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Ross v. State

United States District Court, D. Arizona

April 7, 2015

Jamonz Majerrious Ross, Petitioner,
State of Arizona, et al., Respondents.


JAMES A. TEILBORG, Senior District Judge.

Pending before the Court is the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. 46), recommending that Petitioner's First Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 15) be denied.

I. Background

The Court adopts the magistrate judge's characterization of the facts, but summarizes the relevant facts. The Arizona Court of Appeals found the following facts regarding the crimes for which Petitioner was convicted at the state court:

[Petitioner] was pulled over for a traffic violation on December 23, 2009. The officer noticed a pill bottle sticking out of [Petitioner's] pocket, and noticed that the name "Ross" was not on the bottle. The officer suspected the pills were Alprazolam, a controlled substance, but did not charge [Petitioner] until the substance contained in the pills could be verified by the lab. The officer impounded the pills and sent them to a crime lab. A forensic scientist testified that in fact, the pills were Alprazolam.
On September 25, 2010, a police officer was notified by a detective that [Petitioner] might be in the area and that there was a warrant for his arrest [for the crimes charged in CR XXXX-XXXXXX]. After [Petitioner] was arrested and transported to county jail, "several items of drugs" consisting of pills, methamphetamine and marijuana were found on his person. He was booked under the original warrant because the drugs [seized on September 25, 2010, ] had not yet been officially tested and identified, so he was released. However, a forensic scientist for the Phoenix Police Department testified [at Petitioner's trial] that her analysis of items submitted for testing were the controlled substances alleged in the indictment.
On October 30, 2010, [Petitioner] was arrested based on the September 25, 2010 charges. When he was searched, another two baggies of methamphetamine and marijuana were found.

(Doc. 41, Exh. CC at 3-4).

Petitioner was arraigned for his two charges on November 18, 2010 and December 9, 2010. (Doc. 41, Exhs. C, E). The minute entries indicate that Petitioner was represented by counsel at the arraignments. ( Id. ). Petitioner makes several other factual assertions regarding the arraignments which, for the purposes of adjudicating this petition, the Court accepts as true. First, Petitioner asserts that he participated in the arraignments via closed-circuit television. Next, Petitioner asserts that the commissioner who conducted the arraignments entered a not guilty plea "for him" without holding a "discussion" as to the charges. Finally, Petitioner asserts that he has been denied access to the transcripts or recordings of his arraignments, which he claims would prove the inadequacy of his arraignments.

At both trials, Petitioner represented himself. Mid-trial, Petitioner filed a special action in the Arizona Court of Appeals, arguing, inter alia, that his arraignments were constitutionally defective. The Arizona Court of Appeals summarily dismissed the petition. The Arizona Supreme Court denied review.

Petitioner was ultimately convicted in both cases and took a timely appeal of his convictions and sentences, consolidating his two trials for purposes of the appeal. On appeal, Petitioner again argued that his arraignments were improper. After the Arizona Court of Appeals rejected his argument, Petitioner moved for reconsideration, requested an evidentiary hearing, and moved to supplement the record with the arraignment transcripts. The motion for reconsideration was denied, and Petitioner sought review by the Arizona Supreme Court, which was also denied.

Petitioner also sought a writ of habeas corpus from the Arizona Supreme Court while his direct appeal was pending. There, Petitioner repeated his arguments regarding the sufficiency of his arraignments, which the Arizona Supreme Court rejected. Petitioner moved for reconsideration, arguing that the minute entries, upon which the Court of Appeals had relied to conclude that Petitioner's arraignments were constitutionally sound, were "lying" and that the recordings of the proceedings would prove his claims. Petitioner also asked for an evidentiary hearing. The Arizona Supreme Court denied the motion for reconsideration and the request for an evidentiary hearing.

Petitioner then submitted his petition to this Court for a federal writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254. The case was assigned to a magistrate judge, who recommended that the Court deny the petition. For the reasons stated ...

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