United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING
PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Page Hood Chief Judge
Terrance Raines filed this application for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was
convicted after he pled guilty in the Wayne Circuit Court to
second-degree murder. Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.317.
Petitioner was sentenced to 22½ to 35 years'
imprisonment. The petition raises a single claim: Petitioner
was denied the right to the effective assistance of counsel
when his trial attorney failed to adequately consult with him
and failed to pursue a meritorious defense. The Court will
deny the petition because the claim is without merit. The
Court will also deny Petitioner a certificate of
appealability and deny Petitioner permission to proceed on
appeal in forma pauperis.
charges against Petitioner arose after he strangled Kiara
Coachman to death in her apartment after the two consumed
drugs and alcohol. Petitioner then stole and sold
Coachman's cell phone. Petitioner was originally charged
with first-degree felony murder and with being a habitual
was referred for a report on his competency on January 5,
2012. Dkt. 7-1, at 2. Petitioner was found to be competent
after a hearing held on February 16, 2012. Id.
preliminary examination, held on February 28, 2012, the
parties stipulated to the fact that the victim died of
strangulation and that she had a blood alcohol content of .04
percent. Dkt. 7-2, at 6-8. Detroit police officer Scott Shea
testified at the exam that he interviewed Petitioner on
September 13, 2011, after he was read and waived his
constitutional rights. Id., at 12-14, 29.
Petitioner's statement was reduced to writing.
Id., at 30-36. Petitioner stated that he entered the
victim's apartment and found her dead. He touched both
sides of her neck, and then took her cell phone.
Id., at 31-35.
was subsequently interviewed by the FBI, and he admitted in
this interview that he strangled the victim. Id., at
44-53. Petitioner stated “I choked Kiara due to drugs
and alcohol . . . I'm sorry but I was under the influence
of drugs and alcohol.” Id., at 45. He had been
using drugs for a “couple of days straight.”
Id., at 48.
competency hearing was held in August of 2012, after which
Petitioner was determined to be competent. Dkt. 7-1, at 3. A
report was also generated on August 24, 2012, regarding
Petitioner's criminal responsibility. Id. An
order for an independent psychiatric evaluation on
Petitioner's criminal responsibility was entered on
August 28, 2012.
agreement was reached on June 28, 2013. Dkt. 7-3. Defense
counsel indicated that he had spoken with Petitioner in some
detail, and Petitioner was prepared to accept the
prosecutor's plea offer. Id., at 3. Petitioner
signed a copy of the plea agreement. Id., at 3-4.
The prosecutor indicated that the agreement called for
Petitioner to plead guilty to the lesser charge of
second-degree murder with a sentencing agreement of
22½ to 35 years, and the charge of first-degree murder
would be dismissed. Id., at 4-5. Defense counsel
indicated that was also his understanding of the agreement.
Id., at 5.
was placed under oath. Id. He stated he was 46 years
old, could read and right, and he understood what was
happening. Id., at 6. Petitioner stated he talked
about the plea with his attorney, and he understood the
consequences of entering a guilty plea. Id., at 7.
He indicated his satisfaction with his attorney's
performance. Id. He understood that the original
charge of first-degree murder carried a sentence of mandatory
life imprisonment. Id.
was then informed of all the rights he would be waiving by
entering his plea. Id., at 8-9. These included the
right to a jury trial, the right to a bench trial, the
presumption of innocence, the right to have witnesses against
him appear at trial, the right to cross-examine the witnesses
against him, the right to call his own witnesses, the right
to compulsory process, and the right to remain silent or
testify in his own defense. Id. 8-9. Petitioner
acknowledged that, knowing all those rights, he wised to give
them up and plead guilty. Id., at 9.
denied that anyone made any promises to him other than what
was placed on the record. Id., at 10. He also denied
that anyone had threatened or coerced him into entering his
plea. Id. Petitioner affirmed that he was pleading
guilty voluntarily and of his own free will. Id. He
indicated that he wished to plead guilty to second-degree
murder. Id., at 11.
then gave a factual basis for his plea. He testified that on
September 7, 2011, he went to Kiera Coachman's apartment.
Id. Petitioner explained, “me and Mrs.
Coachman was using drugs and alcohol. We got into a
confrontation, and I strangled her.” Id., at
11-12. The court found that Petitioner's plea was
understanding, voluntary, and accurate. Id.
was subsequently sentenced under the terms of the plea
agreement. Petitioner was appointed appellate counsel who
filed a motion to withdraw the plea. A hearing was held on
the motion, where counsel asserted that Petitioner had a
history of mental illness that prevented him from knowing
that he would become intoxicated when he consumed drugs and