Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Williams v. Unknown Bradley

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

February 4, 2019

DONALD WILLIAMS, JR., # 187184 PETITIONER
v.
UNKNOWN BRADLEY, WARDEN RESPONDENT

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          F. KEITH BALL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This cause is before the Court on the petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Donald Williams, Jr., pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. [1], [6]. At the outset, the Court notes that its review of Williams's conviction is circumscribed. Federal courts do not sit as ''super'' state supreme courts in habeas corpus proceedings to review errors under state law. Dickerson v. Guste, 932 F.2d 1142, 1145 (5th Cir. 1991). Instead, A[a] state prisoner is entitled to relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 only if he is held 'in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.''' Engle v. Isaac, 456 U.S. 107, 110 (1981)(citing 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a)). Guided by these fundamental principles, the Court has considered Williams's petition, the Respondent's answer, and all related filings. For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the petition be dismissed with prejudice.

         I. Background

         Although the Court previously detailed the Petitioner's conviction and procedural history, see [23] at 1-4, a brief review will aid in the consideration of this case. On October 17, 2013, Williams was convicted in the Circuit Court of Pearl River County, Mississippi, for failing to register as a sex offender, in violation of Miss. Code Ann. § 45-33-33(1)(a) (Supp. 2014). [19-2] at 3; Williams v. Mississippi, 167 So.3d 252, 254 (Miss. Ct. App. 2015).[1] Williams was also indicted as a habitual offender pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-83 (Supp. 2014). The habitual offender indictment was based on convictions of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree from Minnesota in 1995 and aggravated battery from Illinois in 2008. [19-2] at 6; Williams, 167 So.3d at 254 n.2. Williams represented himself at trial. [19-2] at 4; Williams, 167 So.3d at 256; [22-4] at 6. The trial court subsequently sentenced Williams to life in prison as a habitual offender.

         Thereafter, Williams proceeded pro se on direct appeal, raising two issues:

1. That his 14th Amendment equal protection rights and 5th Amendment due process rights were violated when he was subjected to double jeopardy on the failure to register as a sex offender charge; and
2. That he was denied the basic, fundamental right to call key witnesses at trial, in particular, a Detective Chris Toast of the Picayune Police Department.

[53-5] at 29-31. The Mississippi Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction on June 9, 2015. [19-2] at 6; Williams, 167 So.3d at 259. Williams did not file a timely motion for rehearing or a petition for writ of certiorari with the Mississippi Supreme Court. He also did not pursue a motion for post-conviction relief in state court.

         On December 1, 2015, Williams filed his initial petition for habeas corpus relief in this Court. [1]. After Williams filed an amended petition [6], the State responded with a Motion to Dismiss [19], arguing that the petition should be dismissed based on Williams's failure to exhaust state remedies. After consideration of the filings, the Court found that the matter should be stayed and held in abeyance while Williams exhausted his state court remedies. See [23], [26].

         Williams returned to state court and filed a motion for post-conviction collateral relief. See [53-6]. In its order on the motion for post-conviction relief, the Mississippi Supreme Court observed that Williams raised “the exact claims that he presented on direct appeal.” [52-3] at 1. Specifically, he raised the following:

1. That his due process rights were violated when he was denied the opportunity to call key witnesses; and
2. That he was subjected to double jeopardy.

See [53-6] at 112, 187-189, 196-199, 211. As on his direct appeal, he also couched these claims in terms of equal protection violations. Id. at 211.

         The Mississippi Supreme Court denied relief. [52-3]. In its order, the court found that Williams's claim that he was denied due process when he was denied a key witness at trial was barred by res judicata and failed to meet any exceptions to that rule, including claims of an illegal sentence, the denial of due process in sentencing, and double jeopardy. Id. at 2. The court further stated that it considered the merits of Williams's double jeopardy claim and concluded that he did not “present a substantial showing of the denial of a state or federal right” pursuant to Mississippi Code Annotated § 99-39-27(5). Id.

         Thereafter, this Court lifted the stay, and the State responded to the Petition. [52], [53]. In his Petition, Williams argues the same grounds for relief that he presented on direct appeal ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.