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Davis v. Wood

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

October 31, 2016

JEFFREY LAKIETH DAVIS, Petitioner,
v.
JEFFREY WOOD, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING (1) THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS; (2) A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY; AND (3) LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          HONORABLE TERRENCE G. BERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Jeffrey Lakieth Davis, (“petitioner”), confined at the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia, Michigan, seeks the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner challenges his conviction for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.520b(1)(a). For the reasons stated below, the application for a writ of habeas corpus is DENIED WITH PREJUDICE.

         I. Background

         Petitioner was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct based on allegations he had sexually penetrated a child under the age of thirteen.

         Petitioner pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, in exchange for dismissal of the second count. The prosecutor placed the terms of the agreement on the record:

MS. GLENN [the prosecutor]: The People agree to dismiss Count II, in exchange for a guilty plea to Count I. We agree to a guidelines sentence. This is a mandatory minimum of twenty-five years. There are no other conditions or agreements in this matter.
THE COURT: Have you computed the guidelines yet?
MS. GLENN: Your Honor, I have them from Pretrial Services preliminarily at 135 months, to 225 months. I did look over them, and they appear to be correct.
THE COURT: There has to be a minimum of twenty-five years?
MS. GLENN: That's correct, Your Honor.

(Tr. 8/4/11, 2-3).

         The judge then asked petitioner if he understood he was being charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, that the charge carried a maximum life sentence, and “[t]here is a mandatory minimum of twenty-five years, along with electronic monitoring, and you'll do that as well.” Petitioner replied, “Yes.” (Id., pp. 4-5). Petitioner affirmed that the prosecutor accurately stated the terms of the plea agreement and that there were no other terms of the agreement that had not been disclosed on the record. (Id., p. 4).

         At sentencing, the following exchange took place:

MR. SIMMONS [defense counsel]: We've reviewed the probation report. It's factually correct, Your Honor. There isn't much discretion available in this matter.
THE COURT: There's an agreement by the People for a guidelines sentence.
MR. SIMMONS: Your Honor, except the guidelines are not applicable in this case.
THE COURT: It's a minimum twenty-five years.
MR. SIMMONS: That's correct, Judge.

(Tr. 8/19/11, p. 2).

         The trial court then sentenced petitioner to 30 to 50 years' imprisonment. (Id., p. 4).

         Petitioner's first appellate counsel, Arthur Landau, filed a motion to withdraw the plea, on the ground that the judge and the prosecutor agreed to a minimum sentence of 25 years, which the judge exceeded when sentencing petitioner to 30 to 50 years in prison. (Tr. 1/13/12, pp. 3-7). The judge ordered an evidentiary hearing on the claim. (Id., pp. 8-11).

         An evidentiary hearing was conducted on February 24, 2012. Petitioner testified that he was told that the minimum sentence was going to be twenty-five years in prison and was never advised that he could receive a minimum sentence that was greater than that. Petitioner recalled the prosecutor stating at the plea hearing that “we agree to a guidelines sentence, this is a mandatory minimum of twenty-five years.” (Tr. 2/24/12, pp. 4-6). Petitioner claimed that his plea was induced by representations that he would receive a twenty-five year minimum sentence. Petitioner testified that if he had been told that the minimum sentence was going to be greater than twenty-five years, he would not have pleaded guilty. (Id., pp. 9-10).

         Appellate counsel argued that petitioner should be permitted to withdraw his plea, because it was induced by a promise that he would receive a twenty-five year minimum sentence. (Id., pp. 27, 29-30). The ...


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