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Williams v. Washington

March 19, 2010

TAMMY JO WILLIAMS, PETITIONER,
v.
HEIDI WASHINGTON, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Stephen J. Murphy, III

OPINION AND ORDER (1) GRANTING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO AMEND, (2) GRANTING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO STAY HABEAS PROCEEDINGS, AND (3) ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING CASE

Petitioner Tammy Jo Williams has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.§ 2254. Williams, who is currently incarcerated at the Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan, challenges her conviction for conspiracy to commit a criminal enterprise. Williams has filed a Motion to Amend Writ of Habeas Corpus and Motion to Stay Habeas Proceedings.

I.

Williams pleaded guilty in Luce County Circuit Court to conspiracy to commit a criminal enterprise. In exchange for the plea, the prosecutor dismissed a charge of solicitation of murder. On May 8, 2007, Williams was sentenced to ten to twenty years' imprisonment.

Williams filed a delayed application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals, raising the following claims:

I. The defendant's sentence was invalid because it was based on inaccurate information, i.e., improper scoring of the legislatively imposed sentencing guidelines, use of an incorrect burden of proof, and insufficient facts; therefore, her due process rights were violated.

II. Correctly scoring the guidelines would require resentencing.

III. The defendant received ineffective assistance of trial counsel.

IV. The judge committed reversible error by using reasons not substantial and compelling nor objective and verifiable when sentencing above the guidelines. Also, when sentencing the judge used his personal opinion and philosophy, and facts not proven beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury, all of which require resentencing before a different judge.

V. The defendant's sentence must be reversed because it was disproportionate. The Michigan Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal. People v. Williams, No. 284938 (Mich. Ct. App. June 6, 2008). Williams filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, which was denied. People v. Williams, 482 Mich. 1044 (Mich. Nov. 5, 2008).

Williams then filed the pending petition for a writ of habeas corpus. She raises the same claims raised in state court, with the exception of the ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim.

II.

Before the Court are two motions filed by Williams, a Motion to Amend Petition and a Motion to Stay Habeas Proceedings.

Williams seeks to amend her petition to include a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Section 2242 provides that an application for a writ of habeas corpus "may be amended or supplemented as provided in the rules of procedure applicable to civil actions." 28 U.S.C. ยง 2242. The applicable civil rule, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), states that where, as here, a responsive pleading has been filed, a party may amend its pleading "only by leave of court or ...


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