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Dryer v. Curtin

March 29, 2010

DANIEL ROBERT DRYER, PETITIONER,
v.
CINDI S. CURTIN, RESPONDENT.



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

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE HABEAS CORPUS PETITION AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

Petitioner Daniel Robert Dryer, through counsel Robert J. Dunn, filed a habeas corpus petition challenging his state court conviction for criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. Respondent urges the Court, through counsel, to deny the petition. The Court agrees with Respondent that Petitioner's claims lack merit or are not cognizable on habeas review. Accordingly, the habeas petition is denied. A procedural history and discussion follow.

I. Background

Petitioner was charged in Midland County, Michigan with one count of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. The charges arose from allegations that Petitioner sexually molested his former girlfriend's minor daughter in 1998. The Michigan Court of Appeals summarized the facts as follows:

The victim asserted that defendant sexually molested her in 1998, at which time the victim was ten years old. During the six-months when her mother and defendant were involved, the victim and her sister would stay at the defendant's home several nights a week, sleeping in a spare bedroom. During this time the victim's mother was baby-sitting the children of one of the defendant's friends. Her routine was to leave in the mornings to pick the children up and bring them back to the defendant's home, leaving the victim and her sister at defendant's home for the 10 to 15 minutes it usually took.

The victim testified that while her mother was gone, defendant would wake her up by "French" kissing her, that he would rub her chest and arms, and that on several occasions he put his fingers inside her vagina. She also testified at the preliminary examination as to one incident of molestation that took place at her grandmother's house in the Upper Peninsula around the time of her grandfather's death. At trial, the court overruled an objection by defendant and permitted the victim to testify regarding other uncharged acts of sexual misconduct. The trial court also limited testimony by certain of defendant's witnesses.

People v. Dryer, No.275342, 2008 WL 994221, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Apr. 10, 2008) (unpublished).

Petitioner testified in his own defense and called several witnesses. He denied touching the complainant inappropriately, and he maintained that he treated young people with respect and had never done anything to harm a young person.

On October 13, 2006, a Midland County Circuit Court jury found Petitioner guilty, as charged, of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.520b(1)(a) (sexual penetration of a person under 13 years of age). The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction in an unpublished, per curiam opinion on April 10th, 2008. Dryer, No.275342, 2008 WL 994221, at *5. On October 27th, 2008, the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v. Dryer, 769 N.W.2d 196 (Mich. 2008).

On February 20, 2009, Petitioner filed his habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He alleges that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to present a defense when the trial court disallowed certain testimony intended to rehabilitate Petitioner's character after the prosecution introduced evidence of prior bad acts under Michigan Rule of Evidence 404(b).

II. Standard of Review

Habeas petitioners are entitled to a writ of habeas corpus only if they can show that the state court's adjudication of their claims on the merits

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or

(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence ...


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