United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
EDWARD DARDEN, JR. Petitioner,
CARMEN PALMER, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER (1) DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS, (2) DENYING CERTIFICATE OF
APPEALABILITY, AND (3) DENYING PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA
E. Rosen, United States District Judge.
a habeas case filed by Michigan prisoner Edward Darden, Jr.
(“Petitioner”) under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Petitioner challenges his Wayne Circuit Court convictions of
second-degree murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.317,
reckless driving causing death, Mich. Comp. Laws §
257.626(4), reckless driving causing serious impairment,
Mich. Comp. Laws § 257.626(3), failure to remain at the
scene of an accident causing death, Mich. Comp. Laws §
257.617(3), and failure to remain at the scene of an accident
resulting in serious impairment. Mich. Comp. Laws §
257.617(2). Petitioner was sentenced to a string of
concurrent terms of imprisonment, the longest of which is a
term of 25 to 40 years for the second-degree murder
petition raises two claims: (1) insufficient evidence was
presented at trial to sustain his conviction for
second-degree murder, and (2) Petitioner's convictions
for both failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing
death and failure to stop at the scene of an accident
resulting in serious impairment violate his right against
double jeopardy. The Court finds that both of
Petitioner's claim are without merit. Therefore, the
petition will be denied. The Court will also deny Petitioner
a certificate of appealability, and it will deny him
permission to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis.
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):
Defendant's convictions arise from his involvement in a
car accident that killed one person and seriously injured
another. The accident occurred when defendant, the driver of
a Dodge Ram pickup truck traveling at a high rate of speed in
a residential area, while under police surveillance,
disregarded a red traffic signal at an intersection and
collided with a minivan that had entered the intersection on
a green signal. After the collision, defendant and two other
passengers from the pickup truck fled on foot. The driver of
the minivan was killed and a front-seat passenger in the
minivan sustained numerous serious injuries.
People v. Darden, No. 314562, 2014 WL 2619444, at *1
(Mich. Ct. App. Jun. 12, 2014).
his conviction and sentence as indicated above, Petitioner
filed a claim of appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals,
raising the following claims:
I. Defendant's conviction for second degree murder must
be vacated where the prosecution failed to present legally
sufficient evidence on an essential element of the crime,
viz., that defendant Darden acted in wanton and willful
disregard of the likelihood that the natural tendency of his
behavior was to cause death or great bodily harm.
II. Defendant's multiple convictions in count 4 (failure
to stop at accident scene resulting in death) and count 5
(failure to stop at accident scene resulting in serious
impairment or death) violated state and federal double
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's
convictions in an unpublished opinion. Id.
Petitioner subsequently filed an application for leave to
appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, raising the same claims
as he raised in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan
Supreme Court denied the application because it was not
persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed.
People v. Darden, 857 N.W.2d 46 (Mich. 2014)
Standard of Review
U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) curtails a federal court's
review of constitutional claims raised by a state prisoner in
a habeas action if the claims were adjudicated on the merits
by the state courts. Relief is barred under this section
unless the state court adjudication was “contrary
to” or resulted in an “unreasonable application
of” clearly established Supreme Court law. Where, as
here, the Michigan Court of Appeals rejected a
petitioner's appeal “for lack of merit in the
grounds presented, ” and the Michigan Supreme Court
subsequently denied leave to appeal in a standard form order,
the state courts' decision are entitled to deference
under § 2254(d)(1). See Werth v. Bell, 692 F.3d
486, 492-94 (6th Cir. 2012).
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 ...