327 F.3d 273 (4th Cir. 2003), 01-9, U.S. v. Jackson

Docket Nº:01-9
Citation:327 F.3d 273
Party Name:U.S. v. Jackson
Case Date:March 18, 2003
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

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327 F.3d 273 (4th Cir. 2003)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Richard Allen JACKSON, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 01-9

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 18, 2003

Argued: Sept. 23, 2002.

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Milton Gordon Widenhouse, Jr., Rudolf, Maher, Widenhouse & Fialko, Chapel Hill, NC, for Appellant.

Jerry Wayne Miller, Assistant United States Attorney, Asheville, NC, for Appellee.


David G. Belser, Belser & Parke, Asheville, NC, for Appellant.

Robert J. Conrad, Jr., United States Attorney, Asheville, NC, for Appellee.

Before NIEMEYER, MOTZ, and KING, Circuit Judges.

Affirmed by published opinion. Judge NIEMEYER wrote an opinion, Parts I, IV and XVI of which Judge DIANA GRIBBON MOTZ and Judge KING joined. Judge DIANA GRIBBON MOTZ and Judge KING wrote a separate opinion that constitutes the court's opinion on Parts II and III.


NIEMEYER, Circuit Judge, writing for the court in Parts I, IV-XVI:

A federal jury convicted Richard Allen Jackson of using a firearm during and in relation to kidnapping, sexually abusing, and murdering Karen Styles on October 31, 1994, in the Pisgah National Forest near Asheville, North Carolina, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j). Acting under the process required by 18 U.S.C. § 3593(e), the jury recommended that Jackson be sentenced to death. In accordance with that recommendation, the district court imposed the sentence of death on May 14, 2001.

On appeal, Jackson contends: (1) that the district court erred in denying his motion to dismiss the indictment for prosecutorial vindictiveness in light of the circumstances surrounding his State and federal prosecutions; (2) that the district court erred in denying his motion to dismiss on double-jeopardy grounds because he had been tried on the same facts in State court; (3) that the district court unconstitutionally excluded a juror on the basis of his death penalty views; (4) that the district court erred in denying Jackson's motion for a mistrial based upon the alleged prosecutorial misconduct of calling a witness whose testimony was tainted and unreliable; (5) that the district court erred in admitting the testimony of stungun expert Dr. Robert Stratbucker; (6) that the district court erred in admitting the prior-act testimony of Georgia Katz and Maurice Evans, in violation of Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b); (7) that the district court unconstitutionally excluded evidence regarding the psychological and emotional condition of Jackson's biological sister,

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proffered as mitigating evidence during the sentencing phase; (8) that the district court erroneously admitted, during the sentencing phase, an October 2000 videotaped interview of Jackson in rebuttal of the mitigating evidence presented by his mother, Sally Jackson; (9) that Jackson received ineffective assistance of counsel when one of his lawyers stated in his closing argument that "justice in this case says death"; (10) that the district court erred in allowing the jury to consider multiple intent factors when only one was necessary for imposition of the death penalty; (11) that the statutory aggravating circumstance found by the jury of "substantial planning and premeditation" is unconstitutionally vague; (12) that the district court erroneously instructed the jury when it failed to require that the entire jury consider a mitigating factor established if one juror found that factor to be established; (13) that the indictment was defective under the Fifth Amendment Indictment Clause, as interpreted in light of Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584, 122 S.Ct. 2428, 153 L.Ed.2d 556 (2002), and Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000), for failing to allege aggravating circumstances necessary for the imposition of the death penalty, and that absent such allegations, the death penalty could not have been imposed; and (14) that the district court erred in denying Jackson's motion to be returned to State custody to finish his preexisting State sentence before beginning his federal sentence, i.e., before being subject to the federal sentence of death.

Upon review of the entire record and after consideration of all of the issues raised by Jackson on appeal, as well as whether the sentence of death was imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor and whether the evidence supports the jury's special finding of the existence of an aggravating factor required to be considered under 18 U.S.C.§ 3592, we find no reversible error. See 18 U.S.C. § 3595. We state our reasons for the disposition of each of Jackson's arguments in the opinions that follow. Parts I, IV-XVI of this opinion and Parts II and III as written in the separate opinion by Judge Motz and Judge King constitute the opinions of the court. Accordingly, we affirm Jackson's conviction and the sentence of death imposed by the district court.


On Halloween morning, October 31, 1994, Karen Styles, a recent college graduate, disappeared from a trail in the Pisgah National Forest. A search initiated that evening, after Styles failed to return home, revealed no trace of Styles herself. Her car was, however, still parked at the lot at the head of the trail, and her car key was found on the trail two-tenths of a mile from the parking lot.

A little more than three weeks later, Styles' nude body was discovered by a hunter, duct-taped to a tree, where investigators also found a duct-tape wrapper, a pornographic magazine, and one spent Remington .22 caliber rifle casing. An autopsy revealed that Styles died from a single bullet wound to the head. She also had suffered ten stun-gun wounds to her body, nine of them inflicted within six inches of her pubic area. Investigators recognized from the duct-tape wrapper that the brand was sold at K-Mart. When sheriff's deputies contacted the nearest K-Mart store, located approximately one mile from the murder site, they discovered a receipt for a transaction that occurred on October 28, 1994, evidencing the purchase of a .22 rifle, a box of Remington .22 rifle ammunition, duct tape, a flashlight, and batteries. The ATF Form 4473 generated

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upon the purchase of the rifle revealed the purchaser to be Richard Allen Jackson.

On December 20, 1994, Jackson voluntarily accompanied police to the Buncombe County Sheriff's Department for an interview. After the officers advised Jackson of his Miranda rights, Jackson waived them and answered questions for approximately three hours about his background and his whereabouts in the days surrounding the date of Styles' murder. When the sheriff asked Jackson what he did with the rifle that he used to shoot Karen Styles, Jackson responded, "I think I need a lawyer present." The sheriff then informed Jackson that he would not ask him any more questions and stated, "Son, I know you bought the rifle and the duct tape at K-Mart on the 28th of October. I know you were in Bent Creek on the day she was killed, and that's fine, but you need help." At this point Jackson broke down, crying and insisting that he did not mean to kill anybody. After the officers informed Jackson that he did not need to say anything because he had invoked his right to counsel, Jackson stated that he wanted to tell the whole story to get it off of his chest. He then signed another waiver of his Miranda rights.

Jackson confessed fully. He stated that he arrived at the park around 8:00 a.m. and watched Styles as she stretched and walked down the trail. After sitting for a while, he took the gun out of the back of the car, loaded it, and started down the trail. He also had duct tape, a stun gun, and a pornographic magazine in his coat pockets. After Karen Styles passed him on the trail, Jackson turned around and pointed the gun at her, whereupon Styles took a key out of her shoe and told Jackson that there was money in her car and that he could take the car. She pleaded with him not to hurt her. Jackson placed duct tape over Styles' eyes and mouth and led her to a remote area, where he stood her with her back to a tree and duct-taped her to the tree. The duct tape on Styles' mouth had come loose by this time, and Styles again asked him not to hurt her. Jackson taped her mouth shut again, ripped off her shorts and underpants, and then raped her vaginally. Although Jackson's rendition did not describe his use of the stun gun, evidence was presented at trial that he shocked Styles with a stun gun once above her left breast and several times in the pubic area. Jackson stated that he then moved away from Styles and looked at his pornographic magazine while masturbating. The tape over Styles' mouth loosened, and Styles began screaming. Jackson walked up to her, put the gun to her head, and shot her once. That afternoon, Jackson went back to the K-Mart, returned the gun, and received a refund.

Jackson was crying during his entire confession, and the report of his confession indicates that at times during the interview the officers could not understand his words. Jackson repeated many times that he did not mean to kill Styles.

A search of Jackson's home and cars, conducted pursuant to a search warrant, led investigators to recover a functional stun gun, a flashlight, a black "Ninja" outfit, a wrapper to an adult magazine, and a partially empty box of .22 caliber rifle bullets.

Jackson was charged in Buncombe County with first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree rape. After the trial court denied Jackson's pretrial motion to suppress his confession, a jury returned a guilty verdict on all three charges. On the jury's recommendation, the court imposed the death penalty for the murder conviction and prison sentences for...

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