United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KEITH BALL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
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. , . 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
the Court previously detailed the Petitioner's conviction
and procedural history, see  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). 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
Williams proceeded pro se on direct appeal, raising
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
December 1, 2015, Williams filed his initial petition for
habeas corpus relief in this Court. . After Williams filed
an amended petition , the State responded with a Motion to
Dismiss , 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 , .
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
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.
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).
this Court lifted the stay, and the State responded to the
Petition. , . In his Petition, Williams argues the
same grounds for relief that he presented on direct appeal