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Carroll v. Outlaw

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division

December 20, 2018

DELDRICK LAMONT CARROLL PETITIONER
v.
WARDEN TIMOTHY OUTLAW, et al. RESPONDENTS

          ORDER

          DEBRA M. BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court in this habeas case is Deldrick Lamont Carroll's “Motion for Relief from Judgement Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P., 60(b)(6).” Doc. #32.

         I

         Procedural History

         On or about February 15, 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, 15. In his petition, Carroll asserted five 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 counsel's 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.

         On May 1, 2018, this Court entered a memorandum opinion and order adopting United States Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders' Report and Recommendation, which recommended that Carroll's petition for a writ of habeas corpus be denied. Doc. #27. A final judgment was issued the same day. Doc. #28.

         On or about August 22, 2018, Carroll, invoking Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6), filed a motion seeking relief from this Court's final judgment. Doc. #32 at 1, 15. The respondents filed a response in opposition to the motion on August 31, 2018. Doc. #33. On or about October 3, 2018, Carroll filed a “Motion to Dismiss Respondents' Motion in Response to 60(b) Motion, ” which is in substance a reply in support of his Rule 60(b) motion.[1] Doc. #34 at 1, 6.

         II

         Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) provides that a “court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding” for any of six reasons: (1) “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;” (2) “newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial under Rule 59(b);” (3) “fraud (whether previously called intrinsic or extrinsic), misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party;” (4) “the judgment is void;” (5) “the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged; it is based on an earlier judgment that has been reversed or vacated; or applying it prospectively is no longer equitable;” or (6) “any other reason that justifies relief.” Where, as here, a habeas petitioner relies on the catchall provision of 60(b)(6), he “is required to show extraordinary circumstances justifying the reopening of a final judgment.” Diaz v. Stephens, 731 F.3d 370, 374 (5th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         III

         Analysis

         In his motion for reconsideration, Carroll advances two arguments: (1) the district court erred in failing to reach the merits of his ineffective assistance of counsel claim, which the Court found to have been procedurally defaulted; and (2) he was entitled to an evidentiary hearing before dismissal of his claims.

         With regard to his ineffective assistance claim, Carroll argues that his claim was not procedurally defaulted because he was prevented from raising the claim on post-conviction review (during which he represented himself pro se) by the “historically known” Mississippi rule that “a claim not objected to at trial, or argued at trial, can not be brought for the first time on appeal.” Doc. #32 at 2. In essence, Carroll argues that because his claim was not presented at trial, he should be excused from having to raise the claim in a post-conviction petition because doing so would have been futile. This is simply not the case. Indeed, in its order denying Carroll's direct appeal from his conviction, the Mississippi Court of Appeals dismissed “Carroll's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, [but] preserve[d] his right to pursue the issue in a ...


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