757 F.2d 1463 (4th Cir. 1985), 84-4003, Roach v. Martin

Docket Nº:84-4003.
Citation:757 F.2d 1463
Party Name:James Terry ROACH, Appellant, v. Warden Joseph MARTIN, Central Correctional Institution Columbia, South Carolina, and T. Travis Medlock, Attorney General for South Carolina, Appellees.
Case Date:March 20, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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757 F.2d 1463 (4th Cir. 1985)

James Terry ROACH, Appellant,

v.

Warden Joseph MARTIN, Central Correctional Institution

Columbia, South Carolina,

and

T. Travis Medlock, Attorney General for South Carolina, Appellees.

No. 84-4003.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

March 20, 1985

Argued Jan. 7, 1985.

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J. Michael Farrell, Columbia, S.C., O. Grady Query, Charleston, S.C. (John K. Grisso, Columbia, S.C., on brief), for appellant.

Donald J. Zelenka, Chief Deputy Atty. Gen., Columbia, S.C. (T. Travis Medlock, Atty. Gen., Columbia, S.C., on brief), for appellees.

Before WIDENER, ERVIN and SNEEDEN, Circuit Judges.

WIDENER, Circuit Judge:

Petitioner James Terry Roach appeals the denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus brought under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254. We find that Roach's contentions are without merit and, accordingly, affirm the district court's denial of the petition and grant of summary judgment in favor of the South Carolina authorities.

BACKGROUND

On December 13, 1977, Roach pleaded guilty as a principal to two counts of murder, criminal sexual conduct, armed robbery, and kidnapping. Roach also pleaded nolo contendre to two counts of conspiracy. On December 14, 15, and 16, 1977, the court, sitting without a jury in accordance with the provisions of S.C.Code Sec. 16-3-20(B), 1 conducted a sentencing hearing for Roach and co-defendant Joseph Carl Shaw. 2 The record shows that Roach,

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Shaw, and Ronald Eugene Mahaffey spent the morning of October 29, 1977 drinking beer and taking drugs. 3 In the early afternoon, Roach, Shaw and Mahaffey decided to, in the words of Mahaffey, "find a girl to rape." The three drove to a baseball park outside of Columbia, South Carolina, where they saw a parked car occupied by 17-year old Thomas Taylor and 14-year old Carlotta Hartness. Shaw pulled up beside the parked car, and Roach, sitting in the front passenger seat of Shaw's car, aimed a .22 caliber rifle at Taylor and demanded money. Taylor gave them his wallet. Shaw and Mahaffey got out of Shaw's car. Mahaffey took the keys to Taylor's car, and Shaw forced Miss Hartness to get into the backseat of Shaw's car with Mahaffey. Shaw then got back into his car and said to Roach, "OK, Now." Roach then fired the rifle into the parked car and killed Taylor.

The three drove Miss Hartness to a dirt road a short distance away, and she was forced to disrobe. She was repeatedly raped by all three and was forced to perform oral sex with Shaw and Mahaffey. While Shaw was raping the girl, Roach and Mahaffey looked through Taylor's wallet. The stolen wallet was later buried in the area. Shaw asked who would shoot the girl and Roach volunteered. Shaw ordered the girl to put her face to the ground but she refused. After pleading for her life several times, Miss Hartness finally complied and put her face to the ground. Roach then shot her in the head several times, causing her body to convulse. 4 Shaw took the rifle from Roach and again shot the girl in the head. The three then disposed of the rifle and bullets and returned to Taylor's body to make sure he was dead.

Several days later, Roach, Shaw, and Mahaffey were arrested. The State of South Carolina elected to seek the death penalty against Roach and Shaw. As stated, because Roach pleaded guilty, the sentencing hearing was conducted before the court. S.C.Code Sec. 16-3-20(B). As required by S.C.Code Sec. 16-3-20(C), the sentencing judge considered evidence in mitigation and aggravation and, accordingly, made findings based on such evidence. In considering Roach's sentence, the sentencing judge found beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of three statutory aggravating circumstances: murder committed while in the commission of rape; murder committed while in the commission of kidnapping; and murder committed while in the commission of armed robbery. S.C.Code Sec. 16-3-20(C)(a)(1)(a), (c), (e). After considering the evidence in mitigation for Roach, the judge found the existence of several statutory mitigating circumstances: Roach had no significant history of prior criminal activity involving the use of violence against another person; the murder was committed while he was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance; he acted under duress or under the domination of another person; his capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law was substantially impaired. S.C.Code Sec. 16-3-20(C)(b)(1), (2), (5), (6). Additionally, relating to mitigating circumstances, the sentencing judge considered that Roach was suffering from mental retardation

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and an antisocial personality disorder and was below the age of 18 at the time of the crime. S.C.Code Sec. 16-3-20(C)(b)(7), (9). Considering the circumstances in mitigation as well as the existence of the three statutory aggravating circumstances, the sentencing judge found as an affirmative fact that the evidence in the case warranted imposition of the death penalty upon Roach and was not the result of prejudice, passion or any other arbitrary factor. S.C.Code Sec. 16-3-20(C). The judge sentenced Roach to death on the two murder charges. 5

On direct appeal to the South Carolina Supreme Court, Roach's convictions and sentences were affirmed. State v. (Roach), Shaw, 273 S.C. 194, 255 S.E.2d 799 (1979). The United States Supreme Court denied Roach's petition for certiorari, 444 U.S. 1026 (1980), and later denied his petition for rehearing, 444 U.S. 1104 (1980). Roach then sought post-conviction relief in the state courts pursuant to S.C.Code Sec. 17-27-10 et seq. The state post-conviction court conducted a comprehensive evidentiary hearing and denied Roach's petition by order of July 9, 1980. Roach thereafter appealed this denial to the South Carolina Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeal, finding no error of law present. Roach v. State, Memo.Op. No. 81-MO-197 (S.C. July 17, 1981). Thereafter, the South Carolina Supreme Court denied Roach's motion for a stay of execution and the date of execution was set for September 18, 1981.

Having exhausted his state court remedies, Roach filed his petition for federal habeas corpus relief. On September 4, 1981, the district court granted Roach's petition for a stay of execution pending resolution of the issues stated in the petition. Proceedings in Roach's federal habeas corpus petition were stayed, however, while Roach again sought direct review by the United States Supreme Court. When that Court again denied Roach's petition for certiorari on January 25, 1982, that stay of proceedings was dissolved. The case was referred to a United States Magistrate to review the pleadings and submit findings of fact and recommendations of disposition. Accordingly, the magistrate submitted his report recommending the entry of summary judgment in favor of respondents without an evidentiary hearing. The district court agreed that Roach's federal constitutional claims were without merit and granted the State's motion for summary judgment, from which Roach now appeals. While, for the most part, we consider Roach's contentions in the order in which he has submitted the issues in his brief, a few of the issues have been consolidated for discussion.

I. DISCOVERY REQUESTS AND REQUEST FOR AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING

Roach alleged that an evidentiary hearing was mandatory under Townsend v. Sain, 372 U.S. 293, 83 S.Ct. 745, 9 L.Ed.2d 770 (1963), and 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254(d). He asserts that a fair and adequate hearing was not held on any of his claims in the state courts and, in this respect, he has made several requests for discovery, appointments of experts, and appointments of investigators for the purpose of developing his constitutional claims. On federal habeas corpus review, a state court's findings of fact are entitled to presumption of correctness, Sumner v. Mata, 449 U.S. 539, 550, 101 S.Ct. 764, 770, 66 L.Ed.2d 722 (1981), unless a petitioner can show that an evidentiary hearing on an issue of fact is mandatory under the criteria established in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254(d) or in Townsend v. Sain, supra.

Roach alleges that he meets several of these criteria for numerous reasons: (1) the state factfinding procedures were not adequate to afford a full and fair hearing on Roach's constitutional claims, see 28

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U.S.C. Sec. 2254(d)(2); (2) since the state court hearing was held, Roach has discovered, and now relies upon, substantial new evidence, see Townsend, 372 U.S. at 313, 83 S.Ct. at 757: (3) material facts were not adequately developed at the state court hearing, see 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254(d)(3); and (4) the state court's factual determinations are not supported by the record as a whole, see Townsend, 372 U.S. at 313, 83 S.Ct. at 757. 6 We do not agree with any of the arguments Roach advances.

  1. Adequacy of the State factfinding procedures

    Roach contends that the state factfinding procedures were inadequate in several respects and that, as a result, he was denied the opportunity to develop fully his constitutional claims in the state courts. In this regard, Roach claims that: the State did not, or could not, locate a material witness who might have been able to shed light on the possibility that Roach was psychotic at the time of the offenses; the state post-conviction court did not appoint an expert social scientist to testify concerning the propriety of the death penalty; the neurological examination of Roach by a physician employed by the State failed to adequately develop neuropsychiatric facts relevant to Roach's constitutional claims; the state court improperly quashed a subpoena...

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