United States District Court, E.D. Michigan
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS (DKT. 1) AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF
TERRENCE G. BERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a habeas case brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Petitioner Timothy Childers is presently incarcerated at the
Macomb Correctional Center in New Haven, Michigan. He
challenges his plea-based convictions for breaking and
entering a building with intent to commit a felony or larceny
and for second-degree home invasion. Petitioner argues that
his plea was involuntary and that he received ineffective
assistance of counsel. As discussed below, the Court finds
these arguments to be unfounded, and the petition is
was charged in Shiawassee County Circuit Court with breaking
and entering with intent to commit larceny in violation of
Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.110, and second-degree home
invasion in violation of Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.110a(3).
The charges arose from home break-ins that Petitioner and his
co-defendant, Kent VanDesande, committed in September 2011.
a pretrial hearing on February 27, 2012, the prosecutor
placed on the record a plea offer that had been extended to
and rejected by Petitioner. The plea offer provided that
Petitioner could plead guilty both to breaking and entering a
building with intent to commit a felony or larceny and to
second-degree home invasion in exchange for dismissal of a
possession of burglar's tools charge, and an agreement
not to amend the information to include a criminal enterprise
charge and not to charge any additional home invasions that
occurred in Shiawassee County. Dkt. 7, Ex. 2, pp. 3-4
(Pretrial Hearing Transcript, Feb. 27, 2012). The following
week, on March 6, 2012, Petitioner pleaded guilty pursuant to
the previously-rejected plea agreement. Dkt. 7, Ex. 3 (Plea
Hearing Transcript, March 6, 2012). On April 18, 2012, the
trial court sentenced Petitioner in accordance with the plea
agreement to eight to twenty years' imprisonment for the
breaking and entering conviction, and to ten to twenty-two
years' imprisonment for the second-degree home invasion
conviction. These sentences run concurrently with each other,
but consecutive to a prior sentence from which Petitioner had
been paroled (Petitioner was on parole for a previous
home-invasion conviction when he committed the crimes at
issue in this case).
filed a motion to withdraw his plea because it was
involuntary or for a hearing on the grounds that his attorney
rendered ineffective assistance. The trial court conducted a
hearing on the motion, and ultimately denied it. Dkt. 7, Ex.
6, (Motion Hearing Transcript, April 19, 2013).
filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan
Court of Appeals, arguing that his plea was involuntary and
illusory, that his attorney was ineffective, that the
prosecutor committed misconduct, and that the court
miscalculated the sentencing guidelines. The Michigan Court
of Appeals denied leave to appeal “for lack of merit in
the grounds presented.” Dkt. 7, Ex. 7 (People v.
Childers, No. 316048 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 14, 2013)).
Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the
Michigan Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court denied
leave to appeal. Dkt. 7, Ex. 8 (People v. Childers,
495 Mich. 936 (2014)).
then filed the pending habeas petition, arguing that his
counsel was ineffective for a number of reasons and that the
prosecutor's plea-negotiation tactics amounted to
Standard of Review Review of this case is governed by
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”). Under the AEDPA, a state prisoner is
entitled to a writ of habeas corpus only if he can show that
the state court's adjudication of his claims:
(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;
(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).
state court's decision is ‘contrary to' . . .
clearly established law if it ‘applies a rule that
contradicts the governing law set forth in [the Supreme Court
of the United States' 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 [Supreme
Court] 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 §
2254(d)(1) permits a federal habeas court to ‘grant the
writ if the state court identifies the correct governing
legal principle from [the Supreme] Court's decisions 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). “In order for a federal court to find a state
court's application of [Supreme Court] precedent
‘unreasonable, '” however, “the state
court's decision must have been more than incorrect or
erroneous. … [it] must have been ‘objectively
unreasonable.'” Id. at 520-21 (citations