572 F.3d 198 (4th Cir. 2009), 07-7589, Baum v. Rushton

Docket Nº:07-7589.
Citation:572 F.3d 198
Opinion Judge:KING, Circuit Judge:
Party Name:Uuno Mattias BAUM, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Collie RUSHTON, Warden, McCormick Correctional Institution, Respondent-Appellee.
Attorney:John Henry Blume, III, Blume, Weyble & Norris, L.L.C., Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellant. Melody Jane Brown, Office of the Attorney General of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee. Henry D. McMaster, Attorney General, John W. McIntosh, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Donald...
Judge Panel:Before WILKINSON, KING, and GREGORY, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:July 16, 2009
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 198

572 F.3d 198 (4th Cir. 2009)

Uuno Mattias BAUM, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

Collie RUSHTON, Warden, McCormick Correctional Institution, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 07-7589.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

July 16, 2009

         Argued: Jan. 28, 2009.

Page 199

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 200

         ARGUED:

         John Henry Blume, III, Blume, Weyble & Norris, L.L.C., Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellant.

         Melody Jane Brown, Office of the Attorney General of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee.

          ON BRIEF:

         Henry D. McMaster, Attorney General, John W. McIntosh, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Donald J. Zelenka, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, for Appellee.

          Before WILKINSON, KING, and GREGORY, Circuit Judges.

Page 201

          Affirmed by published opinion. Judge KING wrote the majority opinion, in which Judge WILKINSON joined. Judge GREGORY wrote a dissenting opinion.

         OPINION

          KING, Circuit Judge:

         Uuno Mattias " Matt" Baum appeals from the district court's Opinion and Order of September 2007, dismissing his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition for habeas corpus relief. See Baum v. Rushton, No. 9:06-cv-02471 (D.S.C. Sept. 30, 2007) (the " District Court Opinion" ).1 In January 2001, Baum was convicted in the Court of General Sessions for Pickens County, South Carolina, of the murder of his stepfather, Randall Pinion. Baum had previously been brought to trial for the Pinion murder in October 2000, but, early in that trial's second day, the trial judge declared a mistrial after learning that Pinion's body had just been discovered. On direct appeal, the Court of Appeals of South Carolina rejected Baum's contention that the discovery of the body did not constitute " manifest necessity" for the mistrial and, thus, that his subsequent conviction was obtained in contravention of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment. See State v. Baum, 355 S.C. 209, 584 S.E.2d 419 (2003) (the " State Decision" ). After exhausting his double jeopardy claim in the South Carolina state courts, Baum pursued such claim in these habeas corpus proceedings. As explained below, we affirm the district court's denial of relief.

         I.

         A.

         The Court of Appeals of South Carolina, in the State Decision disposing of Baum's direct appeal, outlined the facts surrounding the Pinion murder as follows:

On October 26, 1999, Randall Pinion went to his bank and filled out an affidavit of forgery concerning two checks in the amount of $450.00 apiece and made out to Matt Baum. The bank employee who assisted Pinion gave him the original affidavit of forgery and instructed him to take it to the police if he desired to prosecute. On October 27, 1999, two days prior to Pinion's disappearance, he arrived at work upset and told a co-worker that Matt Baum, Pinion's stepson, had stolen some money from him. Pinion told the co-worker he would give Baum two days to repay the money or he was going to turn Baum in to the police. On the morning of his disappearance, Pinion stated to the co-worker that he was giving Baum until that evening to give him his money. Pinion never filed a police report in regard to the alleged forgeries. Two weeks earlier, Baum threatened to kill Pinion after Pinion had physically abused Baum's mother.

On Friday, October 29, 1999, Pinion disappeared after leaving work. His black pickup truck was not at his [Easley, South Carolina] home on Friday night or Saturday morning, but appeared at his house between 3:00 and 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 30. Between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Sunday[,] October 31, the truck again disappeared from the house. Pinion's truck was subsequently found in a church parking lot a few days later.

On November 1, 1999, Baum sold a set of Taylor Made golf clubs to a sporting goods store, explaining they belonged to his stepfather, who had passed away and left him the clubs. Pinion

Page 202

owned several sets of golf clubs, including a Taylor Made set.

Police investigated Pinion's home and pickup truck and found Pinion's blood in various places throughout his home, as well as in the bed of his pickup truck. The police also found a bloody shoe print inside Pinion's home. The police concluded that Pinion had been beaten to death inside of his home and someone thereafter attempted to clean up the crime scene.

Based on their investigation, the authorities developed Baum as a suspect in Pinion's disappearance. On November 7, 1999, after receiving a tip on his possible location, police attempted to apprehend Baum as he fled in a white pickup truck. The chase reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour, and ended when the white truck became disabled following a traffic accident. When the police searched the disabled truck they discovered the keys to Pinion's truck, a couple of Pinion's checks, Baum's driver's license, and a pair of tennis shoes whose tread was consistent with the bloody shoe print found inside Pinion's home.

State v. Baum, 355 S.C. 209, 584 S.E.2d 419, 420-21 (2003).

         B.

         Although the police had not located Pinion's body, the grand jury in Pickens County returned an indictment on November 11, 1999, charging Baum with the Pinion murder. Baum's trial began on October 9, 2000, with Judge John W. Kittredge presiding. That day, a Monday, the jury was sworn, the parties delivered their opening statements, and the prosecution presented three witnesses. At the start of the trial proceedings the following Tuesday morning, the prosecution notified the court and the defense, during an off-the-record conference in the judge's chambers, that it had just learned that a body had been discovered in North Carolina and identified as Pinion's. The prosecution thereafter made a motion in open court (but outside the presence of the jury) for a trial continuance or a mistrial based on the discovery of the victim's body. The prosecution explained that the North Carolina authorities had recovered the body on Saturday, and sent a teletype about the body to the Easley Police Department on Sunday. According to the prosecution, the detectives assigned to the Pinion murder investigation did not learn about the teletype until Monday evening, and a positive identification of the body as Pinion's was not made until Tuesday morning. The identification was made by Pinion's dentist, based on the North Carolina medical examiner's description of distinctive dental work. The prosecution presented the trial judge with an affidavit from the dentist, executed that very morning, verifying Pinion's identification.

         The prosecution asserted that a continuance or a mistrial was necessary " to give both sides of this case time to look at what evidence may come forward as a result of" the discovery of Pinion's body. J.A. 42. The prosecution explained:

Obviously, there may be-we don't know what's going to show up, but there may be evidence exculpating the defendant. And if that's true, he needs to have access to that. Conversely, there may be evidence that inculpates him and shows that he, in fact, is the one who dumped the body. And if that's the case, he should not be allowed to benefit from his attempt at obstructing justice.

Either way, Your Honor, I am aware that the jury has been sworn. I would ask that Your Honor, if you are inclined to grant my motion, find that this is for good cause and not as a result of some

Page 203

wrongdoing or anything else in that way of the State, and therefore would not prejudice us by attaching jeopardy to a trial that we've begun.

Your Honor knows that we are here and are prepared to go forward. And it's not any attempt whatsoever to continue this trial. As a matter of fact, I believe myself and the family who are here behind me are as ready as the defendant himself to get this behind us. But this is important evidence that we need to have some time to look at.

Id. at 42-43. The defense responded that it was " not joining in [the prosecution's] motion in any way, shape, form or fashion. We are here. We're ready for trial. And we're ready to proceed, Your Honor." Id. at 43. Over this objection by the defense, Judge Kittredge declared a mistrial. He explained that,

[b]ased on the level of certainty that this may, indeed, be the remains of Mr. Pinion, ... a mistrial is warranted for good cause, not the result of anything caused or done, any act or omission by the State. I feel this is a matter of manifest necessity and that jeopardy will continue. Jeopardy does not attach and begin anew in my firm judgment, and I so rule that this is a matter of manifest necessity that potentially could enure to the benefit of the defendant. A key issue in the case was the fact that the body had not been found. This revelation is significant. And if it actually turns out, based on the scientific examination, that this is indeed the remains of Mr. Pinion, then this case should well not continue and be retried at another date.

Id. at 43-44. Judge Kittredge then reiterated that " jeopardy will continue" and concluded the proceedings, " subject to the retrial." Id. at 44.

         On November 8, 2000, Judge Kittredge entered a written Order Declaring Mistrial. See State v. Baum, No. 99-GS-39-1276 (S.C.Ct.Gen.Sess. Nov. 8, 2000) (the " Mistrial Order" ).2 The judge stated therein the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

Based upon everything presented to this court, I hereby find that the discovery of the victim's body almost one year after the date of the alleged murder was in no way a result of any act, omission, negligence, bad faith, or lack of effort on the part of the State. The State has diligently attempted to locate the deceased but had simply...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP