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Allen v. Klee

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

October 4, 2016

ANTHONY ALLEN, Petitioner,
v.
PAUL KLEE, Respondent.

          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

          THOMAS L. LUDINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The petitioner, Anthony Juan Allen, confined at the Cooper Street Facility in Jackson, Michigan, has filed a pro se application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The petitioner was convicted by a jury in the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court of perjury in a trial on a capital crime, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The petitioner was sentenced as a fourth habitual offender to 12 to 20 years' imprisonment on the perjury conviction, 3 to 7 years' imprisonment on the felon-in-possession conviction, which is to be served concurrently to the perjury conviction, and an initial and consecutive 2-year term of imprisonment on the felony-firearm conviction. The petitioner contends that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to multiple errors committed during his criminal trial. The respondent has filed an answer to the petition, asserting that the claim lacks merit. The Court agrees that the petitioner's claim is without merit, and therefore the petition will be denied.

         I.

         The petitioner was convicted of the above offenses following a jury trial in the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court. The following are the relevant facts as outlined 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's brother, Marvin Allen, had previously been convicted of murder, along with assault with intent to commit murder and two counts of felony-firearm, arising out of multiple discharges of a firearm in a parking lot melee next to a party store and auto parts store. The prosecution claimed that defendant, who was with his brother in the parking lot when the murder was committed, initially possessed and fired the gun before it ended up in the hands of defendant's brother who then used it to shoot two individuals, one of whom died. And the prosecution proceeded with the perjury charge against defendant in the case at bar on the basis that defendant perjured himself at his brother's murder trial when defendant denied ever having possessed the gun.
People v. Allen, No. 291334, 2010 WL 3666819, at *1 (Mich.Ct.App. Sept. 21, 2010).

         The petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal. People v. Allen, 488 Mich. 1041, 793 N.W.2d 711 (2010).

The petitioner seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following ground:
Ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failing to object to multiple errors committed during petitioner's criminal trial.

         II.

         28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), imposes the following standard of review for habeas cases:

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 proceeding.

         A decision of a state court is “contrary to” clearly established federal law if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). An “unreasonable application” occurs when “a state court decision unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the facts of a prisoner's case.” Id. at 409. A federal habeas court may not “issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly.” Id. at 410-11.

         “[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, 101 (2011) (citing Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). In order to obtain habeas relief in federal court, a state prisoner is required to show that the state court's rejection of his claim “was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Harrington, 562 U.S. at 103. A habeas petitioner should be denied relief as long as it is within the “realm of possibility” that fairminded jurists could find the state court decision to be reasonable. See Woods v. Etherton,136 S.Ct. 1149, 1152 ...


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