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Newsome v. State

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

August 15, 2018




         This matter is before the Court sua sponte. Pro se Plaintiff Ricardo Bryan Newsome is incarcerated with the Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”), and he brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985, challenging his arrest, conviction, sentence, and conditions of confinement. For the reasons set forth below, this case will be dismissed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 22, 2018, Newsome was convicted of burglary in the Circuit Court of Harrison County, Mississippi, and was sentenced to serve a twenty-five year term of imprisonment in the custody of MDOC. Pl.'s Resp. Ex. [12-1] at 4. Newsome was transferred to MDOC on April 3, 2018. Compl. [1] at 5. In this lawsuit, Newsome has named twenty-eight Defendants who are various actors alleged to have been involved in Newsome's arrest, detention, and conviction: the State of Mississippi; the Harrison County Adult Detention Center; the Circuit Court of Harrison County; the Gulfport, Mississippi, Police Department; state prosecutors; the grand jury foreperson; judges; the criminal defense team; police officers; the Circuit Court Clerk; trial witnesses; and county correctional officers. Id. at 2-3, 14-15.

         Newsome claims he was arrested by the Gulfport Police Department on January 9, 2017, id. at 5, but that Defendant Judge Brandon Ladner had not signed the arrest warrant, id. at 19. Newsome faults Defendants Detective Jerry Birmingham and Sergeant Wayne Payne for arresting him without a signed warrant or without probable cause, id. at 23-24, and Birmingham allegedly did not read Newsome his rights or question him, id. at 23. Newsome contends Birmingham also did not have witnesses sign their statements and falsified those statements in his investigative report “to accommodate his action or action[s] done in court.” Id. at 18. Newsome maintains that Defendant Lieutenant Matt Thomas approved Birmingham's report, id. at 19, and that the Gulfport Police Department is vicariously liable for the actions of its employees, id. at 21.

         Newsome next accuses the State and the Circuit Court of convicting him in violation of due process. Id. at 5-6, 16. First, Newsome asserts that Defendants District Attorney Joel Smith, Grand Jury Foreperson Kim Reinike, and Circuit Court Clerk Connie Ladner improperly indicted him because the indictment was filed outside the grand jury's term. Id. at 16-18. Newsome contends that Detective Birmingham “[a]lso sign[ed] off on improper indictment.” Id. at 18. It is not clear if Birmingham is accused of presenting the alleged falsified statements to the grand jury or to the trial jury. Id. Next, Newsome claims the trial jury was biased because some jurors had served on other criminal cases when the “D.A. office wanted guilty verdicts.” Id. at 21. Newsome further alleges that Defendant Assistant District Attorney Christopher D. Carter spoke with Defendant witnesses Richard Allen Tobey, Terry Tolar, Jasamine Sales, and Wiberth Cardona and either “cohersed [sic], ” or conspired with them to provide false trial testimony. Id. at 17-19.

         Newsome next alleges that Defendant Judges Melvin Ray and Louise Ladner failed to correct alleged discovery violations and that Judge Ladner was aware “the date on initial appearance was change[d] and she failed to correct it.” Id. at 20, 24. The actual trial judge, Defendant Judge Roger Clark, is accused of allowing misconduct by Plaintiff's criminal trial counsel, preventing “group voir dire” (which allegedly prohibited the selection of an impartial jury), and issuing an illegal sentence. Id. at 17. Newsome claims the Circuit Court had no personal jurisdiction over him, rendering his conviction and sentence void, id. at 21, and that the allegedly void conviction and sentence rendered his detention in the County Detention Center illegal, id.

         Newsome also accuses employees of the Public Defender's office of causing his alleged illegal conviction. Specifically, Newsome alleges that Defendant attorney Geoffery Germany represented him at the preliminary hearing and failed to object to the indictment, id. at 20, and that his criminal trial attorney, Defendant Theressia A. Lyons, conspired with Carter to admit evidence of prior bad acts, id. at 17. Lyons is also accused of revealing privileged information to Detective Birmingham, which Newsome maintains prevented him from taking the witness stand in his own defense. Id. at 18. Lyons also purportedly failed to object to the dismissal of a prospective juror, to the prosecutor's alleged insult about Newsome, and to the lack of group voir dire. Id. at 18, 20. Finally, Lyons is accused of implicating Newsome's guilt in a post-judgment motion. Id. at 18.

         Defendant defense counsel Lisa Collins, who is said to have co-chaired at trial, allegedly witnessed Lyons's supposed inadequacies but did not correct them, and also failed to object to the absence of group voir dire. Id. at 18, 20. Newsome further claims that Defendant Damon Reese, the investigator for the Public Defender's office, was made aware of the alleged discovery violations, the unsigned arrest warrant and witness statements, the false investigation report, and the improper indictment but failed to report them. Id. at 23. Defendant Public Defender Glenn Rishel allegedly filed discovery motions on Newsome's behalf, even though Rishel was not appointed to represent Newsome. Id. at 18. Newsome claims some of the discovery was tampered with, and he cannot exclude Rishel as the culprit “pending investigation.” Id.

         Aside from Newsome's conviction, the Complaint also challenges the conditions of his confinement, claiming his mail was censored and he was denied access to the courts by the Detention Center and Defendants Sergeant Richards and Officer Nebbles, its employees. Id. at 16, 19.

         Finally, Defendants police officer Kyle Luber and prosecutor Herman Cox purportedly “decided to engage in misconduct that posed pervasive and unreasonable risk of constitutional violation and injury to” Newsome, because they did not prevent the misconduct of others. Id. at 20, 25. Cox is accused of not correcting the prosecutors' alleged violations. Id. at 25.

         Plaintiff initiated this civil action on May 24, 2018, specifically invoking 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985. On July 11, 2018, Newsome moved to voluntarily dismiss Judges Ray, Brandon Ladner and Louise Ladner; Officer Luber; and his claims related to his mail and denial of access to courts. Pl.'s Resp. [12] at 2. Plaintiff seeks release and “any relief this honorable Court deems necessary.” Compl. [1] at 6.


         A. The Prison ...

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