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Scruggs v. State

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

December 28, 2018

ROBERT S. SCRUGGS PETITIONER
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI RESPONDENT

          ORDER

          DEBRA M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court are three post-judgment motions filed by Robert S. Scruggs. Docs. #34, #37, #38.

         I

         Procedural History

         On or about May 31, 2017, Robert Scruggs, acting pro se, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this Court. Doc. #1. On September 18, 2018, the Court dismissed Scruggs' petition and declined to issue a certificate of appealability. Doc. #29.

         On or about October 12, 2018, Scruggs filed a notice of appeal with the Fifth Circuit, Doc. #33, and a motion for a certificate of appealability, Doc. #34. On or about November 6, 2018, Scruggs filed a motion to extend the deadline to file financial documents in support of a motion to appeal in forma pauperis. Doc. #37. At approximately the same time, Scruggs filed an “Affidavit Accompanying Motion for Permission to Appeal in Forma Pauperis, ” Doc. #38, which this Court construes as a motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis; and a certificate of institution account information, Doc. #40.[1]

         II

         Motion for Extension

         Scruggs seeks a fifteen-day extension of the deadline to submit the financial documents in support of his motion to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal. Doc. #37. As grounds for this relief, Scruggs represents that he is “at the mercy of Mississippi Department of Correction[s], and the policy is seven days to request assistance [for] mailing financial authorization forms seven or more days to get them back, seven more days before ILAP mail ….” Id. at 2. Upon consideration, the Court concludes that Scruggs has stated adequate grounds for the requested extension. Accordingly, Scruggs' motion for extension is granted and his financial documents filed in support of his motion to appeal in forma pauperis are deemed timely filed.

         III

         Motion for Certificate of Appealability

         This Court must “issue or deny a certificate of appealability when it enters a final order adverse to the applicant.” Rule 11 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings for the United States District Courts. A certificate of appealability (“COA”) will issue “only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). To warrant a COA for a case rejected on their merits, a movant “must demonstrate that reasonable jurists would find the district court's assessment of the constitutional claims debatable or wrong.” Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). On a claim rejected on procedural grounds, a movant must demonstrate “that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Id.

         This Court has previously concluded that, for the reasons stated in its September 18 order, Scruggs cannot satisfy the Slack criteria for obtaining a certificate of appealability. Doc. #29 at 5-6. His ...


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