Miles v. Strickland et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION adopting 5 the recommendation of the magistrate judge and concluding that this district court lacks jurisdiction over Mr. Miles's current petition for writ of habeas corpus. Signed by Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala on 11/30/2018. (YMB)
2018 Nov-30 PM 05:07
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
BOBBY GENE MILES,
WARDEN STRICKLAND, et al.,
Case No.: 3:18-cv-0145-MHH-JHE
In this action, petitioner Bobby Miles seeks a writ of habeas corpus to obtain
his release from state custody. (Doc. 1). Mr. Miles is serving a sentence relating
to a conviction for third-degree burglary. Mr. Miles was sentenced as a habitual
felon. Mr. Miles asked to proceed without paying a filing fee. (Doc. 2). The
magistrate judge assigned to this action granted Mr. Miles’s in forma pauperis
request. (Doc. 3, p. 1).
Because Mr. Miles acknowledged in his habeas petition in this case that he
previously filed two habeas petitions in this Court relating to the same conviction
(Doc. 1, p. 3), the magistrate judge ordered Mr. Miles to explain why the Court
should not dismiss this action as successive under 28 U.S.C. § 2244. (Doc. 3, at 2).
On April 16, 2018, the magistrate judge recommended that the Court dismiss Mr.
Miles’s action without prejudice as successive. (Doc. 5, p. 1). The magistrate
judge gave Mr. Miles’s notice of his right to object. (Doc. 5, p. 4).
Mr. Miles originally objected on April 23, 2018. (Doc. 6). On May 22,
2018, after the 14-day deadline for objections expired, Mr. Miles filed an amended
objection. (Doc. 7; see also Doc. 5, p. 4). This Court has considered all of Mr.
Miles’s objections, and the Court overrules them.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A district court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).
When a party objects to a report and recommendation, the district court must
“make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” Id. The
Court reviews for plain error proposed factual findings to which no objection is
made, and the Court reviews propositions of law de novo. Garvey v. Vaughn, 993
F.2d 776, 779 n.9 (11th Cir. 1993); see also United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093,
1095 (11th Cir. 1983) (per curiam), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1050 (1984) (“The
failure to object to the magistrate’s findings of fact prohibits an attack on appeal of
the factual findings adopted by the district court except on grounds of plain error or
manifest injustice.”) (internal citation omitted); Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 Fed.
Appx. 781, 784 (11th Cir. 2006).
In his petition for habeas corpus, Mr. Miles challenges his April 9, 1997
sentence enhancement connected to his March 21, 1997 conviction in the Colbert
County Circuit Court for third degree burglary. (Doc. 1, p. 2). Mr. Miles contends
that the state circuit court violated his constitutional rights by illegally enhancing
his sentence to 30 years. (Doc. 1, pp. 3, 4).
As the magistrate judge summarized, the Alabama Court of Criminal
Appeals affirmed Mr. Miles’s conviction on August 22, 1997. (Doc. 5, p. 1; see
also Doc. 1, p. 2). Mr. Miles also has filed at least one unsuccessful state Rule 32
petition. (Doc. 5, p. 1; see also Doc. 1, p. 3). Additionally, Mr. Miles previously
has filed two habeas petitions in this Court. (Doc. 5, pp. 1-3; see also Doc. 1, p. 3).
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the court of appeals for this district,
affirmed the merits-based dismissal of Mr. Miles’s first habeas petition, Miles v.
Mitchem, et al., Case No. 2:98-cv-00644-RBP-RRA (N.D. Ala. Mar. 19, 1998).
(Doc. 5, pp. 1-2; see also Doc. 1, p. 3); Miles v. Mitchem, 251 F.3d 162 (11th Cir.
This Court dismissed Mr. Miles’s second habeas petition, Miles v.
Strickland, et al., Case No. 3:16-cv-01089-RDP-JHE (N.D. Ala. July 5, 2016), as
successive to his first petition. (Doc. 5, p. 2; see also Doc. 1, p. 3). The Eleventh
Circuit refused Mr. Miles’s request for permission from the court of appeals to
pursue a second habeas petition in this district court.
In his original and amended objections, Mr. Miles makes clear that he
challenges the legality of the state court’s sentence enhancement of his sentence
for third degree burglary, not the conviction for third-degree burglary. (Doc. 6, p.
1; Doc. 7, p. 1). That distinction does not affect the Court’s assessment of whether
Mr. Miles’s current action is a second or successive petition. When two petitions
“contest the same custody imposed by the same judgment of a state court,” the
latter is a second or successive petition. Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S. 147, 152
(2007) (holding a petitioner’s later petition challenging his sentence was “second
or successive” to his first petition challenging his conviction, where both petitions
addressed custody pursuant to the same judgment).
Mr. Miles’s present petition challenges “the same custody imposed by the
same judgment” which he has attacked in his previous federal habeas petitions.
Therefore, the magistrate judge correctly determined that Mr. Miles’s petition is
successive under Burton.
Because Mr. Miles has not obtained an order from the Eleventh Circuit
permitting him to bring this successive petition, the magistrate judge did not err
when he concluded that this Court lacks jurisdiction over this petition. See 28
U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A). Without jurisdiction over Mr. Miles’s petition, the Court
may not address the remainder of Mr. Miles’s objections. See Univ. of S. Ala. v.
Am. Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 405, 410 (11th Cir. 1999) (“Without jurisdiction the
court cannot proceed at all in any cause.”).
For the reasons stated above, the Court agrees that Mr. Miles’s current
federal habeas petition is successive to his previous federal petitions. Therefore,
the Court adopts the recommendation of the magistrate judge and concludes that
this district court lacks jurisdiction over Mr. Miles’s current petition for writ of
The Court will enter a separate final order consistent with this opinion.
DONE and ORDERED this November 30, 2018.
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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