United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER RESCINDING THE ORDER OF REFERENCE TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE, DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY OR LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
NANCY G. EDMUNDS, District Judge.
Curtis Martel Jackson, ("petitioner"), confined at the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia, Michigan, seeks the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his application, filed by attorney Sanford A. Schulman, petitioner challenges his conviction for second-degree murder, M.C.L.A. 750.317; felon in possession of a firearm, M.C.L.A. 750.224f; and felony firearm, M.C.L.A. 750.227b. For the reasons stated below, petitioner's application for writ of habeas corpus is DENIED. The Court will also rescind the Order of Reference to United States Magistrate Judge.
Petitioner was originally charged with first-degree murder, felon in possession of a firearm, and felony-firearm. Following a jury trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court, petitioner was convicted of the lesser included offense of second-degree murder and guilty as charged of the other two offenses.
On the morning of December 29, 2009, petitioner was driving with his ex-girlfriend Valeria Anderson when they stopped to chat with a friend of petitioner's named Christoper Little. While they were talking, petitioner noticed a van driving towards them and asked Mr. Little, "was that Gaylin's bitch ass?" Little responded affirmatively. Petitioner ordered Little to drive off. Petitioner pulled his vehicle next to Gaylin Williams' van. When Mr. Williams extended his hand out to greet petitioner, petitioner pointed a gun at Williams and shot him several times, right in front of Ms. Anderson. The victim was unarmed. After the shooting, petitioner drove to a friend's house where he disposed of the murder weapon. Mr. Williams was later found slumped over in his van. The victim was taken to the hospital, where he subsequently died.
The sole eyewitness at petitioner's trial was Valeria Anderson. Ms. Anderson at first did not tell anyone about the murder. Eventually, Anderson and petitioner broke up. Petitioner threatened Anderson that he would have his friends shoot up her house or burn it down if she told anyone about the shooting. Petitioner's girlfriend and brother also made threats to Anderson about what would happen to her if she incriminated petitioner. Petitioner also physically assaulted Ms. Anderson, stalked her at home, and stole her cell phone. Anderson's house was firebombed shortly after petitioner had threatened to burn it down.
Petitioner presented an alibi defense at trial.
Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal. People v. Jackson, No. 298676, 2012 WL 104745 (Mich.Ct.App. January 12, 2012); lv. den. 491 Mich. 922, 812 N.W.2d 757 (2012).
Petitioner seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds:
I. Counsel was ineffective based upon the following omissions:
a. Counsel's failure to request the definition of great bodily harm in the second-degree murder intent instruction; and
b. Counsel's failure to request a curative instruction regarding the uncharged offenses of unarmed robbery, arson, and breaking and entering.
II. The admission of parts of the non-testifying witness statement of Christopher Little denied Jackson his right to confrontation.
III. The cumulative effect of counsel's omissions denied Jackson a fair trial.
IV. Jackson was denied a fair trial by the admission of other bad acts evidence against him that was substantially more prejudicial than probative and did not comport with Mich. R. Evid. 404(b).
V. The trial court erred by not sua sponte declaring a mistrial after defense counsel deliberately elicited evidence that Jackson committed two other separate murders.
VI. Prosecutorial misconduct throughout the trial and during closing arguments violated Jackson's right to due process of law.
VII. A miscarriage of justice occurred in this case where Jackson was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel.
II. Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), imposes the following standard of review for habeas cases:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State ...