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Meador v. Klee

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

October 20, 2016

PAUL KLEE, Respondent,



         This matter is on remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Kenny Allen Meador, (“petitioner”), incarcerated at the Alger Correctional Facility in Munising, Michigan, seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his pro se application, petitioner challenges his convictions for conducting a criminal enterprise, M.C.L.A. 750.159i(1), two counts of first-degree home invasion, M.C.L.A. 750.110a(2), three counts of receiving and concealing stolen property with a value of $1, 000 but less than $20, 000, M.C.L.A. 750.535(3)(a), two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, M.C.L.A. 750.227b, and being a third habitual offender, M.C.L.A. 769.11. For the reasons that follow, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.

         I. Background

         Petitioner was convicted following a jury trial in the Saginaw County Circuit Court. 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):

This case involves the break-ins of three homes in Saginaw County: (1) the Parker residence on Swan Creek Road on February 18, 2008; (2) the Kangas residence on Marquette Street on February 24, 2008; and (3) the Rodriguez residence on North Clinton Street on March 11, 2008. All three break-ins occurred during the day. Among the items taken were five guns, including a .357 caliber revolver and a .40 caliber pistol, and two gold coins from the Parker house, a digital camera from the Kangas house, and a wedding band set, a flat screen television, and a gun from the Rodriguez house.
On February 18, 2008, at approximately noon, Cara Mackley, a resident of Swan Creek Road, drove past the Parker house and saw a dark-colored Grand Am in the driveway. Also on February 18, Joe Overstreet, owner of the International Coin Exchange, bought two gold coins from defendant. The two coins had been taken from the Parker residence.
At night on February 18, 2008, members of the Saginaw Gang Task Force stopped a vehicle occupied by Peter Escobedo and Rolando Santoya. Before the vehicle stopped, Santoya tossed a .357 caliber revolver out the driver's side rear window. Santoya testified that he got the gun, which had been taken from the Parker residence, from Joe Gawthrop earlier that evening in the West Genesee Market parking lot. According to Santoya, Gawthrop arrived in the parking lot as a passenger in a dark-colored Grand Am.
In February 2008, a detective with the Saginaw Township Police Department was investigating a series of home invasions, for which defendant had become a suspect. The detective learned that defendant was staying in local motels with Stephanie Mazur and Eric Torrez, and that on February 25, defendant and Mazur planned to move out of the Super 8 motel. The detective set up surveillance. He saw defendant walk out of the motel, go to a Grand Am, take an item from the trunk, and throw the item into a drainage ditch. After defendant left the area, the detective retrieved the item; it was the digital camera that had been taken from the Kangas residence. The detective went inside the motel with the intent to search defendant's room. He ran into Eric Torrez, who ran when confronted. While running, Torrez dropped a .40 caliber pistol. The pistol had been taken from the Parker residence.
On March 11, 2008, Amanda Nickles, who lived across the street from 2433 North Clinton Road, was washing dishes when she saw a dark blue Grand Am pull into the driveway of the Rodriguez residence. There were four people in the car. A female, who was driving, stayed in the car, while the other three, at least two of whom were males, got out of the car. One went to the back of the house, one went to the front door and knocked, and the third stayed by the car. The one that went to the back of the house then opened the front door. Nickles saw them carry a television and two jewelry boxes out of the house. Nickles did not call 911, but she wrote down the license plate number to the Grand Am. When Diana Rodriguez came home, Nickles told Rodriguez what she had seen and she then gave the license plate number to the police. After an officer “played” with the number, [1] the officer learned that the Grand Am was registered to a person living at 4077 Green Street. The officer went to the address, where he had contact with a relative of Mazur.
According to Sherry McQuiston, an employee of the Saginaw Gold and Diamond Center, defendant and Mazur came into the store to sell jewelry on March 11, 2008. Pursuant to an earlier request from the Saginaw Township Police Department, she asked her boss to alert the police of defendant's presence at the store. McQuiston tried to stall defendant and Mazur, but the two left the store without selling any jewelry. However, after defendant and Mazur walked to a dark-colored Grand Am, the police followed defendant and Mazur out of the store's parking lot.
A marked patrol vehicle initiated a traffic stop of the Grand Am. Defendant and Mazur were placed in the back of the patrol vehicle, while the Grand Am was searched. A pry bar and a set of gloves were found in the trunk. Defendant and Mazur were transported to the police station, where each was interviewed. During her interview, Mazur handed the interviewing officer the wedding band set that had been taken from the Rodriguez residence.
Mazur testified that for a time in early 2008 defendant was her boyfriend and that defendant would sometimes drive her car, a Grand Am, while she worked during the day. She and defendant stayed at hotels. Defendant would often have his friends, including Eric Torrez, Mikey Torrez, and Gawthrop, stay in other rooms.
According to Mazur, on March 11, 2008, she drove defendant, Mikey Torrez, and Gawthrop to the Rodriguez residence. She drove there under Gawthrop's direction. She believed that Gawthrop's ex-girlfriend lived there, and that Gawthrop was going to retrieve his possessions. At the house, Mazur stayed in the car, while the three men got out. Gawthrop walked to the back of the house, and a few minutes later he let defendant and Mikey Torrez into the house through the garage door. The three men exited the house, each carrying something. Defendant carried two jewelry boxes, Mikey Torrez carried a flat screen television, and Gawthrop had a gun. It was then that Mazur realized the three men had burglarized the house.
Mazur dropped Mikey Torrez and Gawthrop off, before she and defendant went to the Saginaw Gold and Diamond Exchange, where defendant unsuccessfully tried to sell some jewelry. After she and defendant left the store, they were pulled over. They were placed in the back seat of a patrol vehicle. Defendant had given Mazur a wedding band set taken from the Rodriguez house. While in the patrol vehicle, defendant first told Mazur to tell the police that she had gotten the wedding band set from Gawthrop and then he told her to swallow the rings.

People v. Meador, No. 292776, 2011 WL 165411, at * 1-3 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 18, 2011).

         Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal. Id., lv. den. 489 Mich. 935, 797 N.W.2d 630 (2011).

         In 2012, petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner later moved to hold the petition in abeyance so that he could return to the state courts to exhaust additional claims. This Court denied the motion to stay and hold the petition in abeyance on the ground that petitioner still had time remaining under the one year limitations period to file a state post-conviction motion and return to the federal court. The Court gave petitioner thirty days to decide whether he wished to proceed only with his exhausted claims or move for a non-prejudicial dismissal of his petition. Meador v. Rapelje, No. 5:12-CV-10460, 2012 WL 4341063, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 21, 2012).

         On October 17, 2012, petitioner moved to withdraw his petition without prejudice. On October 24, 2012, this Court summarily dismissed the petition without prejudice. (5:12-CV-10460, Dkt. # 10).

         Petitioner filed a post-conviction motion for relief from judgment with the Saginaw County Circuit Court, which was denied. People v. Meador, No. 08-030703-FH (Saginaw Cty. Cir. Ct., Feb. 11, 2013); reconsideration den. No. 08- 030703-FH (Saginaw Cty. Cir. Ct., Mar. 12, 2013). The Michigan appellate courts denied petitioner leave to appeal. People v. Meador, No. 316353 (Mich.Ct.App. Dec. 27, 2013); lv. Den. 496 Mich. 859, 847 N.W.2d 631 (2014).

         On June 29, 2014, petitioner filed the current petition for writ of habeas corpus.

         This Court granted respondent's motion to dismiss and dismissed the petition pursuant to the one year limitations period found in 28 U.S.C. § 2244 (d)(1). Meador v. Klee, No. 5:14-12760, 2015 WL 806990 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 26, 2015).

         The Sixth Circuit reversed this Court's opinion and order of summary dismissal, finding that the instant petition was timely filed. The Sixth Circuit remanded the matter to this Court for a decision on the merits. See Meador v. Klee, No. 15-1329 (6th Cir. Mar. 23, 2016).

         On May 5, 2016, this Court reopened the case to the Court's active docket and ordered respondent to file an answer addressing the merits of the petition. A supplemental answer was filed on September ...

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