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Evans-Bey v. Cassady

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

March 1, 2019

LONNIE EVANS-BEY, Petitioner,
v.
JAY CASSADY, Respondent(s).

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          E. RICHARD WEBBER SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Petitioner Lonnie Evans-Bey's Amended Petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody [16].

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner Lonnie Evans-Bey (“Petitioner”) pled guilty in the Circuit Court of the City of Saint Louis, Missouri to three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action, and one count of first-degree burglary. On March 31, 1995, the Circuit Court sentenced seventeen-year old Petitioner to three consecutive sentences of life without parole for the three first-degree murder convictions, three consecutive sentences of life with the possibility of parole for the three armed criminal action convictions, and a consecutive term of fifteen-years for the first-degree burglary conviction. In 1995, Petitioner filed a post-conviction motion, which he voluntarily dismissed.

         On June 25, 2012, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012). In Miller, the Supreme Court held the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits a sentencing scheme that mandates life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders. Id. at 479. On January 27, 2016, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016), holding the rule of Miller must be retroactively applied to persons sentenced to mandatory life without parole for juvenile sentences before Miller was decided. Id. at 732.

         On June 14, 2013, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Missouri Supreme Court alleging that his sentence was unconstitutional in light of Miller. On March 15, 2016, the Missouri Supreme Court issued an order in Petitioner's case, as well as all other similarly situated cases, stating:

NOW, THEREFORE, this Court, in order to comply with the constitutional requirements of Miller and Montgomery, hereby orders that this petition be sustained in part. This petitioner shall be eligible to apply for parole after serving 25 years' imprisonment on his sentence of life without parole unless his sentence is otherwise brought into conformity with Miller and Montgomery by action of the governor or enactment of necessary legislation. All other claims alleged in the petition and pending motions are denied without prejudice.

         Petitioner filed his initial Motion to Vacate in this Court on March 23, 2016. On July 13, 2016, the Governor signed into law Missouri Senate Bill No. 590 (“S.B. 590”), 98th General Assembly, which states, in relevant part:

1. (1) Any person sentenced to a term of imprisonment for life without eligibility for parole before August 28, 2016, who was under eighteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offense or offenses, may submit to the parole board a petition for a review of his or her sentence, . . . after serving twenty-five years of incarceration.
4. The parole board shall hold a hearing and determine if the defendant shall be granted parole.
(codified at Mo. Rev. Stat. § 558.047).

         On July 19, 2016, the Missouri Supreme Court issued an order, in light of S.B. 590, vacating its March 15, 2016 order granting Petitioner parole eligibility, overruling Petitioner's Motion for Rehearing as moot, and denying Petitioner's state court petition. Petitioner attempted to file a motion for reconsideration, which was rejected as an improper submission. On September 30, 2016, Petitioner filed an Amended Petition in this case, to address the effect of S.B. 590 on his claims.

         In his Amended Petition, Petitioner asserts five claims: (1) the Missouri Supreme Court's July 2016 Order misapplied Miller and its progeny and tacitly upheld an unconstitutional act of the Missouri legislature; (2) S.B. 590 is unconstitutional on its face as an ex post facto law; (3) Petitioner has been denied his constitutional rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to a meaningful sentence and S.B. 590 violates his due process and equal protection rights; (4) S.B. 590 is unconstitutional on its face as a bill of attainder; and (5) Petitioner has been denied the right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment.

         II. ...


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