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In re Young

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

June 8, 2015

In re: CLINTON LEE YOUNG, Movant

Page 519

On Motion for Authorization to File Successive Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.

For In re: CLINTON LEE YOUNG, Movant: Margaret Alice-Anne Farrand, Margo Ann Rocconi, Esq., Federal Public Defender, Joseph Anthony Trigilio, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Federal Public Defender's Office, Los Angeles, CA.

Before JOLLY, SMITH, and CLEMENT, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 520

EDITH BROWN CLEMENT, Circuit Judge:

Clinton Lee Young was convicted of the capital murders of Doyle Douglas and Samuel Petrey on March 27, 2003. He was sentenced to death on April 14, 2003. He now seeks authorization to file a successive petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2)(B). For the reasons explained below, Young's motions for authorization and for a stay of execution are denied.

FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

I. The Murders

The following summary of the relevant facts comes from the opinion and order of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (" TCCA" ), affirming Young's conviction on direct appeal.

On November 24, 2001, [Young], Darnell McCoy, Mark Ray, and David Page decided to drive to Longview to buy some marijuana. Because none of them owned a car, [Young] asked [Doyle] Douglas if he could borrow his car. Douglas refused, but offered to drive the group to Longview himself. When they arrived at their destination, [Young] shot Douglas in the head with a .22 caliber semi-automatic handgun. Ray testified that [Young] threatened the remainder of the group by saying, " If y'all don't get him in the trunk, you're going to be like him." Ray assumed that [Young] meant that they would also be shot. Ray, McCoy, and Page put Douglas in the trunk.
The group then got back in the car and [Young] drove off. [Young] later told Ray that he needed Douglas's car to go see his girlfriend. [Young] stopped the car in a remote wooded area near a creek and ordered Ray, Page, and McCoy to take Douglas's body out of the trunk. The men complied and dragged Douglas's body down to the creek while [Young] smoked a cigarette. Page testified that [Young] told Ray that he was going to have to prove himself by shooting Douglas in the head. [Young] got a pillow from the car and held it against Douglas's head which was face-down in the creek. Ray shot Douglas in the head once more.
Ray testified that [Young] then drove to a gas station and told his companions that one of them had to go to Midland with him to see his girlfriend because " [i]f y'all squeal, you know, by the time I hear about it, your friend's going to be dead." Page volunteered to go, and [Young] took Ray and McCoy home. [Young] called his girlfriend, Amber Lynch, presumably to make arrangements to meet her, and learned that her father, Bart Lynch, was with her. Page testified that [Young] realized that Bart would recognize Douglas's car because Douglas and Bart knew each other. Thus, [Young] looked for another car to steal in Weatherford, but was unsuccessful.
The two then drove to Eastland and stopped at a Brookshire Brothers grocery

Page 521

store to get some gas. [Samuel] Petrey was walking back to his pick-up truck from the grocery store when [Young] abducted him at gunpoint. [Young] ordered Petrey into his truck and then drove off with Page following in Douglas's car. [Young] later stopped at a rest area and telephoned Amber. Page testified that [Young] decided that they would slit Petrey's throat and " leave him somewhere."
[Young] got back in the truck, and Page continued to follow in Douglas's car until they could find a location to abandon Douglas's car. Page testified that Petrey told [Young] that he was familiar with the area and knew of a place to hide Douglas's car. According to Page, Petrey was compliant and helpful. Petrey directed them to another wooded remote area, and Page parked Douglas's car in some bushes. [Young] then fired several shots into the car in an attempt to " blow it up" but was unsuccessful.
[Young], Page, and Petrey then drove toward Midland. They made several stops and eventually stopped at a Wal-Mart, where [Young] ordered Petrey to buy a $500 assault rifle. Because of the waiting period, Petrey was not able to leave with the rifle. When they returned to the truck, [Young] called Amber again. Bart got on the phone with [Young] and told him that he knew what had happened to Douglas. Bart indicated that the police were looking for [Young] and Page. He also indicated that Page's father knew about the situation and wanted Page to call him. Page then called his father and, after speaking with him, told [Young] that he needed to be dropped off so that he could turn himself in. [Young] refused and instead drove to a " pump-jack site," where he told Page that they needed to " get rid of all the evidence."
Page testified that Petrey was leaning up against his truck smoking a cigarette when [Young] walked up to him and said, " Sorry, Sam, you know too much. You got to die." [Young] then shot Petrey twice. Some blood splashed on the bumper of Petrey's truck, so [Young] ordered Page to clean it off. The two then left in Petrey's truck. After discussing what to do next, Page finally persuaded [Young] to drop him off at an IHOP so he could turn himself in.

Young v. State, No. AP-74643, 2005 WL 2374669, at *1-3 (Tex.Crim.App. Sep. 28, 2005) (en banc) (unpublished).

Additionally, at trial, the defense elicited testimony that both called into question Young's guilt and suggested that Page may have killed Petrey. For example, Christopher McElwee testified that, while in jail following the murders, Page said he was wearing gloves when he shot Douglas. Young v. Stephens, No. MO-07-CA-002-RAJ, 2014 WL 509376, at *4 & n.75 (W.D. Tex. Feb. 10, 2014) opinion vacated in part, No. CIV. MO-07-CA-002, 2014 WL 2628941 (W.D. Tex. June 13, 2014). An expert testified that Page's, but not Young's, DNA was found on gloves at the murder scene. Id. at *3 & n.67, *4 & n.74. Further, the defense presented testimony that Page had opportunities to leave Young after the Douglas murder, but before the Petrey murder, but did not, further suggesting he was a willing participant in the Petrey murder. See Id. at *4 & n.76.

II. Post-Trial Proceedings

The TCCA affirmed Young's conviction on direct appeal. Young filed his first state habeas claim while his direct appeal was pending, alleging fourteen errors. The state court held four days of hearings and thereafter recommended denying relief. A few months later Young moved to

Page 522

add claims fifteen to twenty-two to his request for relief. The TCCA reviewed the record and concurred with the trial court's recommendation to deny relief; it also dismissed Young's new claims as an abuse of the writ because they constituted a subsequent writ application. Ex parte Young, No. WR-65,137-01, 2006 WL 3735395, at *1 (Tex.Crim.App. Dec. 20, 2006) (unpublished). Young filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the district court for the Western District of Texas on December 20, 2007. On October 20, 2008, Young filed a motion to stay his case in order to return to state court and advance new prosecutorial misconduct claims. Young, ...


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