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Clouse v. Winn

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

February 26, 2015

FLOYD CLOUSE, Petitioner,
v.
THOMAS WINN, Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

Gerald E. Rosen, Chief Judge, United States District Court.

Petitioner Floyd Clouse has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is incarcerated at the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Freeland, Michigan. He challenges the sentence imposed for his plea-based conviction for possession of methamphetamine. Clouse was sentenced to one to ten year’s imprisonment. It is apparent from the face of the petition that habeas relief is not warranted. Therefore, the Court summarily dismisses the petition.

I. BACKGROUND

Clouse pleaded guilty in Van Buren County Circuit Court to possession of methamphetamine. On September 16, 2013, he was sentenced as a third habitual offender to one to ten years’ imprisonment.

Clouse filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals arguing that the sentence was disproportionate to the severity of the offense. The Michigan Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal for lack of merit in the grounds presented. People v. Clouse, No. 319686 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 21, 2014). Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, raising the same claim raised in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v. Clouse, 496 Mich. 866 (Mich. July 29, 2014).

Clouse then filed the pending habeas petition. He raises the same sentencing claim raised in state court.

II. STANDARD

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 does not present grounds which may establish the violation of a federal constitutional right. The petition will be dismissed.

Petitioner’s claims 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). However, “[i]n 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, 562 U.S. 86, -, 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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