United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
QUINTON M. GOREE, Petitioner,
THOMAS MACKIE, Respondent.
T. Neff United States District Judge
a habeas corpus action brought by a state prisoner pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Promptly after the filing of a
petition for habeas corpus, the Court must undertake a
preliminary review of the petition to determine whether
“it plainly appears from the face of the petition and
any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief in the district court.” Rule 4,
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases; see 28 U.S.C.
§ 2243. If so, the petition must be summarily dismissed.
Rule 4; see Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th
Cir. 1970) (district court has the duty to “screen
out” petitions that lack merit on their face). A
dismissal under Rule 4 includes those petitions which raise
legally frivolous claims, as well as those containing factual
allegations that are palpably incredible or false. Carson
v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436-37 (6th Cir. 1999). After
undertaking the review required by Rule 4, the Court
concludes that the petition must be dismissed because it
fails to raise a meritorious federal claim.
Allegations and Procedural Background
Quinton M. Goree presently is incarcerated at the Oaks
Correctional Facility. He is serving a sentence of 15 years
to 50 years imprisonment for kidnapping, in violation of
Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.349, and a consecutive sentence
of 5 years to 20 years for conspiracy to commit first-degree
home invasion, in violation of Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.110a(2). Petitioner was sentenced on December 15,
2011, after his guilty plea in Kent County Circuit Court on
October 31, 2011.
describes the underlying facts as follows:
On August 8, 2011 at about 4:30 a.m., Grandville Police were
contacted by David Byker (age 60) regarding a kidnap[p]ing.
Mr. Byker told police that his wife had been kidnap[p]ed and
the family vehicle stolen. Mr. Byker told police that his
wife had been kidnap[p]ed by two black males who entered
their home. The suspects took his wife and put her into their
gold van and drove off. After the suspects took his wife,
they called him and told him that he had to pay $200, 000 to
get his wife back. The suspects stated that they only wanted
the money and then his wife would be released.
At about 5:30 a.m., Mrs. Byker called 911 and advised that
she had been abducted and was now safe in Wayland at a
business. Mrs. Byker's statement was consistent with her
husband's as to how the offense occurred. She stated that
she was placed in the backseat of the vehicle and her eyes
and mouth were covered with tape. After driving some
distance, the vehicle stopped and Mrs. Byker was taken out.
She was forced to walk into a cornfield to a telephone pole.
She was duct taped to the pole with the tape being placed
around her thighs and waist. After sensing that the suspects
had left, she began to struggle her way out. She ran out of
the cornfield to a nearby industrial building. She then ran
down the street towards another building and saw a truck with
its parking lights on. She awakened the driver and he called
Subsequent investigation resulted in the arrest[s] of the
Defendant and two co-defendants.
(Pet., ECF No. 1-1, PageID.18-19.) Petitioner also concisely
describes the proceedings in the circuit court:
Pursuant to a plea agreement, on October 31, 2011, Mr. Goree
pled guilty to counts 1 [kidnapping] and 4 [conspiracy to
commit first-degree home invasion]. The balance of the
charges were to be dismissed. There was also a sentence
agreement that the People would recommend a sentence within
the applicable guidelines range. Mr. Goree was also required
to testify truthfully against any of the other co-defendants.
The People also agreed that OV [Offense Variable] 7 would be
scored at zero points. The factual basis for the plea came
from Mr. Goree's testimony where he told the court that
he held the complainant for some reward or ransom. Mr. Goree
also admitted to conspiring with two other individuals to
commit the home invasion in conjunction with the
(Id., PageID.18.) The circuit court sentenced
Petitioner as described above. The sentences were within the
respective guideline ranges, the kidnapping sentence was at
the top of the range and the conspiracy sentence was at the
bottom of the range. The ranges were determined using a score
of zero points for Offense Variable 7.
circuit court appointed appellate counsel for Petitioner.
After reviewing the file, counsel determined that he was not
able to identify any non-frivolous issues for appeal. He
moved to withdraw. The circuit court permitted the
withdrawal, but refused to appoint new appellate counsel.
Thus, an application for leave to appeal was never filed on
August of 2013, Petitioner filed a motion for relief from
judgment pursuant to Mich. Ct. R. 6.500 et seq. The circuit
court denied the motion by opinion and order dated August 29,
2013. Petitioner sought leave to appeal that denial in the
Michigan Court of Appeals. That court denied leave by order
entered May 27, 2014. Petitioner then sought leave to appeal
to the Michigan Supreme Court.
Michigan Supreme Court, in lieu of granting leave, sent the
case back to the circuit court stating:
[W]e REMAND this case to the Kent Circuit Court for the
appointment of substitute appellate counsel, in light of
Halbert v. Michigan, 545 U.S. 605 (2005). Based on
our review of the record, the circuit court granted original
appointed appellate counsel's motion to withdraw, but
denied the defendant's request for the appointment of
substitute appellate counsel. On remand, substitute appellate
counsel, once appointed, may file an application for leave to
appeal in the Court of Appeals for consideration under the
standard for direct appeals, and/or any appropriate
postconviction motions in the circuit court, within six
months of the date of the circuit court's order
appointing counsel. Counsel may include among the issues
raised, but is not required to include, the issues raised by
the defendant in his motion for relief from judgment that was
filed in 2013.
People v. Goree, 856 N.W.2d 691 (Mich. 2014)
(parallel citations omitted). On January 23, 2015, the
circuit court appointed Attorney Suzanna Kostovski to assist
Petitioner with his appeal.
with the assistance of counsel, filed a delayed application
for leave to appeal his convictions and sentences in the
Michigan Court of Appeals. The court of appeals denied the
application for lack of merit in the grounds presented.
Petitioner sought leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme
Court. That court also denied leave by order entered ...