OF JUDGMENT: 02/26/2018
JUDGE: HON. JOSEPH H. LOPER JR. COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED:
WINSTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OCEAN ROBERSON (PRO SE)
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
Ocean Travell Roberson, appearing pro se, appeals the Winston
County Circuit Court's denial of his motion for
postconviction relief (PCR motion). Finding no error, we
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In or around March 2015, Roberson was indicted on one count
of statutory rape of a child under fourteen-years old in
violation of Mississippi Code Annotated Section 97-3-65(1)(b)
(Rev. 2014). In May 2015, Roberson pleaded guilty, and the
circuit court sentenced him to twenty years in the custody of
the Mississippi Department of Corrections, with twelve years
suspended and the remaining eight years to serve.
Roberson filed a PCR motion in 2018 alleging that (1) his
counsel's representation was ineffective, (2) his
indictment was defective and invalid, (3) the State
prosecuted him under an invalid indictment, (4) he was
improperly convicted under the invalid indictment, and (5)
his guilty plea was not voluntarily, knowingly, or
intelligently given. The circuit court denied Roberson's
PCR motion, and he appeals.
"When reviewing a trial court's denial or dismissal
of a PCR motion, we will only disturb the trial court's
factual findings if they are clearly erroneous; however, we
review the trial court's legal conclusions under a de
novo standard of review." Alexander v. State,
228 So.3d 338, 340 (¶7) (Miss. Ct. App. 2017).
Assistance of Counsel
Roberson asserts that he received ineffective assistance of
counsel because his trial counsel failed to investigate and
object to his indictment. Roberson maintains that the absence
of his date of birth and the victim's date of birth
rendered the indictment invalid.
"An ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim requires a
showing that (1) counsel's performance was deficient, and
(2) this deficient performance resulted in prejudice to the
defendant." Moore v. State, 248 So.3d 845,
850-51 (¶14) (Miss. Ct. App. 2017) (citing
Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984)).
"In the context of a guilty plea, one must show
counsel's errors proximately resulted in the guilty plea
and, but for counsel's error, the defendant would not
have entered the guilty plea." Id. (internal
quotation marks omitted).
Roberson's indictment reads in part:
On or about January 1, 2015, in Winston County, Mississippi,
and within the jurisdiction of this court, did willfully,
unlawfully, intentionally and feloniously have sexual
intercourse with [J.H.], a female child under the age of
fourteen (14) years, when she the said [J.H.] was twenty four
(24) or more months younger than the said Ocean Travell
Roberson, and the said [J.H.] was not the spouse of Ocean
Travell Roberson, in violation of Miss. Code Ann. §
97-3-65-(1)(b), and against the peace and dignity of the
State of Mississippi.
This Court addressed the issue of a trial counselor's
failure to object to an indictment in Rush v. State,
811 So.2d 431 (Miss. Ct. App. 2001). In that case, Rush
claimed "that his attorney erred in not objecting to the
indictment which Rush define[d] as vague and ambiguous."
Id. at 435 (¶8). This Court held that
Rush's indictment met "the requirements found in
[UCRCCC] 7.06 governing the form and [the] content of
[the] indictment [and was] not vague or ambiguous."
Id. at 435 (¶8). As a result, we held that
"Rush's attorney did not err in not objecting to a
valid indictment." Id.
Here, the record reflects that Roberson's indictment fits
the requirements found in Rule 7.06. The rule states the
The indictment upon which the defendant is to be tried shall
be a plain, concise and definite written statement of the
essential facts constituting the offense charged and shall
fully notify the defendant of the nature and cause of the
accusation. Formal and technical words are not necessary in
an indictment, if the offense can be substantially described
without them. An indictment shall also include the following:
1. The name of the accused;
2. The date on which the indictment was filed in court;
3. A statement that the prosecution is brought in the name
and by the authority of the State of Mississippi;
4.The county and judicial district in which the indictment is
5. The date and, if applicable, the time at which the offense
was alleged to have been committed. Failure to state the
correct date shall not ...