United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR A WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS, AND GRANTING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
E. LEVY United States District Judge.
Tinee Hill (Petitioner) has filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus, through her attorney Gerald M. Lorence,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In her application,
Petitioner challenges her conviction of three counts of armed
robbery, M.C.L.A. § 750.529, and one count each of first
degree home invasion, M.C.L.A. § 750.110a(2), extortion,
M.C.L.A. § 750.213, and unlawful imprisonment, M.C.L.A.
§ 750.349b. For the reasons stated below, the petition
for a writ of habeas corpus is denied.
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).
On the morning of March 7, 2007, Sherry Crofoot and her 13
year-old daughter, Samantha, were at their home on Cleveland
Street in Saginaw. With them was Sherry's grandmother,
Florence Karien. Samantha answered a knock at the door to
find a black woman wearing a brown coat with a fur-trimmed
hood standing on the porch. The woman, who was swaying and
appeared disoriented, asked to use the Crofoots' phone
and for a ride, both of which Sherry refused. When Sherry
attempted to close the door, the woman pushed her way in,
knocking Sherry back into the room. Inside the house, the
woman punched Karien several times in the face, and then
pulled Sherry into the bedroom. Grabbing a knife, the woman
threatened Sherry with it and demanded money. Samantha
brought her Karien's purse, and some money of her own.
Eventually, the woman left the home.
People v. Hill, Case No. 290031, 2010 WL 1873105, at
*1 (Mich. App. May 11, 2010).
conviction was affirmed in part and reversed in part on
appeal. Id. The Michigan Supreme Court reversed and
reinstated Petitioner's conviction. People v.
Hill, 489 Mich. 881 (2011).
seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds.
First, Petitioner argues that the trial court violated the
Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment by admitting
hearsay testimony from a witness whom the prosecutor failed
to produce at trial, and that the Michigan Supreme Court was
in error in finding that admission of the testimony was
harmless error. Second, Petitioner argues that the trial
court violated her Sixth Amendment right to present a defense
by denying her motion to appoint an expert witness on
eyewitness identification. In so doing, the trial court
allegedly abused its discretion. Third, Petitioner argues
that she was denied effective assistance of counsel, in
pre-trial and trial matters, by counsel's erroneous and
outcome-determinative mistakes, which prejudiced her and her
Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial. Finally, Petitioner
argues that she was denied effective assistance of counsel at
the appellate level because counsel failed to raise
significant claims in her appeal as of right to the Michigan
Court of Appeals. (Dkt. 1 at 17.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
2254(d) of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(AEDPA) prohibits a court from granting habeas relief
“with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the
merits in State court proceedings unless the
adjudication” resulted in a decision that (1)
“was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable
application of, clearly established Federal law, as
determined by the Supreme Court, ” or (2) “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).
court decision is contrary to clearly established law
“if the state court applies a rule that contradicts the
governing law set forth in” Supreme Court cases or
“if the state court confronts a set of facts that are
materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the Supreme]
Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from
[its] precedent.” Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S.
63, 73 (2003). An unreasonable application of clearly
established law occurs when a state court's application
of the law is “objectively unreasonable.”
Id. at 75- 76. To meet this standard, a court may
not rely only on “its independent judgment that the
relevant state-court decision applied [the law] erroneously
or incorrectly.” Id.
AEDPA's “highly deferential standard for evaluating
state-court rulings, ” a federal court must presume
“that state courts know and follow the law.”
Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24 (2002).
“Even a strong case for relief does not mean the state
court's contrary conclusion was unreasonable.”
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011).
Rather, “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.”
Id. at 101 (quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado,
541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). Thus, “a habeas court must
determine what arguments or theories supported or . . . could
have supported, the state court's decision; and then it
must ask whether it is possible fairminded jurists could
disagree that those arguments or theories are inconsistent
with the holding in a prior decision” of the Supreme
Court. Id. at 102. Habeas relief is not appropriate
unless each ground that supported the state court's
decision is examined and found to be unreasonable under the
AEDPA. See Wetzel v. Lambert, ___ U.S.___, 132 S.Ct.
1195, 1199 (2012).
Claim One: ...