Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Redwood v. Warren

March 29, 2010

JAMES REDWOOD, PETITIONER,
v.
MILLICENT WARREN, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David M. Lawson United States District Judge

Honorable David M. Lawson

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

The petitioner, James Marshall Redwood, presently confined at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Michigan, has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The petitioner was convicted by a jury in the Saginaw County, Michigan circuit court of one count of armed robbery, one count of carjacking, one count of kidnapping, two counts of extortion, one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of felonious assault, and one count of carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent. The petitioner was sentenced as a fourth felony habitual offender to concurrent terms of sixty to one hundred ten years imprisonment on the robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct convictions, twelve to twenty five years imprisonment for the extortion convictions, and five to fifteen years imprisonment for the felonious assault and carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent convictions. The petitioner alleges that there was insufficient evidence to convict him of carjacking, the trial court judge abused his discretion by imposing a sentence that was not reasonably possible for the defendant to serve, the sentences imposed were disproportionate, the legislatively imposed mandate that the Michigan Court of Appeals must affirm sentences that are imposed within the sentencing guidelines range is unconstitutional, the prosecutor committed various forms of misconduct, the trial court erred by failing to dismiss the petitioner's extortion charges on the basis of Double Jeopardy, the petitioner was deprived of the effective assistance of trial counsel, the petitioner could not be convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct because the victim was his wife, the trial court erred by failing to issue a directed verdict of not guilty on the armed robbery count, the trial court judge erred in omitting an instruction on the asportation element required for kidnapping, the petitioner's sentencing guidelines were incorrectly scored, and the petitioner's sentence was enhanced with convictions that were obtained without the benefit of counsel. The respondent filed an answer to the petition, asserting that the claims are procedurally defaulted or lack merit. The Court agrees that petitioner's claims are meritless; therefore, the petition will be denied.

I.

The petitioner was convicted of the above offenses following a jury trial in the Saginaw, Michigan. The Michigan Court of Appeals provided a detailed statement of facts in its opinion affirming the petitioner's conviction:

According to the prosecution's theory of the case, defendant was living with one of the complainants, Michael Newman [who is a quadriplegic], when, on November 14, 2000, defendant became enraged when Newman refused to drive him to the bus station. Defendant allegedly held a knife to Newman's throat and demanded money from him. He then forced Newman's caretaker, Paul Hammer, to leave with him in Newman's van by threatening Newman with the knife. After initially heading toward Saginaw, defendant changed his mind and proceeded to the residence of his estranged wife, Christine Redwood, who recently had revealed to defendant her intent to return to her ex-husband, Michael Larkin. Along the way, defendant allegedly forced Hammer to perform errands for him. When the two arrived at Redwood's residence, defendant again used the knife to force Redwood to accompany both him and Hammer to a motel in Clio, where defendant gave Hammer money to obtain a room. Defendant and the others then went into the room where they smoked crack cocaine. At that point, defendant allowed Hammer to leave, after again threatening him. Hammer thereafter drove the van back to Newman's residence and called the police. After Hammer left, defendant allegedly forced Redwood to have sexual intercourse with him and perform other nonconsensual sexual acts. The police subsequently arrived at the motel and apprehended defendant. Defendant maintained that he only took money from Newman that was owed to him because he had previously paid Newman's outstanding crack cocaine debt. Defendant also claimed that Redwood and Hammer accompanied him freely, because they wanted to smoke crack cocaine.

People v. Redwood, 2003 WL 22204870, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 23, 2003). The petitioner was convicted by a jury of the charged offenses summarized above, although the jury acquitted him of one count of kidnapping and three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was sentenced as a fourth felony habitual offender.

On direct appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals, the petitioner raised the following issues:

I. Should the defendant's conviction for carjacking be overturned because there was insufficient credible evidence at trial to prove that the defendant either used force or threats to take the car or that the defendant took it from the owner's presence?

II. Did the trial judge abuse his discretion by fashioning a sentence length which it is not reasonably possible for the defendant to serve, thus violating the statutory and case law requirements for an indeterminant sentence?

III. Were the defendant's sentences were disproportionate and therefore must be reversed and Defendant must be resentenced?

IV. Is the legislatively imposed mandate that the court of appeals must affirm sentences which are imposed within the guidelines (MCL 769.34(10)) unconstitutional?

V. Did the prosecutor's actions [deny] the defendant a fair trial and his due process rights?

VI. Did the court err by submitting the charges of extortion, as well as kidnap[p]ing and CSC to the jury without instructions indicating that the defendant could not be convicted of both extortion and kidnap[p]ing or extortion and CSC, and did the trial court err by denying defendant's motion to dismiss the extortion charges on grounds of double jeopardy?

VII. If issues raised in this brief are not considered because of a lack of objections, is the defendant entitled to a new trial because of ineffective assistance of trial counsel?

Def.-Appellant's Br. on Appeal, at xiii-ix. The petitioner's convictions were affirmed by the court of appeals in an unpublished decision, and the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v. Redwood, 469 Mich. 1027, 679 N.W.2d 63 (2004) (table).

The petitioner then sought post-conviction relief pursuant to Mich. Ct. R. 6.500, which was denied by the trial court. The petitioner appealed this denial, raising the following grounds:

I. Did trial judge err by permitting defendant to be brought before a jury when defendant met none of the criteria and elements necessary to establish rape on his wife and defense counsel was so ineffective that he failed to read the statute under which his client was tried?

II. Did trial judge err in not issuing a directed verdict instruction to the jury to find defendant not guilty of armed robbery as this is a specific intent crime which element is essential; one of larcenous intent and defense counsel was ineffective for failure to move for a directed verdict as well as appellant counsel's failure to raise this fundamental statutory element on direct appeal?

III. Did trial judge err by the omission of instructing the jury on asportation in kidnapping, as well as defense counsel ineffective by not objecting to such a fundamental right of defendant to include this element to a jury which is essential in a kidnapping case as well as appellate counsel ineffective for not raising such a fundamental right on direct appeal?

IV. Did trial court err by enhancing petitioner's sentence when defense counsel was not afforded [to] petitioner and misdemeanors as well as felonies resulted in loss of liberty; using convictions that were beyond legal time limits to use in both the five and ten year range; and was appellate counsel ineffective for not raising these issues on direct appeal although many of them were preserved by objection of defense counsel?

Pet.'s Mot. for Relief from Judgment at 4, 8, 11, 17. The Michigan appellate courts denied petitioner leave to appeal. People v. Redwood, No. 267414, slip op. at 1 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 28, 2006), lv. den. 477 Mich. 974, 725 N.W.2d 27 (Dec. 28, 2006) (table).

The petitioner now seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds:

I. Should the defendant's conviction for carjacking be overturned because there was insufficient credible evidence at trial to prove that the Defendant either used force or threats to take the car or that the Defendant took it from the owner's presence?

II. Did the trial judge abuse his discretion by fashioning a sentence length which it is not reasonably possible for the defendant to serve, thus violating the statutory and case law requirements for an indeterminant sentence?

III. Were the defendant's sentences disproportionate and therefore must be reversed and defendant must be resentenced?

IV. Is the legislatively imposed mandate that the Court of Appeals must affirm sentences which are imposed within the guidelines (MCL 769.34(10)) unconstitutional?

V. Did the prosecutor's actions [deny] the defendant a fair trial and his due process rights?

VI. Did the court err by submitting the charges of extortion, as well as kidnap[p]ing and CSC to the jury without instructions indicating that the defendant could not be convicted of both extortion and kidnap[p]ing or extortion and CSC, and did the trial court err by denying defendant's motion to dismiss the extortion charges on grounds of double jeopardy?

VII. If issues raised in this brief are not considered because of a lack of objections, is the defendant entitled to a new trial because of ineffective assistance of trial counsel?

Pet. at xiii-xiv. Although the statement of questions presented in the petitioner's habeas brief lists only Claims I through VII, the petitioner nonetheless apparently seeks habeas review of Claims VIII through XI as well, as he later briefs those arguments and notes that "the following arguments are those that were raised during Petitioner [sic] Collateral Attack of his Convictions -- Mich. Ct. R. 6.500." Br. in Support of Pet. at 50. He identifies these claims as follows:

VIII. Petitioner directs the courts to Michigan Statute 750.520(L) which states: "An actor does not commit first through fourth degree CSC if victim is his or her legal spouse unless parties are living apart and one of them has filed for separate maintenance or divorce. [ . . . ] Prosecution known or should have known that petitioner co[u]ld not be charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct. The District Court knew o[r] should have known [this as well, and trial and appellate counsel should have known the defendant was wrongly charged.]

IX. The trial court erred in not issuing a directed verdict to the jury to find Defendant not guilty of armed robbery as this charged is a specific intent crime which element is essential: That of Larcenous Intent. Defense counsel was ineffective for failure to move for same as well as appellate counsel for failure to raise this fundamental statutory element on direct appeal.

X. Petitioner submits that the failure of trial judge to instruct the jury on asporatation [sic] is a violation of fundamental rights under both the Michigan Constitution and the United States Constitution.

XI. Petitioner was scored 10 points under 0V4. As is discovered the instructions for scoring these points are ambiguous and completely subjective. . . . This is double speak in its purest form as the entire affair rests on the whim of the judge at a particular moment. [ . . . ] Petitioner's sentence was enhanced by using conviction in which he was not represented by counsel and all were loss of liberty case. [ . . . ] Petitioner submits that the failure of appellate counsel to raise this issue is ineffective under the Strickland standard.

The respondent filed an answer arguing that claims I -- VII lacked merit or were not cognizable on habeas review, and arguing that claims VIII ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.