United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
ROBERT S. SCRUGGS PETITIONER
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI RESPONDENT
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court in this habeas action is the Report and
Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Jane M.
Virden, Doc. #20; which recommends that the State of
Mississippi's motion to dismiss, Doc. #14, be granted;
and that Robert Scruggs' motion for summary judgment,
Doc. #13, be denied.
about May 31, 2017, Robert Scruggs, acting pro se, filed in
this Court a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Doc. #1.
In his petition, Scruggs, a state prisoner serving a habitual
offender sentence of life without parole, contends that he
was unlawfully denied eligibility for parole. Although less
than clear, Scruggs also appears to complain that he was
unlawfully denied release on parole.
about October 31, 2017, Scruggs filed a motion for summary
judgment on his petition. Doc. #13. Approximately two weeks
later, on November 15, 2017, the State of Mississippi filed a
motion to dismiss Scruggs' petition, Doc. #14; and filed
a response in opposition to Scruggs' motion for summary
judgment, Doc. #16. On or about November 29, 2017, Scruggs
filed a document styled as “Rebuttable Presumption,
” which in substance is a response to the State's
motion to dismiss. Doc. #17.
the motion to dismiss was pending, Scruggs filed a motion to
amend his pleadings “to cause pleadings to conform to
Evidence Rule 15(a), (b).” Doc. #18 at 2. The motion,
which referenced “facts arising since filing of the
original pleadings, ” also sought discovery in the form
of “[t]he ascertainment of previously unknown facts,
which disclosure came to light.” Id. The
motion to amend was granted by Judge Virden on March 26,
2018. Doc. #19. The request for discovery was not addressed
in Judge Virden's order.
April 3, 2018, Judge Virden issued a Report and
Recommendation which recommends that the State's motion
to dismiss be granted because “Scruggs has not alleged
that the State … violated a right protected under
federal law.” Doc. #20 at 6. Specifically, Judge Virden
found that Scruggs lacks a liberty interest in obtaining
parole sufficient to trigger federal protections because
entitlement to parole is discretionary in Mississippi.
Id. at 10. Accordingly, the Report and
Recommendation recommends that Scruggs' motion for
summary judgment be denied and that Scruggs' habeas
petition be dismissed. Id.
about April 5, 2018, Scruggs filed a “Motion of
Amendments, ” which asks the Court to order the
Mississippi Department of Corrections to produce certain
documents. Doc. #22. The State, treating the motion as a
motion to amend the petition, filed a response in opposition
on April 18, 2018. Doc. #23.
about April 17, 2018, Scruggs filed objections to the Report
#25. The State responded to the objections on April 27, 2018,
Doc. #26; and Scruggs filed a supplement to his objections on
or about May 8, 2018, Doc. #27.
first motion to amend, Scruggs asks “to be allowed
Discovery. The ascertainment of previously unknown facts,
which disclosure came to light.” Doc. #18 at 2. In his
“Motion of Amendments, ” Scruggs seems to limit
the request to discovery related to allegedly similarly