Forside v. State of Mississippi
MEMORANDUM OPINION re 20 Order Dismissing Case. Signed by District Judge Sharion Aycock on 6/7/17. (jla)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
JAMES LESTER FORSIDE
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
This matter comes before the court on the pro se petition of James Lester Forside for a writ of
habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The State has moved to dismiss the petition for failure to
exhaust state court remedies. The petitioner has not responded to the motion; the deadline to do so has
expired, and the matter is ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the State’s motion will
be granted, and the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus will be dismissed without prejudice for
failure to exhaust state remedies.
Facts and Procedural Posture
James Forside is in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections and is currently
housed at the Bolivar County Correctional Facility in Cleveland, Mississippi. He pled guilty in the
Circuit Court of Oktibbeha County to one count of burglary of a building. On April 28, 2015, the
circuit court sentenced him as a habitual offender under Mississippi Code Annotated Section 99-19-81
to a term of seven years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Forside filed a motion for post-conviction collateral relief (PCR) in the Oktibbeha County
Circuit Court, which was dismissed on August 7, 2015. See Exhibit B1 (Docket, First PCR motion,
and Order of Dismissal in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Cause No. 2005-0481-CVC). Rather than
appealing the dismissal of the PCR motion to the Mississippi Supreme Court, Forside filed a
successive PCR motion in the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, which was dismissed on the merits on
The exhibits in the instant memorandum opinion refer to those found in the State’s motion to
November 9, 2015. See Exhibit C (Second PCR motion and Order of Dismissal in Oktibbeha County
Circuit Court Cause No. 2005-0481-CVC). Again, rather than appealing the dismissal of the second
PCR motion to the Mississippi Supreme Court, Forside filed two (2) more PCR motions in the
Oktibbeha County Circuit Court. See Exhibit D (Third PCR motion in Oktibbeha County Circuit
Court Cause No. 2005-0481-CVC); Exhibit E (Fourth PCR motion in Oktibbeha County Circuit
Court Cause No. 2005-0481-CVC). Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Clerk’s records reflect that these
pleadings are currently pending in that court. See Exhibit B. The records of the Mississippi Supreme
Court Clerk’s Office show no appeal filed by Forside at this time.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1), a prisoner seeking habeas corpus relief must first exhaust state
remedies. Section 2254 provides, in relevant part:
(b)(1) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody
pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted unless it appears that –
(A) the applicant has exhausted the state remedies available in the courts of
the State; or
(B) (i) there is an absence of available State corrective process; or
(ii) circumstances exist that render such process ineffective to protect the
rights of the appellant
(c) An applicant shall not be deemed to have exhausted the remedies available in the
courts of the State, within the meaning of this section, if he has the right under the law
of the State to raise, by any available procedure, the question presented.
AA fundamental prerequisite to federal habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. ' 2254 is the exhaustion
of all claims in state court under ' 2254(b)(1) prior to requesting federal collateral relief.@ Sterling v.
Scott, 57 F.3d 451, 453 (5th Cir. 1995) (citing Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509 (1982)). A finding of
exhaustion requires the petitioner to have Afairly presented the substance of his claims to the state
courts.@ Sones v. Hargett, 61 F.3d 410, 414-15 (5th Cir. 1995) (citing Vela v. Estelle, 708 F.2d 954, 958
(5th Cir. 1983)). Further, exhaustion Arequires that normally a state prisoner=s entire federal habeas
petition must be dismissed unless the prisoner=s state remedies have been exhausted as to all claims
raised in the federal petition.@ Graham v. Johnson, 94 F.3d 958, 968 (5th Cir. 1996) (citing Rose, 455
U.S. at 518-19). The exhaustion doctrine serves the salutary purpose of Agiving the state courts the
first opportunity to review the federal constitutional issues and to correct any errors made by the trial
courts, [and thus] >serves to minimize friction between our federal and state systems of justice.=@
Satterwhite v. Lynaugh, 886 F.2d 90, 92 (5th Cir. 1989) (quoting Rose, at 518) (citations omitted).
In the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Forside challenges the circumstances
surrounding his plea of guilty. He has not, however, exhausted those claims by giving the Mississippi
Supreme Court the opportunity to review them. Once the Circuit Court rules on Forside’s pending
motions, he may appeal any adverse rulings to the Mississippi Supreme Court to exhaust his state
court remedies. See Miss. Code Ann. § 99-39-25.
The petitioner still may pursue his current motions to conclusion in state court. As such, the
instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be dismissed for failure to exhaust state remedies.
The court cautions the petitioner that the one-year federal habeas corpus limitations period has been
running during the pendency of this federal petition, and the petitioner needs to move with diligence to
ensure that he exhausts state remedies prior to the expiration of the federal habeas corpus deadline. A
final judgment consistent with this memorandum opinion will issue today.
SO ORDERED, this, the 7th day of June, 2017.
/s/ Sharion Aycock
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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