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Jackson v. State

Supreme Court of Mississippi

November 27, 2018

RANDY DALE JACKSON A/K/A RANDY DELL JACKSON Petitioner
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI Respondent

          EN BANC ORDER

          WILLIAM L. WALLER, JR., CHIEF JUSTICE

         Now before the Court, en banc, comes the Application for Leave to Proceed in the Trial Court and the Motion to Amend Post-Conviction Relief filed pro se by Randy Dale Jackson. Jackson's conviction of murder and sentence of life imprisonment were affirmed by this Court on May 3, 2001, and the mandate issued on May 24, 2001. Jackson v. State, 784 So.2d 180 (Miss. 2001). This is Jackson's fourth application for leave to file a motion for post-conviction relief. We find that the application for leave is barred by time and as a successive application, and it does not meet any of the exception to those bars. Miss. Code Ann. §§ 99-39-5(2), 99-39-27(9) (Rev. 2015). Not withstanding the bars, we find the claims are without merit. Accordingly, the application for leave should be dismissed.

         We find the instant filing is also frivolous. Jackson is hereby warned that future filings deemed frivolous may result not only in additional monetary sanctions, but also restrictions on filing applications for post-conviction collateral relief (or pleadings in that nature) in forma pauperis. See En Banc Order, Fairley v. State, 2014-M-01185 (Miss. May 3, 2018) (citing Order, Bownes v. State, 2014-M-00478 (Miss. Sept. 20, 2017)).

         IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the application for post-conviction collateral relief filed by Randy Dale Jackson is dismissed as procedurally barred.

         SO ORDERED.

          AGREE: WALLER, C.J., RANDOLPH, P.J., COLEMAN, MAXWELL, BEAM, CHAMBERLIN, AND ISHEE, JJ.

          KING, J., OBJECTS TO THE ORDER IN PART WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN STATEMENT JOINED BY KITCHENS, P.J.

          KING, JUSTICE, OBJECTING TO THE ORDER IN PART WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN STATEMENT:

         ¶1. Although Randy Jackson's application for post-conviction relief does not merit relief, I disagree with the Court's finding that the application is frivolous and with the warning that future filings deemed frivolous may result in monetary sanctions or restrictions on filing applications for post-conviction collateral relief in forma pauperis.[1]

         ¶2. This Court previously has defined a frivolous motion to mean one filed in which the movant has "no hope of success." Roland v. State, 666 So.2d 747, 751 (Miss. 1995). However, "though a case may be weak or 'light-headed,' that is not sufficient to label it frivolous." Calhoun v. State, 849 So.2d 892, 897 (Miss. 2003). Jackson made reasonable arguments regarding violations of his fundamental rights. As such, I disagree with the Court's determination that Jackson's application is frivolous.

         ¶3. Additionally, I disagree with this Court's warning that future filings may result in monetary sanctions or restrictions on filling applications for post-conviction collateral relief in forma pauperis. The imposition of monetary sanctions upon a criminal defendant proceeding in forma pauperis only serves to punish or preclude that defendant from his lawful right to appeal. Black's Law Dictionary defines sanction as "[a] provision that gives force to a legal imperative by either rewarding obedience or punishing disobedience." Sanction, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014) (emphasis added). Instead of punishing the defendant for filing a motion, I believe that this Court should simply deny or dismiss motions which lack merit. As Justice Brennan wisely stated,

The Court's order purports to be motivated by this litigant's disproportionate consumption of the Court's time and resources. Yet if his filings are truly as repetitious as it appears, it hardly takes much time to identify them as such. I find it difficult to see how the amount of time and resources required to deal properly with McDonald's petitions could be so great as to justify the step we now take. Indeed, the time that has been consumed in the preparation of the present order barring the door to Mr. McDonald far exceeds that which would have been necessary to process his petitions for the next several years at least. I continue to find puzzling the Court's fervor in ensuring that rights granted to the poor are not abused, even when so doing actually increases the drain on our limited resources.

In re McDonald, 489 U.S. 180, 186-87, 109 S.Ct. 993, 997, 103 L.Ed.2d 158 (1989) (Brennan, J., dissenting) (per curiam).[2]

         ¶4. The same logic applies to the restriction on filing subsequent applications for post- conviction relief. To cut off an indigent defendant's right to proceed in forma pauperis is to cut off his access to the courts. This, in itself, violates a defendant's constitutional rights, for Among the rights recognized by the Court as being fundamental are the rights to be free from invidious racial discrimination, to marry, to practice their religion, to communicate with free persons, to have due process in disciplinary proceedings, and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. As a result of the recognition of these and other rights, the right of access to courts, which is necessary to vindicate all constitutional rights, also became a fundamental right. Joseph T. Lukens, The Prison Litigation Reform Act: Three Strikes and You're Out ofCourt-It May Be Effective, but Is It Constitutional?, 70 Temp. L. Rev. 471, 474-75 (1997). This Court must not discourage convicted defendants ...


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