923 F.2d 816 (11th Cir. 1991), 90-7330, Love v. Jones

Docket Nº:90-7330.
Citation:923 F.2d 816
Party Name:Jimmy Louis LOVE, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Charlie JONES, Warden; Attorney General for the State of Alabama, Respondent-Appellee.
Case Date:February 08, 1991
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 816

923 F.2d 816 (11th Cir. 1991)

Jimmy Louis LOVE, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

Charlie JONES, Warden; Attorney General for the State of

Alabama, Respondent-Appellee.

No. 90-7330.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

February 8, 1991

Page 817

Gerald L. Miller, Redden, Mills & Clark, Birmingham, Ala., for petitioner-appellant.

Fred F. Bell, Atty. General's Office, Montgomery, Ala., for respondent-appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Before TJOFLAT, Chief Judge, DUBINA, Circuit Judge, and PECK [*], Senior Circuit Judge.

DUBINA, Circuit Judge:

The petitioner, Jimmy Louis Love ("Love"), is presently serving a sentence of life without parole pursuant to Alabama's Habitual Felony Offender Act, Ala.Code Sec. 13A-5-9 (1975) ("HFOA"). Love appeals the district court's denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the district court and remand for a grant of the writ.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Love was indicted for participation in a robbery which occurred on March 1, 1983, at the Elks Club in Huntsville, Alabama. According to witnesses, while a man with a rifle wrestled with the club's doorman, another man entered the room holding a revolver. Love entered with a sawed-off shotgun and ordered the victims to take off their clothes. The three armed men then proceeded to rob those present in the club. Two of the victims knew Love and the man with the revolver, James Carl Sledge ("Sledge"). Love admitted being at the Elks Club that night with Sledge, but claimed that his participation in the robbery was under duress at Sledge's direction. Love also admitted that he had smoked marijuana and consumed several beers that night.

The prosecutor, Timothy Morgan ("Morgan") offered Love a plea bargain in October 1983 of life with the possibility of parole if he would plead guilty to a burglary charge also pending against him, with dismissal of all other pending charges. Shortly before trial, Morgan offered a similar plea bargain with a thirty-year sentence. Love refused, opting for a jury trial.

Love is a black man. There were approximately 34 persons on the jury venire for his trial, one of whom was his aunt, who was excused for cause. Morgan used his peremptory strikes to remove all of the remaining black members of the venire. Love was convicted on February 29, 1984, on four counts of first degree robbery in the Circuit Court of Madison County, Alabama,

Page 818

and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole pursuant to the HFOA. 1

Although Love and Sledge were indicted at the same time, Sledge was not arrested until 1987. He pled guilty to receiving stolen property and received a ten-year split sentence.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Love filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus on May 14, 1987, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. After determining that Love had exhausted his state remedies, the United States magistrate appointed counsel to represent him and directed counsel to amend the petition if necessary. An amended petition was filed and discovery conducted. The magistrate held an evidentiary hearing on February 23 and March 9, 1989. On March 28, 1990, the magistrate filed a report and recommendation recommending that Love's petition should be granted based upon his claim of the systematic exclusion of blacks from the jury, but denying relief on the remaining grounds. The district court rejected the magistrate's recommendation with respect to the exclusion of blacks from the jury, but adopted it as to all other issues. The district court entered judgment on May 1, 1990, denying Love's petition for writ of habeas corpus. Love then perfected his appeal to this court.

III. DISCUSSION

The dispositive issue presented on appeal is whether Morgan's use of his peremptory strikes to exclude all blacks from Love's jury...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP