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Jackson v. Vannoy

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

July 11, 2019

ANTONIO M. JACKSON, Petitioner
v.
DARREL VANNOY, Respondent

          DEE D. DRELL JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Joseph H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the Court is a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. 1) filed by pro se Petitioner Antonio M. Jackson (“Jackson”) (#363999). Jackson is an inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections, incarcerated at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. Jackson challenges his sentence imposed in the First Judicial District Court, Caddo Parish.

         Because Jackson cannot show he is in custody in violation of the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States, or that the state courts' decisions were: (1) contrary to or involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law; or (2) based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented, Jackson's Petition (Doc. 1) should be DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         I. Background

         The facts and procedural history were summarized by the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal as follows:

In 1994, the defendant and two accomplices committed an armed robbery, during the course of which two victims were killed.[1] At the time of the offenses, the defendant was 17 years old. He was convicted of one count of manslaughter, for which he was sentenced to 40 years at hard labor, and one count of second degree murder, for which he received the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively. This court affirmed his convictions and sentences in State v. Jackson, 29, 470 (La.App. 2 Cir. 8/20/97), 707 So.2d 990.
In Miller v. Alabama, supra, the United States Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders. The Miller court did not establish a categorical prohibition against life without parole for juvenile homicide offenders; instead, the case required the sentencing court to consider certain factors, including the offender's youth, before deciding whether to impose life with or without parole.
Following the Miller decision, the defendant filed a pro se motion to correct illegal sentence in August 2012. Relying upon the principles of State v. Craig, 340 So.2d 191 (La. 1976), [2] he argued that he should be resentenced to no more than 40 years at hard labor. Counsel was appointed to assist the defendant. The motion was denied in December 2013.
In 2013, the Louisiana Legislature enacted La.C.Cr.P. art. 878.1 and La. R.S. 15:574.4(E) to address cases under Miller. The former required district courts to conduct a hearing to determine parole eligibility, while the latter provided conditions under which juvenile homicide offenders could become eligible for parole consideration. In 2016, the United States Supreme Court, in Montgomery v. Louisiana, supra, held that Miller applied retroactively to defendants whose convictions and sentences were final prior to the decision in Miller.
In May 2016, the defendant filed another pro se motion to correct illegal sentence. He again urged the Craig solution. At a hearing on June 21, 2016, the motion was denied, as was the defendant's request for appointment of counsel. However, to bring the defendant's sentence in compliance with Miller, the trial court vacated his sentence on the second degree murder conviction and imposed a sentence of life without the possibility of probation or suspension. Because it was unable to articulate adequate grounds for consecutive sentences and also to enhance the defendant's opportunity for parole eligibility in conformity with Miller, the court further ordered that this sentence be served concurrently with the defendant's sentence for manslaughter.
On remand in the Montgomery case, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a per curiam decision on June 28, 2016, in which it directed lower courts to conduct hearings at which La.C.Cr.P. art. 878.1 and La. R.S. 15:574.4(E) were applied to determine whether to impose life imprisonment with or without parole eligibility. See State v. Montgomery, supra.
In July 2016, the defendant filed a pro se notice of appeal, as well as a motion for appointment of counsel, which was granted.
In August 2016, the defendant filed a pro se motion to reconsider sentence, in which he alleged violations of the ex post facto and due process clauses. The trial court ...

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