United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS, GRANTING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND GRANTING
PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge.
Nancy Bradshaw-Love filed this application for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner
was convicted after a jury trial in the Ogemaw County Circuit
Court of conspiracy to commit assault with intent to do great
bodily harm, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.84, and attempted
escape while awaiting trial for a felony. Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 750.197(2)). The trial court imposed a controlling
sentence of 12 to 30 years' imprisonment for the assault
Court interprets the amended petition to be raising the
following claims: (1) insufficient evidence was presented at
trial to sustain Petitioner's conviction for attempted
escape, (2) Petitioner was charged with attempted escape, but
the jury was erroneously instructed on the offense of
conspiracy to commit escape, (3) trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to raise an insanity defense, (4)
trial counsel was ineffective for failing to move to suppress
letters written by Petitioner from jail on the grounds that
they were a product of her mental illness, (5) trial counsel
was ineffective for failing to present mitigating evidence at
sentencing, (6) recasts the claim that trial counsel was
ineffective for failure to pursue an insanity defense, (7)
Petitioner's counsel had a conflict of interest, (8)
trial counsel was ineffective for failing to move to change
the venue of the trial, (9) another restatement of claim that
trial counsel was ineffective, and (10) Petitioner's
appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise these
claims on direct appeal or properly support them.
Court will deny the petition because the claims are without
merit. The Court will, however, grant Petitioner a
certificate of appealability with respect to her third and
fifth claims, and grant Petitioner permission to proceed on
appeal in forma pauperis.
charges against Petitioner arose from allegations that she
and her co-defendant, Harold Priddy, attempted to free
Petitioner while she was being transported in the courthouse
for a preliminary examination on different charges.
prosecution introduced evidence that Petitioner and Priddy
planned the escape through letters and telephone
conversations while Petitioner was in jail awaiting trial on
a resisting and obstructing arrest charge. The prosecution
also introduced the testimony of court personnel,
specifically the officer who had custody of Petitioner, that
upon entering the stairwell of the courthouse, Priddy
attacked the officer by pouring gasoline on him and trying to
bind his hands. The officer broke free and tried to run up
the staircase, but Priddy pulled him back. The incident was
then broken up by other court personnel, and Priddy was
arrested while Petitioner remained in custody. Further facts
surrounding the trial court proceedings will be described as
her conviction and sentence, Petitioner filed a claim of
appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals. Her appointed
appellate attorney filed a brief on appeal, raising the
I. Whether Ms. Bradshaw-Love was denied her constitutional
right to the effective assistance of trial counsel where her
attorney failed to pursue an insanity defense or a
psychological evaluation despite Ms. Bradshaw-Love's
extensive history of mental illness.
II. Whether Ms. Bradshaw-Love was denied her due process
right to a properly instructed jury where the trial court, as
part of a long and confusing list of crimes, some applicable
only to Ms. Bradshaw-Love and some applicable only to her
co-defendant, neglected entirely to define the conspiracy
crime for which Ms. Bradshaw-Love was convicted.
III. Whether Ms. Bradshaw-Love was denied the effective
assistance of her attorney by her trial attorney's
failure to object to the error in the jury instructions
discussed in the previous section.
IV. Whether Ms. Bradshaw-Love was denied the effective
assistance of her attorney where her trial attorney failed to
move for a change of venue where the alleged crime happened
in the very courthouse in which her trial occurred.
V. Whether Ms. Bradshaw-Love was denied her Sixth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights where the trial court sentenced
her based on facts not found by the jury beyond a reasonable
VI. Whether Ms. Bradshaw-Love was denied the effective
assistance of her attorney where her trial attorney failed to
object to the sentencing issue in this appeal.
VII. The trial court erred in ordering Bradshaw-Love to pay
$500 in attorney fees, especially considering a failure of
the trial court to determine her ability to pay.
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's
convictions in an unpublished opinion. People v.
Priddy, No. 276399, 2008 WL 2812118 (Mich. Ct. App. July
22, 2008). Petitioner subsequently filed an application for
leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, raising the
same claims. The Michigan Supreme Court denied the
application because it was not persuaded that the questions
presented should be reviewed by the Court. People v.
Bradshaw-Love, 759 N.W.2d 383 (Mich. 2009) (table).
then initiated the present action and subsequently
successfully moved this Court to stay her petition and hold
her case in abeyance so she could return to state court to
exhaust additional claims.
returned to the state trial court and filed a motion for
relief from judgment, raising what now form her habeas
claims. The trial court denied the motion for relief from
judgment in an opinion dated March 7, 2012. The short order
stated that it reviewed Petitioner's motion and all of
the attached exhibits and found that the claims lacked meritt
and had previously been rejected by the court of appeals.
filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan
Court of Appeals. The Michigan Court of Appeals denied the
application for failure to establish entitlement to relief
under Michigan Court Rule 6.508(D). People v.
Bradshaw-Love, No. 312315 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 24,
2013). Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal
that decision in the Michigan Supreme Court, but it was also
denied with citation to Rule 6.508(D). People v.
Bradshaw-Love, 846 N.W.2d 552 (Mich. 2014) (table).
then successfully moved to reopen this case, which is now
ready for decision.
Standard of Review
habeas petition is reviewed under the standards set forth in
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA), Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (Apr. 24, 1996).
Under AEDPA, a federal court cannot grant habeas relief with
respect to any claim adjudicated on the merits in a
state-court proceeding unless the state adjudication of the
(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 proceeding. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1),
state court's decision is ‘contrary to' . . .
clearly established law if it ‘applies a rule that
contradicts the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court
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
[this] 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 the statute
permits a federal habeas court to ‘grant the writ if
the state court identifies the correct governing legal
principle from [the Supreme] Court 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). “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 (2011), (quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado,
541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004). “Section 2254(d) reflects the
view that habeas corpus is a guard against extreme
malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, not a
substitute for ordinary error correction through appeal. . .
. As a condition for obtaining habeas corpus from a federal
court, a state prisoner must show that the state court's
ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so
lacking in justification that there was an error well
understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any
possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Id.
at 786-87 (internal quotation omitted).
obtain relief under § 2254(d)(2), a petitioner must show
an unreasonable determination of fact and that the resulting
state court decision was “based on” that
unreasonable determination. Rice v. White, 660 F.3d
242, 250 (6th Cir. 2012).
contends that several of Petitioner's claims are
procedurally defaulted because the errors were not preserved
in the trial court or on direct appeal. Under the procedural
default doctrine, a federal habeas court will not review a
question of federal law if a state court's decision rests
on a substantive or procedural state law ground that is
independent of the federal question and is adequate to
support the judgment. See Coleman v. Thompson, 501
U.S. 722, 729 (1991). However, procedural default is not a
jurisdictional bar to review of a habeas petition on the
merits. See Trest v. Cain, 522 U.S. 87, 89 (1997).
Additionally, “federal courts are not required to
address a procedural-default issue before deciding against
the petitioner on the merits.” Hudson v.
Jones, 351 F.3d 212, 215 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing
Lambrix v. Singletary, 520 U.S. 518, 525 (1997)). It
may be more economical for the habeas court to simply review
the merits of the petitioner's claims, “for
example, if it were easily resolvable against the habeas
petitioner, whereas the procedural-bar issue involved
complicated issues of state law.” Lambrix, 520
U.S. at 525. In the present case, the Court deems it more
efficient to proceed directly to the merits, especially
because Petitioner alleges that her attorneys were
ineffective for failing to preserve the defaulted claims.
Sufficiency of the Evidence
first claims that insufficient evidence was offered at trial
to support her conviction for attempted escape. Specifically,
she argues that the evidence presented at trial showed that
while Priddy assaulted the courtroom officer, she remained
still and did not attempt to escape despite the opportunity
to do so. She indicates that she communicated with Priddy
before the incident that she did not want him to carry out
the escape attempt.
Due Process Clause protects the accused against conviction
except upon proof beyond a reasonable doubt of every fact
necessary to constitute the crime with which he is
charged.” In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 364
(1970). On direct review, review of a sufficiency of the
evidence challenge must focus on whether “after viewing
the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution,
any rational trier of fact could have found the essential
elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979)
(emphasis in original). In the habeas context, “[t]he
Jackson standard must be applied ‘with