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Copeland v. Kelley

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

October 15, 2018

RANDY LEE COPELAND ADC #134820 PETITIONER
v.
WENDY KELLEY, Director, Arkansas Department of Correction RESPONDENT

          PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION INSTRUCTIONS

         The following recommended disposition has been sent to United States District Judge J. Leon Holmes. Any party may serve and file written objections to this recommendation. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for the objection. If the objection is to a factual finding, specifically identify that finding and the evidence that supports your objection. An original and one copy of your objections must be received in the office of the United States District Clerk no later than fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and recommendations. The copy will be furnished to the opposing party. Failure to file timely objections may result in waiver of the right to appeal questions of fact.

         If you are objecting to the recommendation and also desire to submit new, different, or additional evidence, and to have a hearing for this purpose before the United States District Judge, you must, at the same time that you file your written objections, include a “Statement of Necessity” that sets forth the following:

1. Why the record made before the Magistrate Judge is inadequate.
2. Why the evidence to be proffered at the requested hearing before the United States District Judge was not offered at the hearing before the Magistrate Judge.
3. An offer of proof setting forth the details of any testimony or other evidence (including copies of any documents) desired to be introduced at the requested hearing before the United States District Judge.

         From this submission, the United States District Judge will determine the necessity for an additional evidentiary hearing, either before the Magistrate Judge or before the District Judge.

         Mail your objections and “Statement of Necessity” to:

Clerk, United States District Court Eastern District of Arkansas 600 West Capitol Avenue, Suite A 149 Little Rock, AR 72201-3325

         I. Introduction

         BEFORE THE COURT is the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Randy Lee Copeland. (Doc. No. 1) Petitioner is serving 240 months in the Arkansas Department of Correction after a Garland County Circuit Court jury convicted him of robbery and third degree battery. The conviction derives from allegations that Copeland and his cousin, Robert Burrell, attacked Copeland's ex-girlfriend and her friend, Regina Warren, and stole a diamond ring. On direct appeal, Copeland argued the trial court abused its discretion in not granting him longer than an overnight continuance to prepare to cross-examine the accomplice, his cousin. The Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction in February 2017, finding Copeland failed to demonstrate prejudice resulting from the trial court's ruling. Copeland v. State, 2017 Ark.App. 104 (2017). The Arkansas Supreme Court denied Copeland's petition for review on April 6, 2017. Petitioner did not seek post-conviction relief.

         In his current petition before the Court, filed November 22, 2017, Petitioner raises four claims for review, namely (1) a denial of a continuance; (2) cumulative error; (3) a Brady violation; and (4) ineffective assistance of counsel.

         Respondent filed a Response on March 13, 2018, (Doc. No. 8), and she admits Petitioner is in her custody but denies he is entitled to any habeas relief. At the outset, Respondent notes Copeland's habeas petition is neither signed nor verified and submits that Copeland should be made to comply. Respondent further asserts that the claims are defaulted.

         For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the petition be denied and dismissed with prejudice.

         II. ...


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