Juarez Keyes v. State of MississippiAnnotate this Case
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
DATE OF JUDGMENT:
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED:
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT:
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE:
NATURE OF THE CASE:
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION:
MOTION FOR REHEARING FILED:
HON. W. SWAN YERGER
HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
JUAREZ KEYES (PRO SE)
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
BY: JOHN R. HENRY
ELEANOR JOHNSON PETERSON
CIVIL - POST- CONVICTION RELIEF
POST- CONVICTION COLLATERAL RELIEF DISMISSED
AFFIRMED - 12/06/2005
BEFORE KING, C.J., BRIDGES AND GRIFFIS, JJ.
BRIDGES, J., FOR THE COURT:
Juarez Keyes appeals the Hinds County Circuit Court Order dismissing his motion for post-
conviction relief on the grounds that (1) the court erred in denying his motion, (2) whether he applies as
a habitual criminal, and (3) whether the court erred in denying document requests and the request for an
STATEMENT OF FACTS
On September 30, 1983, Juarez Keyes entered guilty pleas on six separate indictments in the
Hinds County Circuit Court. The court sentenced Keyes as a habitual offender. The court sentenced
Keyes to(1) a term of thirty-seven years for rape as an habitual offender under Section 99-19-81; (2)
fifteen years for robbery as an habitual offender under Section 99- 19-81 to run concurrent to the
sentence the prior sentence; (3) ten concurrent years for burglary; (4) ten concurrent years for
burglary as an habitual offender under Section 99-19-81; (5) twenty consecutive years aggravated
assault as an habitual offender under Section 99-19-81; and (6) ten concurrent years for breaking out
of a closure after commission of a crime as an habitual offender, but consecutive to the rape, robbery,
and two burglary charges.
On September 27, 1989, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled on Keyes post- conviction
motions for five of the six counts in Keyes v. State, 549 So.2d 949 (Miss.1989). Whether or not the
court could consider Keyes a habitual offender acted as the only issue in this prior motion as Keyes
argued that the court had to give him a separate hearing to decide his habitual offender status. The
court noted that a special hearing to determine habitual offender occurs only when the defendant pleads
not guilty as a way to prevent prejudicing the jury with evidence from prior convictions. “Under these
circumstances, we find beyond peradventure that Keyes' status as an habitual offender was established
at the time his sentences were imposed.” Keyes v. State, 549 So.2d at 951.
On August 18, 2003 Keyes filed another post- conviction relief motion also challenging his
habitual offender status for the remaining burglary count that he failed to challenge in his previous
motion. The Hinds County court denied this motion citing Mississippi Code Annotated § 99-39-11(2)
which states, “ If it plainly appears from the face of the motion, any annexed exhibits and the prior
proceedings in the case that the movant is not entitled to any relief, the judge may make an order for its
dismissal and cause the prisoner to be notified.”
“When reviewing a lower court's decision to deny a petition for post-conviction relief this Court
will not disturb the trial court's factual findings unless they are found to be clearly erroneous. However,
where questions of law are raised the applicable standard is de novo.” Golmon v. State, 844 So.2d
1178, 1179 (¶2) (Miss. Ct. App. 2003), citing Brown v. State, 731 So.2d 595, 598(¶ 6)
The State contends that Keyes appeal does not properly appear before this Court. First the
state argues that Keyes filed his notice of appeal 134 days late according to the thirty day time limit
imposed by M.R.A.P. 4. Keyes argues that the trial court clerk failed to mail him the trial court’s
order. Accordingly he surmises that this prevented him from preparing his appeal and tolled the
statutory period. He further contends that the State cannot prove he received the order.
The State points out that if Keyes failed to receive the order he had a duty under M.R.A.P 4(h)
to file a motion to reopen the time for appeal, which Keyes failed to do. Instead Keyes cites to
Egerton v. Cockrell, 334 F.3d 433 (5th Cir. 2003) that concerns tolling the statute of limitations for
habeas corpus motions under U.S.C.A. § 2244(d)(1)(B), which requires, when, “the prisoner must
show that: (1) he was prevented from filing a petition (2) by State action (3) in violation of the
Constitution or federal law,” in order to toll the statutory period. This federal habeas statute clearly
does not apply to Mississippi post- conviction relief proceedings.
The State further argues that according to Mississippi Code Annotated § 99-39-23(6) “any
order dismissing the prisoner’s motion or otherwise denying relief under this chapter is a final judgement
and shall be conclusive until reversed. It shall be a bar to a second or successive motion under this
chapter. Also of note, the motion falls way past the three year statute of limitations imposed by Miss.
Code Ann. § 99-39-5. The trial court correctly denied Keyes’s motion based on all or any of these
reasons to procedurally bar his motion.
Keyes argues that one of the prior convictions the trial court used to enhance his sentence was
a probation violation document that did not meet the requirements of Mississippi Code Annotated §
19-19-81. He also argues that since the trial court only sentenced him to thirty-seven years for his rape
sentence that the court actually abused it discretion because the court must give a maximum sentence
under the statute. For this he cites Harris v. State 527 So.2d 647, 651 (Miss.1988) which says, “ If a
defendant is a repeat offender falling within the provisions of Miss. Code Ann. § 99-19-81 the trial
judge has no alternative but to sentence him under said statute.” Further Keyes argues that if the State
properly turned over documents used in his grand jury proceedings he could secure a different
outcome. He also argues that the court erred in denying his motion.
Keyes cites to Ard v. State, 403 So.2d 875, 876 (Miss. 1981) where the supreme court
denied the appellant’s status as a habitual offender because the court did not state, “the court in which
he was convicted, the date of the judgment, the nature or the description of the offense for which he
was convicted, nor that he was sentenced to serve one year or more in any state and/or federal penal
institution, whether in this state or elsewhere.” The supreme court noted when deciding this in his earlier
attempt, “the two prior felony convictions relied upon for enhancement of sentence were separate
robbery convictions in Cook County, Illinois.” Keyes 549 So.2d at 950. The court also added that
both convictions presented Keyes with over a year to serve. So even if Keyes’s motion got passid the
procedural errors it still fails on the merits.
¶11. THE JUDGMENT OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HINDS COUNTY DENYING
POST-CONVICTION RELIEF IS AFFIRMED. ALL COSTS OF THIS APPEAL ARE
ASSESSED TO HINDS COUNTY.
KING, C.J., LEE AND MYERS, P.JJ., CHANDLER, GRIFFIS AND ISHEE, JJ.
CONCUR. IRVING, J., CONCURS IN RESULT ONLY. BARNES, J., CONCURS IN
PART AND IN THE RESULT.