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Bridges v. Palmer

United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division

January 23, 2015




This is a habeas case filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner Lonnie Bridges (Petitioner) is a state inmate currently incarcerated at the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia, Michigan. He challenges his convictions for manslaughter, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.321, felony firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b, and felon in possession of a firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.224f, on the ground that the prosecutor engaged in misconduct. It is plain from the face of the petition that habeas relief is not warranted. Therefore, the petition will be dismissed.

Petitioner was convicted by a jury in Wayne County Circuit Court of manslaughter, felony firearm, and felon in possession of a firearm. On April 13, 2012, he was sentenced to 10 to 22 years for the manslaughter conviction, 2 to 5 years for the felon in possession conviction, and 5 years for the felony firearm conviction.

Petitioner filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of Appeals arguing that prosecutorial misconduct and the improper admission of evidence denied him the right to a fair trial. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner’s convictions. People v. Bridges, No. 310176, 2013 WL 3815631 (Mich. Ct. App. July 23, 2013). The Michigan Supreme Court then denied Petitioner’s application for leave to appeal. People v. Bridges, 495 Mich. 903 (Mich. Nov. 25, 2013).

Petitioner then filed the pending habeas petition. He raises this claim:

The trial court denied defendant a fair trial and the prosecutor engaged in misconduct when the prosecutor impeached defendant Bridges with the details of a prior assault with intent to murder conviction in response to defendant’s testimony that he acted in self-defense, and that he was aware that the victim could be violent.


Upon the filing of a habeas corpus petition, the court must promptly examine the petition to determine “if it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.” Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 cases. If the court determines that the petitioner is not entitled to relief, the court shall summarily dismiss the petition. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994) (“Federal courts are authorized to dismiss summarily any habeas petition that appears legally insufficient on its face”). The habeas petition, on its face, does not establish the violation of a federal constitutional right, therefore, the petition will be dismissed.

The claims raised are reviewed against the standards established by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (AEDPA). The AEDPA provides:

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 court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim –
(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 presented in the State court proceedings.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

“A state court’s decision is ‘contrary to’ . . . clearly established law if it ‘applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court cases]’ or if it ‘confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the Supreme] Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from [this] precedent.’” Mitchell v. Esparza, 540 U.S. 12, 15-16 (2003) (per curiam) (quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000)). “[T]he ‘unreasonable application’ prong of the statute permits a federal habeas court to ‘grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the Supreme] Court but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts’ of petitioner’s case.” Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 520 (2003) (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 413). “In order for a federal court find a state court’s application of [Supreme Court] precedent ‘unreasonable, ’ the state court’s decision must have been more than incorrect or erroneous. The state court’s application must have been ‘objectively unreasonable.’” Wiggins, 539 U.S. at 520-21 (citations omitted); see also Williams, 529 U.S. at 409. “A state court’s determination that a claim lacks merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as ‘fairminded jurists could disagree’ on the correctness of the state court’s decision.” Harrington v. Richter, __U.S. __, 131 S.Ct. 770, 789 (2011), (quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). ‚ÄúSection 2254(d) reflects the view that habeas corpus is a guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice ...

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