Wall v. Cain ( 2009 )

                        FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT  United States Court of Appeals
                                                        Fifth Circuit
                                                                               March 12, 2009
                                         No. 06-31054
                                       Summary Calendar                    Charles R. Fulbruge III
                       Appeal from the United States District Court
                          for the Eastern District of Louisiana
                                 USDC No. 2:03-CV-1641
    Before WIENER, STEWART, and CLEMENT, Circuit Judges.
           We withdraw our prior unpublished opinion, 
    2008 WL 5068622
     (5th Cir.
    Dec. 1, 2008) (per curiam), and issue the following substitute opinion.
           In October 1997, Charles Carlton Wall, Louisiana prisoner # 240914, was
    convicted by jury verdict of second-degree murder and sentenced to life
    imprisonment. We granted Wall a certificate of appealability to appeal the
    district court’s judgment denying his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 application on his claim
    of racial discrimination against African-Americans in the process for selection
             Pursuant to 5TH CIR . R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
    be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR .
    R. 47.5.4.
                                       No. 06-31054
    of Tangipahoa Parish grand jury forepersons at the time of his indictment. Wall
    asserts that he has standing to raise equal protection and due process challenges
    to the grand jury foreperson selection process and that he has made a prima
    facie showing of racial discrimination in that process. The Respondent counters
    that we may not review the merits of Wall’s claim because the documents he
    submitted to support it were not authenticated pursuant to the Federal Rules
    of Evidence and were therefore inadmissible. We review the district court’s
    findings of fact for clear error and its conclusions of law de novo, applying the
    same standard of review to the state court’s decision as the district court.
    Martinez v. Johnson, 
    255 F.3d 229
    , 237 (5th Cir. 2001).
          The magistrate judge correctly stated that, in order to obtain relief on his
    discrimination claim, Wall was “required to prove discrimination under the
    standards set out in the Supreme Court’s cases.” Rideau v. Whitley, 
    237 F.3d 472
    , 484-85 (5th Cir. 2000). After implicitly holding that Wall had standing to
    raise this discrimination claim, the magistrate judge found that Wall had not
    suffered an “injury in fact” under Campbell v. Louisiana, 
    523 U.S. 392
    , 397-98
    (1998), and had failed to state a constitutional violation, citing to Guillory v.
    303 F.3d 647
    , 653 (5th Cir. 2002).       In reaching this conclusion, the
    magistrate judge noted that Wall had submitted various documents in support
    of his claim and that Wall’s documentation was not certified or verified in any
    way. After assuming that Wall’s documents were authentic and admissible, the
    magistrate judge found that the statistics were incomplete because the relevant
    documents failed to indicate the race or gender of the listed grand jury
    forepersons. The district court denied § 2254 relief on Wall’s discrimination
    claim because, as determined by the magistrate judge, “Wall had made no
    showing of intentional race or gender discrimination in the selection of his grand
    jury foreperson under Guillory.”
          In Campbell, the Supreme Court concluded that “Campbell, like any other
    white defendant, has standing to raise an equal protection challenge to
                                       No. 06-31054
    discrimination against black persons in the selection of his grand jury.” 523 U.S.
    at 400. In so holding, the Court found that all three preconditions had been
    satisfied, including that “the defendant suffered an ‘injury in fact.’” Id. at 397-
    98. The Court noted that “[r]egardless of his or her skin color, the accused
    suffers a significant injury in fact when the composition of the grand jury is
    tainted by racial discrimination.” Id. at 398. Because Wall had standing to raise
    his discrimination claim, he met the “injury in fact” requirement under
          In Guillory, the State adopted a strategy of (1) conceding that the
    petitioner had established a prima facie case and (2) bearing the burden of
    rebutting that prima facie case. 303 F.3d at 649. The relevant issue in Guillory
    was thus whether the State had met its burden of rebutting the presumption of
    discrimination by showing that objective, race-neutral criteria were used in the
    selection process. Id. at 650. In the instant case, Wall’s claim was presumably
    denied because the magistrate judge and the district court determined that he
    had failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. The district court’s
    and the magistrate judge’s reliance on Guillory for the proposition that Wall
    made no showing of intentional discrimination was misplaced; such a showing
    is not required to establish a prima facie case. See Rose v. Mitchell, 
    443 U.S. 545
    , 565 (1979) (listing the three elements of a prima facie case).
          The magistrate judge considered only the first list of grand jury
    forepersons and seemingly rejected the second list of grand jury forepersons due
    to the lack of any indication as to the source of its information, despite the stated
    assumption of the authenticity and admissibility of Wall’s documents. The race
    and gender information for the listed grand jury forepersons was included only
    in the second list. Examination of Wall’s documents indicates that neither list
    specifies the source of the included information. Due to the inconsistencies in
    the magistrate judge’s factual findings, which were relied upon by the district
    court, our review leaves us “with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake
                                    No. 06-31054
    has been committed.” Fairman v. Anderson, 
    188 F.3d 635
    , 640 (5th Cir. 1999)
    (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
          Based upon the foregoing reasons, the district court’s judgment denying
    Wall’s § 2254 application as to his claim of racial discrimination in the grand
    jury foreperson selection process in Tangipahoa Parish is VACATED, and this
    case is REMANDED to the district court for further proceedings consistent with
    this opinion. We express no views as to the admissibility or probative value of
    Wall’s documents, whether Wall has established a prima facie case regarding the
    instant claim, or the ultimate outcome of the proceedings.