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Parks v. Romanowski

April 15, 2010

MICHAEL PARKS, #146763, PETITIONER,
v.
KENNETH ROMANOWSKI, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Anna Diggs Taylor

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY AND LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL

Petitioner Michael Parks, a state inmate currently incarcerated at the St. Louis Correctional Facility in St. Louis, Michigan, has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner challenges his convictions for solicitation of armed robbery, home invasion, and armed robbery. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the petition.

I.

Petitioner's convictions arise from a home invasion that occurred on January 21, 2002, in the city of Lansing. Petitioner was convicted for his role in soliciting Kevin Jones and Tucker Johnson to commit the robbery and for his conduct in aiding and abetting them.

Michael Crawford testified that, on January 21, 2002, he was staying at the apartment of his friends John Vorisek and Lindsay Ventre in Lansing, Michigan. Crawford slept on the couch. At some point during the night, he heard a knock at the door. He looked through the peep hole and saw a man standing outside the door. He opened the door and three men pushed through the door, one of whom was holding a gun to his face. One of the men corralled Crawford and others in the apartment into one room. One of the men asked Crawford if he had any money and he handed over his wallet.

John Vorisek testified that on the night of the robbery, he was in his bedroom when he heard a scuffle coming from the outer room. He went to investigate and saw Crawford crawling on the floor and three men, one of whom pointed a gun at him. Vorisek was ordered to his bedroom and told to lie on the floor while the men searched his room, taking whatever money they found. Vorisek admitted that he had been selling marijuana out of his home. The intruders asked him where the cocaine was. Vorisek denied having or selling any cocaine, but testified that he gave the intruders the marijuana that he had in his home. Vorisek also testified that his and several other cell phones were taken from the apartment. Vorisek testified that he had seen Petitioner in his home on two occasions, including either the day of or the day before the robbery. He did not identify any of the intruders as Petitioner.

Lindsay Ventre testified consistently with Vorisek and Crawford. She testified that the intruders took a cell phone and cash from her.

Police Detective Marcel Holloway testified that he was assigned to investigate the home invasion and robbery. By tracking calls made on the stolen cell phones, he identified Kevin Jones as a suspect in this case. He interviewed Kevin Jones, who identified Tucker Johnson, Gary Young (also known as Gary Morris), and Petitioner as being involvement in the crime.

Tucker Johnson, who was testifying pursuant to a plea agreement, testified that on January 21, 2002, Petitioner called him and asked him if he would rob a house for him. Petitioner came to pick him up. In the vehicle were Petitioner, Kevin Jones, and Gary Young.

Petitioner told Johnson he wanted Johnson and the other men to rob a man named "Steve" who had a lot of marijuana in his home. Petitioner drove the three men to the apartment, and directed them to a particular apartment he wanted them to rob. After the robbery was completed, Johnson and the other two men left the apartment and were driven away by Petitioner.

Kevin Jones, who was also testifying pursuant to a plea agreement, testified that Petitioner called him on January 21, 2002, and told Jones that he had a robbery he wanted Jones to commit. Petitioner explained that he wanted Jones to rob the "weed man." Petitioner drove Jones, Tucker Johnson and Gary Young to an apartment complex. Petitioner directed them to a particular apartment that he wanted them to rob. Petitioner waited outside in his vehicle while the robbery took place. Petitioner drove Jones and the others away from the scene after the robbery.

Petitioner did not testify in his own defense.

II.

Following a jury trial in Ingham County Circuit Court, Petitioner was convicted of solicitation of armed robbery, home invasion, and armed robbery. On October 1, 2003, he was sentenced to twenty-five to forty years' imprisonment for the armed robbery conviction, twenty to forty years' imprisonment for the solicitation conviction, and twenty to forty years' imprisonment for the first-degree home invasion conviction.

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

Did the trial court violate Mr. Parks' federal constitutional rights at sentencing by scoring the statutory sentencing guidelines based on its finding of additional facts, which the prosecutor had not charged, which had not been ...


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