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Jenkins v. Vannoy

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

August 8, 2019

LEE ROY JENKINS #73024
v.
DARRELL VANNOY, WARDEN

          NOTICE

          ERIN WILDER-DOOMES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Please take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report has been filed with the Clerk of the U.S. District Court.

         In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have 14 days after being served with the attached report to file written objections to the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendations set forth therein. Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings, conclusions and recommendations within 14 days after being served will bar you, except upon grounds of plain error, from attacking on appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal conclusions accepted by the District Court.

         ABSOLUTELY NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.

         MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

         Before this Court is the application of Petitioner Lee Roy Jenkins (“Petitioner” or “Jenkins”) for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.[1] As Petitioner has received the relief he requests in his application in state court, this Court no longer has subject matter jurisdiction and Petitioner's application should be denied as moot. There is no need for oral argument or for an evidentiary hearing.

         I. Factual Background

         On March 1, 1972, 15-year old Lee Roy Jenkins was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of Edward Trask. In light of the United States Supreme Court decisions in Miller v. Alabama[2] and Montgomery v. Louisiana, [3] Petitioner filed the instant petition challenging the constitutionality of his life sentence without the possibility of parole on April 7, 2016.[4] On May 12, 2016, this Court transferred the case to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal for authorization to consider Petitioner's successive claim.[5] The Fifth Circuit issued a mandate on June 23, 2016 authorizing Petitioner's successive habeas application and instructing this Court to consider whether Petitioner's application was untimely or procedurally barred prior to reaching the merits of his claim.[6]

         At the time Petitioner filed his habeas petition on April 7, 2016, he had filed a motion with the 20th Judicial District Court for the Parish of East Feliciana challenging his sentence under Montgomery, [7] but the district court had not yet ruled on the motion. The district court denied Petitioner's motion on April 28, 2016.[8] Petitioner then sought a writ with the First Circuit Court of Appeal, which was denied on December 14, 2016.[9] The Louisiana Supreme Court granted Petitioner's writ application on August 31, 2018, stating:

Writ granted. Relator pleaded guilty to murder in 1972 and was sentenced to imprisonment at hard labor for the balance of his natural life. At that time, the crime of murder was not differentiated into degrees. In Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012), the United States Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders, finding instead that the sentencing court must first hold a hearing to consider mitigating factors, such as a defendant's youth and attendant characteristics, before imposing this severe penalty. In Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 718, 193 L.Ed.2d 599 (2016), the United States Supreme Court further stated,
Giving Miller retroactive effect, moreover, does not require States to relitigate sentences, let alone convictions, in every case where a juvenile offender received mandatory life without parole. A State may remedy a Millerviolation by permitting juvenile homicide offenders to be considered for parole, rather than by resentencing them.
Montgomery, 577 U.S. at ___, 136 S.Ct. at 736. Relator here seeks a Miller hearing. However, none is necessary because a provision of law exists remedying any Miller violation by providing for relator's parole eligibility.

         Louisiana Revised Statute 15:574.4(D)(1) provides:

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any person serving a sentence of life imprisonment who was under the age of eighteen years at the time of the commission of the offense, except for a person serving a life sentence for a conviction of first degree murder (R.S. 14:30) or second degree murder (R.S. 14:30.1), shall be eligible for parole consideration pursuant ...

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