United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Janet T. Neff, Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
S. CARMODY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Jones' petition for writ of
habeas corpus. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)
authorizing United States Magistrate Judges to submit
proposed findings of fact and recommendations for disposition
of prisoner petitions, the undersigned recommends that
Jones' petition be denied.
result of events occurring on April 8, 2010, Petitioner was
charged with: (1) homicide, open murder; (2) first degree
home invasion; and (3) carrying a concealed weapon. (ECF No.
24-6 at PageID.272-73). Following a jury trial, Petitioner
was convicted of: (1) first degree felony murder; (2) first
degree home invasion; and (3) carrying a concealed weapon.
(ECF No. 24-11 at PageID.456). Petitioner was sentenced to
serve life in prison without possibility of parole on the
felony murder conviction and lesser concurrent terms of
imprisonment on the other convictions. (ECF No. 24-12 at
PageID.478). Petitioner appealed his conviction to the
Michigan Court of Appeals asserting the following claim:
I. The trial judge reversibly erred in sustaining a
prosecution objection to testimony from Megan Collins'
mother as to Ms. Collins' behavior and demeanor when she
was not taking her medication for depression, as that inquiry
was relevant to the defense theory that Ms. Collins'
actions on the night of the offense provoked Mr. Jones and
mitigated the homicide offense to voluntary manslaughter.
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's
conviction and sentence. People v. Jones, 2012 WL
6913823 (Mich. Ct. App., Nov. 20, 2012). Asserting the above
issue, as well as several new issues, Petitioner
unsuccessfully moved in the Michigan Supreme Court for leave
to appeal. People v. Jones, Case No. 146416, Order
(Mich., Apr. 1, 2013). On June 23, 2014, Petitioner initiated
the present action, asserting the claim identified above as
well as several additional claims. (ECF No. 1). Petitioner
subsequently amended his petition. (ECF No. 11).
October 1, 2014, the Honorable Janet T. Neff issued an
Opinion finding that, with the exception of the claim
identified above, Petitioner had failed to properly exhaust
the claims in his petition for habeas relief. (ECF No. 14).
The Court further determined, however, that Petitioner was
entitled to a stay of this matter so that he could return to
state court to pursue his unexhausted claims. (ECF No. 14).
On January 20, 2015, however, Petitioner informed the Court
that he had “voluntarily abandoned” his
unexhausted claims and desired that the Court “proceed
forward” to review his exhausted claim. (ECF No. 19).
The Court granted Petitioner's request. (ECF No. 20).
Thus, the only claim presented in this matter is the claim
petition is subject to the provisions of the Antiterrorism
and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), as it amended 28
U.S.C. § 2254. The AEDPA amended the substantive
standards for granting habeas relief under the following
(d) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the adjudication of the claim -
(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).
AEDPA has “modified” the role of the federal
courts in habeas proceedings to “prevent federal habeas
‘retrials' and to ensure that state-court
convictions are given effect to the extent possible under
law.” Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 693 (2002).
to § 2254(d)(1), a decision is “contrary to”
clearly established federal law when “the state court
arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the
Supreme] Court on a question of law” or “if the
state court confronts facts that are materially
indistinguishable from a relevant Supreme Court precedent and
arrives at an opposite result.” Ayers v.
Hudson, 623 F.3d 301, 307 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405 (2000)).
to Williams, the Sixth Circuit interpreted the
“unreasonable application” clause of §
2254(d)(1) as precluding habeas relief unless the state
court's decision was “so clearly incorrect that it
would not be debatable among reasonable jurists.”
Gordon v. Kelly, 2000 WL 145144 at *4 (6th Cir.,
February 1, 2000); see also, Blanton v.
Elo, 186 F.3d 712, 714-15 (6th Cir. 1999). The
Williams Court rejected this standard, indicating
that it improperly transformed the “unreasonable
application” examination into a subjective inquiry
turning on whether “at least one of the Nation's
jurists has applied the relevant federal law in the same
manner” as did the state court. Williams, 529
U.S. at 409.
articulating the proper standard, the Court held that a writ
may not issue simply because the reviewing court
“concludes in its independent judgment that the
relevant state-court decision applied clearly established
federal law erroneously or incorrectly.”
Williams, 529 U.S. at 411. Rather, the Court must
also find the state court's application thereof to be
objectively unreasonable. Bell, 535 U.S. at
694; Williams, 529 U.S. at 409-12. Accordingly, a
state court unreasonably applies clearly established federal
law if it “identifies the correct governing legal
principle from the Supreme Court's decisions but
unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the
prisoner's case” or if it “either
unreasonably extends or unreasonably refuses to extend a
legal principle from the Supreme Court precedent to a new
context.” Ayers, 623 F.3d at 307. Furthermore,
review under § 2254(d)(1) “is limited to the
record that was before the state court that adjudicated the
claim on the merits.” Cullen v. Pinholster,
563 U.S. 170, 181 (2011).
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2), when reviewing whether the
decision of the state court was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence
presented, the “factual determination by [the] state
courts are presumed correct absent clear and convincing
evidence to the contrary.” Ayers, 623 F.3d at
308. Accordingly, a decision “adjudicated on the merits
in a state court and based on a factual determination will
not be overturned on factual grounds unless objectively
unreasonable in light of the evidence presented in the
state-court proceeding.” While this standard is
“demanding” it is “not insatiable.”
writ to issue pursuant to § 2254(d)(1), the Court must
find a violation of clearly established federal law “as
set forth by the Supreme Court at the time the state court
rendered its decision.” Stewart v. Irwin, 503
F.3d 488, 493 (6th Cir. 2007). This definition of
“clearly established federal law” includes
“only the holdings of the Supreme Court, rather than
its dicta.” Bailey v. Mitchell, 271 F.3d 652,
655 (6th Cir. 2001). Nevertheless, “the decisions of