United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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.
The Petition and Briefing
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.
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.
Report and Recommendation and Objections
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
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
Id. at 1-2.
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 ...