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Adams v. Palmer

March 18, 2010

JOHN ADAMS, PETITIONER,
v.
CARMEN PALMER, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Marianne O. Battani

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

Petitioner John Adams, a state inmate presently incarcerated at the Carson City Correctional Facility in Carson City, Michigan, has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner challenges his 2002 convictions for three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the petition.

I.

Petitioner's convictions arise from the assault of his daughter Anastasia. Anastasia testified that, when she was in the first grade, her parents, Petitioner and Alethia Stern, were not living together and she sometimes stayed with her father at her father's mother's house. One night when she was at her grandmother's house, her father attempted to rape her, perform cunnilingus on her, and told her to perform fellatio on him. She screamed and her brother Chaquarious came running upstairs. When Chaquarious came upstairs, Petitioner pushed Chaquarious down. The next day, Petitioner took her shopping and purchased her a swimsuit. He told her not to tell anyone what he had done.

Chaquarious Adams testified that, when he was four or five, he was at his grandmother's house with his sister when Anastasia and Petitioner went upstairs while he watched television. He heard his sister scream and went upstairs to investigate. His father pushed him and told him not to tell anyone what was going on.

Brenda Brautigan testified that, in June 1997, she became Anastasia and Chaquarious' legal guardian. Around Easter of that year, she noticed blood stains on Anastasia's underwear. Brautigan called Anastasia's mother to inform her about the blood stains. Stern insisted the stains were from bowel movements. In 2000, Anastasia told Brautigan that her father had touched her and made her touch him.

Police Officer Brian Budde testified that he investigated the allegations of abuse against Petitioner. He made numerous attempts to interview Petitioner for almost a year. Eventually, Petitioner was arrested. He admitted to having a drug problem when the conduct was said to have occurred, but did not admit to the conduct.

Alethia Stern, the mother of Anastasia and Chaquarious, testified for the defense. She testified that her daughter had a reputation for lying. Stern admitted that she declined to take her daughter for a physical examination when requested to do so by the investigating officer.

Petitioner testified in his own defense. He denied attempting to avoid being questioned by the police and denied the allegations of abuse.

II.

Following a jury trial in Oakland County Circuit Court, Petitioner was convicted of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one count of assault and battery. On July 1, 1996, he was sentenced to 19 to 60 years' imprisonment for each of the first-degree criminal sexual conduct convictions, 3 to 15 years' imprisonment for the second-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction, and 90 days' imprisonment for the assault and battery conviction.

Petitioner filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of Appeals, raising the following claims:

I. The trial court committed an error of law and defendant was denied his right to remain silent and his right to a fair trial by the admission of evidence in the Prosecutor's case in chief that he failed to make a pre-arrest statement to the police, and by the Prosecutor's argument that his failure to tell the police 'I didn't do it' proved that he did. U.S. Constitutional Amendment VI; XIV; Michigan Constitution Article I, Section 17, 20.

II. Defendant was denied a fair trial by the erroneous admission of irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial evidence implying that he had previously held a knife to his wife's neck.

The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions. People v. Adams, No. 240844 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 25, 2003).

Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, raising the same claims raised in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v. Adams, No. 125019 (Mich. Apr. 30, 2004).

Petitioner then filed a motion for relief from judgment in the trial court, raising the following claims:

I. Defendant is entitled to a new trial based on newly discovered evidence, exculpatory evidence; or in the alternative, the Defendant was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel.

II. Defendant's sentence of 19 to 60 years in prison is disproportionate and he must be resentenced.

III. The erroneous scoring of the Defendant's guidelines resulted in impermissible double counting, and therefore, Defendant must be resentenced.

IV. The defendant is entitled to resentencing because offense variable 12 was inaccurately scored at 50 points.

The trial court denied the motion. People v. Adams, No. 01-181442-FC (Oakland County Circuit Court Apr. 11 2006).

Petitioner filed applications for leave to appeal the denial of his motion for relief from judgment in the Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court. Both state appellate courts denied leave to appeal. People v. Adams, No. 132964 (Mich. June 26, 2007); People v. Adams, No. 270936 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 6, 2006).

Petitioner then filed the pending petition for a writ of habeas corpus, raising the following claims:

I. The trial court committed an error of law and Petitioner was denied his right to remain silent and his right to a fair trial by the admission of evidence in the Prosecutor's case in chief that he failed to make a pre-arrest statement to the police, and by the Prosecutor's argument that his failure to tell the police 'I didn't do it' proved that he ...


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