV) as legally insufficient, or, in the
alternative, for failing to grant the motion for a new trial
as the jury's verdict was contrary to the overwhelming
weight of the evidence.
April 23, 2013, the Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed the
judgment of the circuit court. Jones v. State, 130
So.3d 519 (Miss. Ct. App. 2013), reh'g denied,
Sept. 17, 2013, cert. denied, Jan. 23, 2014 (No.
filed an Application to Proceed in the Trial Court with a
Motion for Post-Conviction Relief in the Mississippi Supreme
Court on June 27, 2014. In the application he raised the
following issues pro se:
Issue 1. Whether Jones has been subjected to
a violation of due process of law and the equal protection
clause in violation of the 5th and 14th
amendments to the United States Constitution and whether
there was prosecutorial misconduct at Jones trial denying
Jones a fair trial under the equal protection clause of the
United States and the state of Mississippi laws?
Issue 2. Whether the trial court committed
“plain error” when it passed sentence upon
applicant Jones without having subject matter jurisdiction
over Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-81 and whether jeopardy
Issue 3. Whether the trial court committed
“plain error” in ruling admissible for trial
Jones's alleged confession of December 4th,
2009, since applicant testified at the suppression hearing
that the investigating officer “Michael Nichols”
had made “promises and threats” and that the
state never put on any officers to rebut Jones's
Issue 4. Whether the trial court erred by
failing to review and listing to the entire taped
interrogation and by failing to suppress the statement there
Issue 5. Whether Petitioner Jones is
entitled to a new trial where a “juror” failed or
refused to disclose that “he” was
“acquaint” with state's key witnesses the
alleged victim “Linda Tutor” of Money Tree Inc.
Issue 6. Whether Jones United States
Constitutional 6th Amendment right to be
confronted with the witnesses against him from the
“First Security Bank” of Batesville, Mississippi?
Issue 7. Whether the trial court committed
“plain error” in allowing into evidence at trial
of another separate alleged offense by Jones and if so
whether such other (check) evidence was of another separate
offence denying Jones due process to a fair trial?
Issue 8. Whether the Petitioner Jones been
denied effective assistance of attorney of trial and on
appeal as the law afford him under the 6th
Amendment of the United States Constitution and the State of
Mississippi Constitution (1890)?
October 2, 2014, the Mississippi Supreme Court denied the
motion. The court found that the claims of prosecutorial
misconduct and plain error in sentencing were without merit.
The court also found that Jones' claim of error in the
admission of his police statement was barred by res
judicata. As to Jones' claims of juror misconduct,
confrontation clause violation, and plain error in admission
of evidence, the court held that Jones was capable of raising
these issues at trial or on direct appeal, and they were
barred because he failed to do so. Miss Code Ann. §
99-39-21(1). The court also held that Jones' claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel did not meet the
requirements of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S.
Jones' grounds for relief can be found in the instant
petition for a writ of habeas corpus, memorandum,
and amendments, which the court has taken verbatim from ECF
Docs. 1, 3, 13, 14, 15). Mr. Jones raises the following
grounds for relief, pro se, in ECF Doc. 1:
Ground One. Whether the indictment handed
down was fatally defective where it charged Jones with
uttering a forgery.
Ground Two. Whether, after a pretrial
hearing on the matter, the trial court committed plain error
by forcing Jones to be shackled in front of jury.
Ground Three. Whether the trial court erred
in failing to suppress audio recording evidence on an
interrogation over objection.
Ground Four. Whether the trial court erred
when it failed to sustain Jones motion to set aside the
jury's verdict (JNOV).
Jones raises the following grounds for relief, pro
se, in ECF Doc. 3:
Ground Five. Whether Petitioner Latitus
Jones denied effective assistance of counsel on direct
Ground Six. Whether the trial court
committed plain error in allowing the state in trial to
introduce evidence of another separate offense by the
Appellant Jones and whether such evidence were of another
Ground Seven. Whether the State's
prosector withheld solemn declaration or affirmations made
for the purpose of establishing or proving some facts
“real's trucking inc. check was return for not able
to locate account” denying petitioner the right to be
confronted with the witnesses against him?
Ground Eight. Whether there was
prosecutorial misconduct committed at trial, and whether such
prosecutorial misconducts denied petitioner Latitus Jones due
process / a fair trial.
Ground Nine. Whether the court erred in
ruling admissible for trial the petitioner's alleged
confession of 12-04-10, since the petitioner testified at the
hearing that the investigating office “Michael
Nichols” had made threats and promises and the states
prosecutor never put the officer on to rebut the allegations?
Ground Ten. Whether the trial court
committed plain error when it passed sentence on petitioner
Latitus Jones without having subject matter jurisdiction over
M.C.A. § 99-19-81 and whether jeopardy had attached?
Ground Eleven. That this court is required
pursuant to Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972) to
liberally construe petitioner's herein asserted grounds
Ground Twelve. That Petitioner Latidtus
Jones is actual innocence of uttering forgery and that a
fundamental miscarriage of justice did accured.
Ground Thirteen. That petitioner Jones is
entitled to the relief the conviction and the sentence.
Ground Fourteen. That the responsibility and
appointment of counsel of record was directed by Mississippi
Supreme Court to George T. Holmes an attorney of the
Mississippi Bar, and without an record after appointment by
this court ever relieving him “attorney George T
Holmes, ” of that appointment and his ethical
responsibility. His abandonment at petitioner oral argument
before the Mississippi Supreme cannot be excused or legally
justified by law.
Ground Fifteen. That there are certain
limited exceptions to the rule that proof of a crime distinct
from that alleged in an indictment is not admissible against
Ground Sixteen. That the state never had
Goss Roofing check, and no proof were ever given that Goss
roofing check was a forgery and such evidence was
Ground Seventeen. That as a rule, if an out
of court statement is testimonial in nature, then under the
confrontation clause it may not be introduced against the
accused at trial unless the witness who made the statement is
unavailable and the accused has had a prior opportunity to
confront that witness. The state failed to make ready
witnesses from the First Security Bank.
Ground Eighteen. That there no legal
justification for the prosecutor's misconduct withholding
favorable evidence in order to obtain an wrongful conviction
against the petitioner.
Ground Nineteen. That the state did not
secure the presence of all the officer present during the
petitioner questioning to the alleged confession of 12-04-09
in violation of Agee v. State, 185 So.2d 671 (Miss.
Ground Twenty. That accord to Miss. Cons.
Art 3 § 14 “no person shall be deprived of life or
liberty except by due process.”
Ground Twenty-One. That the habitual
offender statue as applied herein violated the prohibitions
of Miss. Cons. Art 3 § 22 “no persons life or
liberty shall be twice placed in jeopardy for the same
Ground Twenty-Two. That without notice a
defendant cannot be tried and convicted as an habitual
offender ... and that due process requires the state to give
petitioner a Rule 7.09 hearing.
Ground Twenty-Three. That a finding of plain
error is necessary when a party's fundamental rights are
affected as the prejudicial errors has changed the outcome of
petitioner trial and it's clear and obvious from the
Ground Twenty-Four. That due to inartful
drafting as an exercise of caution and discretion the court
is not to disregard Jones claims Moore v. Ruth, 556
So.2d 1059, 1060 (Miss. 1996).
raises the following grounds for relief, pro se, in
ECF Doc. 14:
Ground [Twenty-Five]. Whether Jones was
denied a fair trial when the state use false testimony of
Linda Tutor about “it being a Saturday and her not