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Carroll v. Outlaw

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

May 1, 2018




         This habeas corpus petition is before the Court for consideration of the Report and Recommendation issued by United States Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders. Doc. #23.

         I Procedural History

         A. The Petition and Briefing

         On or about February 17, 2017, Deldrick Lamont Carroll filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his 2014 state court conviction for robbery with a deadly weapon and his designation at sentencing as a habitual offender. Doc. #1 at 1. In his petition, Carroll raises the following enumerations of error under Mississippi and constitutional law: (1) it was error to try him in absentia; (2) it was error to allow the state to amend the indictment to charge him as an habitual offender; (3) he received ineffective assistance of counsel due to his failure to object to the admission of a recorded phone conversation between him and the victim that was taken in violation of the Fifth Amendment; (4) his claims warrant an evidentiary hearing; and (5) he was deprived of his constitutional rights due to a discovery violation committed by the state. Id. at 2-14.

         On March 1, 2017, United States Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders ordered Timothy Outlaw and Jim Hood (“Respondents”) to respond to the petition. Doc. #5. Respondents filed a response to the petition, along with the state court record, on August 14, 2017. Doc. #17; Doc. #18. Carroll filed a traverse on or about September 27, 2017. Doc. #22.

         B. Report and Recommendation and Objections

         On December 6, 2017, Judge Sanders entered a Report and Recommendation recommending that Carroll's habeas petition be dismissed with prejudice. Doc. #23. In the Report and Recommendation, Judge Sanders set forth the relevant factual record as follows:

Sophia Jackson had a birthday party at her home in Benton County, Mississippi, on April 6, 2012. At the party, a large group of men, including Carroll and Gary Patterson, gathered in a side room to play dice for money. Near the end of the game, Carroll pulled out a gun and pointed it at Patterson, who dropped his money. Carroll collected the money, which Patterson testified totaled $2, 260, and left the house. Outside of the house, Carroll shot his gun into the ground or air twice before driving off in a truck with two unidentified men.
At around 11:00 p.m. that same evening, Patterson, together with his brother and his father, went to the Benton County Sheriff's Office and reported the crime. On Monday, April 9, 2012, Patterson came to the Sheriff's Office to discuss the robbery at the request of Deputy Joe Batts. Patterson informed Deputy Batts that two men from the party - Carroll's brother, James Lewis Rutherford, and Cornelius Jones, the boyfriend of Carroll's first cousin - had been attempting to call him. Deputy Batts asked Patterson to return a phone call to the men so that he could record the conversation. Patterson called both men, and he discussed the armed robbery with them. The conversations were recorded.
On April 11, 2012, Patterson returned to the Sheriff's Office at the request of Deputy Batts to make a recorded phone call to Carroll. Patterson's call to Carroll went unanswered, but Carroll subsequently returned the phone call. During the recorded phone conversation with Patterson, Carroll denied pulling a gun on Patterson but admitted that he took money from him.
Thereafter, Carroll was arrested and advised of his rights. He initially denied involvement in the crime, but when he learned of the recorded telephone calls, he stopped speaking with law enforcement and requested a lawyer. He was indicted for robbery with a deadly weapon, and the indictment was later amended to charge him as an habitual offender. A jury trial was held on October 8-9, 2014, at the conclusion of which, Carroll was found guilty and sentenced to a term of twenty-seven years' incarceration without the possibility for parole.

Id. at 1-2.

         Judge Sanders rejected Carroll's first assignment of error (trial in absentia), finding Carroll failed to establish the Mississippi Supreme Court reached a decision that is unreasonable under clearly established federal law or in light of the facts presented when it ...

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