Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Stevenson v. Myers

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

April 3, 2018

Troy Stevenson, Petitioner,
v.
Ronaldo Myers, Respondent.

          OPINION & ORDER

          Henry M. Herlong, Jr. Senior United States District Judge

         This matter is before the court with the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Jacquelyn D. Austin, made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02 of the District of South Carolina.[1] Troy Stevenson (“Stevenson”) is a state pretrial detainee seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Stevenson filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus on January 1, 2017, arguing that the trial judge improperly granted a mistrial, and that the charges against Stevenson should be dismissed on grounds of double jeopardy. (Pet., ECF No. 1.) On July 31, 2017, Ronaldo Myers' (“Myers”) first motion for summary judgment was denied without prejudice. (July 31, 2017 Order, ECF No. 26.) On September 5, 2017, Myers filed a second motion for summary judgment. (Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 29.) Stevenson filed a response in opposition on September 19, 2017, and Myers filed a reply on September 22, 2017. (Resp. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 30); (Reply Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 32.)

         On February 24, 2018, Stevenson filed a motion to expedite consideration, notifying the court that his state criminal case has been scheduled for trial during the week of April 9, 2018. (Mot. Expedite Consideration, ECF No. 34.) Myers filed a response on March 8, 2018, taking no position on the motion to expedite consideration. (Resp. Mot. Expedite Consideration, ECF No. 35.) On March 16, 2018, Magistrate Judge Austin issued a Report and Recommendation in which she recommends granting Myers' motion for summary judgment and granting Stevenson's motion to expedite consideration. (Report & Recommendation, generally, ECF No. 37.) On March 30, 2018, Stevenson filed his objections to the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation. (Objs., ECF No. 38.) In addition, Stevenson requested oral argument on his objections to the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation. (Id., ECF No. 38.)

         I. Factual and Procedural History

         Stevenson is a pretrial detainee confined in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. (Pet. 1, ECF No. 1.) In February 2014, Stevenson was indicted for murder, kidnapping, second-degree burglary, and attempted armed robbery. (Return & Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Attach. 1 (Indictments), ECF No. 10-1.) On June 15, 2015, Stevenson proceeded to a jury trial.[2] (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr.), ECF No. 10-2.) The trial judge instructed the jury throughout the case that they were “not allowed to discuss the case in any way, shape, or form with anyone, including each other, friends, family members, coworkers, employers, [and] employees.” (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1285), ECF No. 10-2.) On June 17, 2015, the jury informed the trial judge that they were uncomfortable entering and leaving the courthouse because Stevenson's family and associates would congregate around the stairs in the courthouse where the jurors had to pass entering and exiting the building. (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1285-86), ECF No. 10-2.) On the same day, the jury informed the trial judge that one of Stevenson's family members or associates had made a comment “to the effect of ‘Have a good night or have a good day, Juror.'” (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1285), ECF No. 10-2.) The trial judge informed the parties of the misconduct. (Return & Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1286), ECF No. 10-2.) In addition, the trial judge assigned deputies to walk the jurors to their cars and provided the jurors with a route to enter and exit the courthouse without using the main door. (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1286), ECF No. 10-2.)

         The jury began deliberations on June 22, 2015, at 4:19 p.m. (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1245), ECF No. 10-2.) The trial judge halted the jury deliberations on June 22, 2015, at 5:24 p.m., after the prosecutor informed the court of potential misconduct by an alternate juror. (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1245, 1272, 1290), ECF No. 10-2); (Id. at 2, ECF No. 10.) Specifically, the prosecutor informed the trial judge that an alternate juror was seen embracing Stevenson's family member or someone associated with Stevenson upon her release as an alternate juror, and that both alternate jurors left the courthouse together and were observed with Stevenson's family member or associate outside the courthouse. (Return & Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1286), ECF No. 10-2.)

         With the consent of the parties, the trial judge questioned the jury as a group, and multiple jurors disclosed that they overheard the alternate juror state that “she had already made up her mind about the case and that the case was ridiculous.” (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1287), ECF No. 10-2.) Next, the trial judge questioned each juror individually under oath regarding their knowledge of any discussions of facts prior to the beginning of deliberations or the exercise of outside influence by Stevenson's family or associates. (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1287), ECF No. 10-2.) Eleven jurors indicated that they heard the alternate juror make the statement, and another juror indicated that the alternate juror whispered to her that “the defendant was not guilty and the blacks should stick together.” (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1287), ECF No. 10-2.) Moreover, one juror indicated that he had overheard members of the jury discussing the evidence prior to the beginning of deliberations, one juror overheard the alternate juror state that she did not want to be there and one juror answered that they had discussed a video that was admitted into evidence. (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1288), ECF No. 10-2.) All of these communications occurred pre-deliberation in direct violation of the trial judge's instruction to not discuss the case. (Return & Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1288-89), ECF No. 10-2.) However, the jurors stated that they could be fair and impartial moving forward. (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1289), ECF No. 10-2.) On June 22, 2015, the trial judge granted a mistrial based upon juror misconduct and outside influences. (Id. Attach. 2 (Trial Tr. 1283-90), ECF No. 10-2.)

         Stevenson filed a motion to dismiss the indictments on double jeopardy grounds on September 10, 2015. (Id. Attach. 5 (Oct. 15, 2015 Order), ECF No. 10-5.) A hearing was held on October 12, 2015, and the trial court denied the motion on October 15, 2015. (Id. Attach. 4 (Hr'g Tr.), ECF No. 10-4); (Return & Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Attach. 5 (Oct. 15, 2015 Order), ECF No. 10-5.)

         On October 16, 2015, Stevenson filed a notice of appeal. (Id. Attach. 6 (Notice of Appeal), ECF No. 10-6.) Stevenson filed his initial brief on December 10, 2015, and the State filed its initial brief on March 10, 2016. (Id. Attach. 7 (Appellant Br.), ECF No. 10-7); (Id. Attach. 8 (Resp't Br.), ECF No. 10-8.) The State filed a motion to dismiss the appeal as interlocutory on March 14, 2016, and the South Carolina Court of Appeals granted the motion to dismiss on May 12, 2016. (Id. Attach. 9 (Mot. Dismiss Appeal), ECF No. 10-9); (Return & Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Attach. 10 (May 12, 2016 Order), ECF No. 10-10.) Stevenson filed this petition for writ of habeas corpus on January 1, 2017. (Pet., ECF No. 1.)

         II. Report and Recommendation

         First, Magistrate Judge Austin recommends granting Myers' second motion for summary judgment on Stevenson's petition, because the record does not demonstrate that a second trial will constitute a violation of Stevenson's double jeopardy rights, and thus, federal intervention is inappropriate. (Report & Recommendation 12, ECF No. 37.) Specifically, the magistrate judge finds that the trial judge properly exercised his discretion in determining that manifest necessity existed to grant a mistrial. (Id. at 13, ECF No. 37.) Second, Magistrate Judge Austin recommends granting Stevenson's motion to expedite consideration. (Id. at 14, ECF No. 37.)

         III. Discussion of the Law

         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate only “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In deciding whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the evidence of the non-moving party is to be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in his favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.