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Bateman v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 25, 2018

CLAYTON PAUL BATEMAN A/K/A CLAYTON P. BATEMAN A/K/A CLAYTON BATEMAN, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 12/16/2016

          HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. LAWRENCE PAUL BOURGEOIS JR., JUDGE

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: CLAYTON PAUL BATEMAN (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: ALICIA MARIE AINSWORTH

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND GREENLEE, JJ.

          BARNES, J.

         ¶1. Clayton Bateman, appearing pro se, appeals the Harrison County Circuit Court's dismissal of his "Motion for Relief from Judgment" for lack of jurisdiction. Finding no error, we affirm.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. In January 2010, Bateman was indicted for three counts of sexual battery and two counts of lustful touching of a child. The victims were his two daughters, aged eight and nine. In February 2011, Bateman, appearing pro se, filed a "Petition for Habeas Corpus in PreConviction," claiming he was illegally imprisoned and requesting "immediate release." The petition was filed after his indictment but approximately one year before his trial. Bateman argued that the circuit court, or any court within the State, lacked jurisdiction over his case because the boundaries of the State of Mississippi had allegedly been dissolved by constitutional amendment in 1990, [1] and the court's jurisdiction is dependent upon these constitutional boundaries. He claimed the State took his liberty by "fraud." Additionally, Bateman alleged that his indictment was void from lack of jurisdiction, and the court's officers, including the circuit-court judge, were illegitimate "agents of the state" because they had not provided him with their oaths of office.[2] Finally, he requested copies of transcripts of his proceedings, appointment of counsel, and an evidentiary hearing on his petition.

         ¶3. On February 7, 2012, the day before trial commenced, a hearing was held on Bateman's habeas-corpus petition, as well as other pro-se pretrial motions he had filed.[3] The circuit court denied his petition and motions from the bench. Bateman proceeded to trial, where a jury convicted him of two counts of sexual battery and two counts of touching of a child for lustful purposes. Bateman was sentenced to thirty years for each count of sexual battery, to run concurrently. He was sentenced to fifteen years for each count of touching of a child for lustful purposes, to run consecutively to each other, and concurrently with the two counts of sexual battery, all in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Bateman appealed, and the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and sentences in Bateman v. State, 125 So.3d 616 (Miss. 2013).

         ¶4. On February 16, 2016, approximately four years after his conviction, Bateman filed a "Motion for Relief from Judgment" under Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(4) and (6). In the motion, Bateman reiterated and elaborated the arguments of his habeas-corpus petition, claiming that the judgment (presumably of conviction) was void and the State committed a fraud upon the court because the court lacked jurisdiction. The circuit court treated the motion as one for post-conviction relief (PCR) under the Mississippi Uniform Post-Conviction Collateral Relief Act (UPCCRA) of Mississippi Code Annotated section 99-39-1 through -29 (Rev. 2015). The circuit court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the motion because, under post-conviction relief procedures, Bateman failed to request permission from the Mississippi Supreme Court to file the motion under section 99-39-7.[4] Bateman timely appealed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶5. This Court reviews the circuit court's denial or dismissal of a PCR motion for abuse of discretion. The circuit court's findings will only be disturbed if they are clearly erroneous. Doss v. State, 19 So.3d 690, ...


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