Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lawrence v. Barrett

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 27, 2015

JOHN LAWRENCE, Petitioner,
v.
JOE BARRETT, Respondent.

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND GRANTING PERMISSION TO PROCEED ON APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

PATRICK J. DUGGAN, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on Petitioner John Lawrence's petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed under 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254. Petitioner pled no contest in the Bay Circuit Court to operating a vehicle while intoxicated, third offense, Mich. Comp. Laws ยง 257.625(7)(a)(ii)). As a result, Petitioner was sentenced to 23-to-60 months. The petition raises four claims which may consolidated into two: (1) Petitioner's plea was involuntary and the result of ineffective assistance of counsel, and (2) the trial court erroneously scored the sentencing guidelines. The Court finds that Petitioner's claims are without merit. Therefore, the petition will be denied. However, the Court will grant Petitioner a certificate of appealability on his first claim and grant Petitioner permission to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal.

II. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

After charges stemming from an automobile accident, Petitioner pled no contest to operating a vehicle while intoxicated, third offense. At his plea hearing, and after some initial confusion, Petitioner acknowledged that he desired to enter into a plea agreement. He denied that he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The court indicated that the plea bargain called for a cap of six months on the minimum sentence.

The court asked Petitioner if he wished to consult further with his attorney prior to entering his plea. Petitioner asked the court if he would be able to withdraw the plea at a later date. The court indicated that he would not necessarily be able to withdraw the plea, but Petitioner decided to go ahead with the plea anyway rather than go to trial. The court then allowed Petitioner time to consult with his attorney.

When the hearing resumed, defense counsel indicated that the prosecutor had indicated that the sentencing guidelines called for a minimum sentence ranging between zero and eleven months. The court stated that after reading that an extensive criminal history existed that he would not be able to go along with the six month minimum sentence bargain. The court indicated that it would only be willing to keep Petitioner's sentence within the sentencing guidelines. Defense counsel stated that "to the best of our knowledge, the guidelines were zero to eleven months." ECF 8-3, p. 11. The court stated to Petitioner that the guideline range had not been calculated yet, but that it would be calculated at the sentencing hearing, "but whatever it is, I'll stay within that guideline range." Id. p. 11. Petitioner acknowledged his understanding, and he indicated his desire to continue with the plea.

Petitioner denied that he was influenced by anyone to enter the plea. He indicated his understanding of the terms of the plea agreement as stated on the record. Petitioner denied that anyone had made any promises to him other than what was placed on the record. He also denied that there were any undisclosed threats or promises made to him. Petitioner was then informed of the charges and penalties he faced by entering his plea. He was also informed of the trial rights he would be waiving by entering his plea, and he indicated his understanding and desire to waive them. The court accepted the plea of no contest, and it found that it was made voluntarily and understandingly. At the sentencing hearing, the court calculated the guidelines to call for a minimum sentence of 7-to-23 months. The trial court then sentenced Petitioner to 23-to-60 months imprisonment.

Following his conviction and sentence, Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals, raising the following claim:

I. Defendant must be re-sentenced to an 11 month jail sentence, or in the alternative to withdrawal of his plea, because the ineffective assistance of counsel seriously affected the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings.

The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's conviction by denying his application for leave to appeal "for lack of merit in the grounds presented." People v. Lawrence, No. 316561 (Mich. Ct. App. July 2, 2013).

Petitioner subsequently filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, raising the following claims:

I. Defendant must be re-sentenced to an 11 month jail sentence, or in the alternative to withdrawal of his plea, because the ineffective assistance of counsel seriously affected the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings.
II. The trial court departed from the guidelines without substantial and compelling reasons. Lawrence's plea was based on an 11 months maximum penalty, so his five ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.