United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY OR LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Sean F. Cox, U.S. District Judge
Charles Edward Jenkins, (“Petitioner”), incarcerated at the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Michigan, filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in which he challenges his convictions for assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder, Mich. Comp. Laws, § 750.84, and being a fourth felony habitual offender, Mich. Comp. Laws, § 769.12. For the reasons stated below, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is DENIED WITH PREJUDICE.
Petitioner was originally charged with assault with intent to murder. A jury convicted Petitioner in Wayne County Circuit Court of the lesser offense of assault with intent to do great bodily harm. Petitioner was sentenced as a fourth felony habitual offender to 10 to 30 years in prison.
This Court recites verbatim the relevant facts relied upon by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which are presumed correct on habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). See Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009):
Defendant and the victim, Jason Hawkins, were neighbors. In the summer of 2010, they had an argument culminating in a physical altercation. Despite this confrontation, Hawkins believed that his relationship with defendant became stable and they resumed normal relations.
On October 4, 2010, Hawkins was staying with his girlfriend who lived a couple of streets away because he had bedbugs in his house. He had left his house unlocked, however, because he was in the process of moving. That night, Javontae Thomas, who Hawkins referred to as his nephew and as “Louie, ” was walking by Hawkins’ house and saw defendant breaking in, taking two speakers, and loading them into a van. Louie immediately went to Hawkins and informed him of defendant’s actions.
Hawkins, Louie, Deangelo Hawkins (Jason Hawkins’ nephew), and another man drove to the house and saw defendant with the speakers. Hawkins approached defendant and they exchanged words. According to Hawkins, defendant started shooting. The four men scattered and defendant continued shooting. Hawkins ran toward his house and defendant pursued him. Defendant continued to shoot until he eventually struck Hawkins in the back with a bullet. Hawkins was able to stagger to the car and heard defendant say: “yeah, I told you I was gonna get you.” At trial, defendant testified to a much different chain of events. He claimed that after the altercation in the summer of 2010, he feared for his life and believed that Hawkins would assault him again. Defendant’s girlfriend likewise testified that after the altercation, she believed defendant’s life was in danger. Defendant obtained a gun for protection. On the night of the shooting, defendant denied entering Hawkins’ house or stealing his speakers. He claimed that he was near his van that night because he was retrieving his son’s diaper bag.
When defendant saw Hawkins and the other men approach him, he thought he was about to die. He testified that one of the men was carrying a club and Hawkins stated that they were about to hurt defendant. According to defendant, the men approached him, and he started shooting in an attempt to scare them away. He claimed that he was not shooting at anyone in particular, he did not chase Hawkins, and he did not reload his weapon. Defendant also denied even knowing that Hawkins had been shot.
People v. Jenkins, No. 304644, 2013 WL 3022174, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. June 18, 2013).
Petitioner’s conviction was affirmed on appeal. Id., lv. den. 495 Mich. 882, 838 N.W.2d 547 (2013).
Petitioner seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds:
I. The trial court violated defendant’s due process rights by permitting the jurors to ask questions of witnesses during trial.
II. The trial court violated defendant’s due process rights to present a defense and cross-examine a key prosecution witness by excluding evidence that the witness subsequently threatened defendant’s girlfriend after the first day of trial, where it was offered to show motive and intent for aggression during the charged incident.
III. The trial court violated defendant’s due process rights by permitting the prosecutor to impeach defendant’s trial testimony with unfairly prejudicial evidence of a prior conviction for carjacking, where defendant was on trial for assault with intent to murder, and both charges involved crimes of violence.
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 ...