James-Bey v. Stancil
ORDER dismissing 6 Motion to Dismiss ; dismissing 7 Motion to Lift Stay and dismissing 8 Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28:2254. Signed by Chief Judge Frank D. Whitney on 5/10/16. (ssh)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
TERRANCE L. JAMES-BEY,
RENOICE E. STANCIL,
THIS MATTER is before the Court upon Petitioner Terrence James-Bey’s pro se
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 6), pro se Motion to Lift Stay (Doc. No. 7), and pro se Amended
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. No. 8).
Petitioner is a prisoner of the State of North Carolina currently serving a life sentence
without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder. The North Carolina Court of Appeals
found no error with respect to his trial, and the Supreme Court of North Carolina denied
discretionary review. State v. James, 540 S.E.2d 78 (N.C. Ct. App. 2000) (unpublished), review
denied, 547 S.E.2d 31 (N.C. 2001).
From 2004 to 2011, Petitioner, proceeding pro se, filed various state post-conviction
petitions, all of which were denied by the state courts. (Mot. to Stay § 2254 1, Doc. No. 2.)
During the same period, he also filed a number of applications in this Court for habeas relief
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Mot. to Stay § 2254, supra, at 1-2.) Each time, this Court
dismissed his application. See James v. N.C. Dep’t of Corr., No. 1:04-cv-201 (W.D.N.C.
dismissed Dec. 21, 2004); James v. N.C. Dep’t of Corr., No. 1:06-cv-148 (W.D.N.C. dismissed
May 15, 2006); James-Bey v. North Carolina, No. 1:11-cv-136 (W.D.N.C. dismissed Aug. 16,
On June 25, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Miller v. Alabama,
holding that “mandatory life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their
crimes violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on ‘cruel and unusual punishments.’” 132
S. Ct. 2455, 2460 (2012). Petitioner, who was under 18 at the time he committed the crime for
which he was sentenced to life imprisonment, filed a motion in the Fourth Circuit Court of
Appeals seeking authorization to file a successive § 2254 habeas petition in the District Court
challenging his mandatory life-without-parole sentence as unconstitutional under Miller. The
Fourth Circuit granted authorization. See No. 12-287 (4th Cir. May 10, 2013), Doc. Entry 36.
On June 24, 2013, Petitiomer, through counsel Sarah Jessica Farber of North Carolina
Prisoner Legal Services (“NCPLS”), filed a successive § 2254 habeas petition in this Court
raising an Eighth Amendment claim, as authorized by the Fourth Circuit. Simultaneously,
Petitioner, through counsel, filed a motion to stay the § 2254 petition (Doc. No. 2) and a Motion
for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice by attorney Frederick Liu, (Doc. No. 3). Petitioner sought to
place his habeas petition in abeyance pending adjudication of his Motion for Appropriate Relief
filed in Cleveland County Superior Court on May 22, 2013, in which he claimed he received a
mandatory sentence of life without parole as a juvenile, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
This Court granted the motion to stay and the motion for leave to appear pro hac vice on July 13,
2013. (Doc. No. 5). Proceedings in this matter remain in abeyance pending exhaustion of
Petitioner’s state remedies relative to his Eighth Amendment claim.
On September 11, 2015, Petitioner filed the instant Motion to Dismiss his habeas § 2254
petition, asserting that there is no record of his “natural person” requesting “an officer of the
Court” to represent him and that he is representing himself. (Doc. No. 6 at 1.) His Amended
Petition (Doc. No. 8), filed on February 1, 2016, purports to challenge the jurisdiction of the
State of North Carolina to hold him in custody.1 Petitioner’s Motion to Lift Stay, filed on
January 29, 2016, on the other hand, appears to be motivated by frustration at what he perceives
as delaying tactics on the part of the State in his on-going state court proceedings. (Doc. No. 8.)
The Constitution does not confer a right to proceed simultaneously by counsel and pro se.
See McKaskle v. Wiggins, 465 U.S. 168, 183 (1984) (finding no constitutional right to hybrid
representation). See also, United States v. Penniegraft, 641 F.3d 566, 569 n.1 (4th Cir. 2011)
(holding that where defendant is represented by counsel on appeal and his appeal is not
submitted pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), defendant may not submit pro
se briefing). Notwithstanding his assertions to the contrary, Petitioner is represented by counsel.
Petitioner agreed to allow NCPLS to represent him in his current state court-proceedings. (Mot.
to Stay 3, Doc. No. 2; Doc No. 4.) It was counsel from NCPLS who filed Petitioner’s current §
2254 habeas petition in this Court. (Pet. 26, Doc. No. 1.) Petitioner has not presented any
evidence that he is no longer represented by NCPLS, Mr. Liu, or any other counsel.
The fact that Petitioner may not recognize or acknowledge that he is represented by
counsel, does not change the fact that he is. Absent credible evidence that he is no longer
represented by counsel, the Court is not obligated to consider Petitioner's pro se filings, see
These documents bear the hallmarks of the “sovereign citizen” movement, whose adherents, according to the FBI,
purport to believe “the government is operating outside of its jurisdiction and generally do not recognize federal,
state, or local laws, policies, or governmental regulations.” Sovereign Citizens: An Introduction for Law
Enforcement, FBI Domestic Terrorism Operations Unit II, Nov. 2010, at 1, http://info.publicintelligence.net/fbi–
Wiggins, 465 U.S. at 183, and Petitioner has provided no rational or merit-worthy grounds for
the Court to do so.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Petitioner’s pro se Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No.
6), pro se Motion to Lift Stay (Doc. No. 7), and pro se Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas
Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Doc. No. 8) are DISMISSED.
Signed: May 9, 2016
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