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O'Brien v. Gidley

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

November 15, 2016

GARY O'BRIEN, Petitioner,
v.
LORI GIDLEY, Respondent.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ELLEN S. CARMODY United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on O'Brien's 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 O'Brien's petition be denied.

         BACKGROUND

         As a result of events which occurred between January 1, 2010, and September 9, 2011, Petitioner was charged with First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct for sexually assaulting a six year-old girl. (ECF No. 7-3 at PageID.99-107). Petitioner was 24 or 25 years of age during the relevant time period. (ECF No. 7-3 at PageID.107). If convicted of this offense, Petitioner faced “imprisonment for life or any term of years, but not less than 25 years.” Petitioner had also previously been convicted of: (1) criminal sexual conduct involving a 13 year-old girl and (2) twice failing to comply with the requirements of the sex offender registration statute. (ECF No. 7-7 at PageID.132-33). Petitioner subsequently entered into a plea agreement pursuant to which he agreed to plead guilty to First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in return for an agreement that the court would impose a minimum sentence of no more than the 25 years mandated by statute. (ECF No. 7-3 at PageID.99-103). Petitioner was sentenced to serve 25-60 years in prison. (ECF No. 7-4 at PageID.113).

         Petitioner's subsequent motion to withdraw his plea was denied by the trial court. (ECF No. 7-7 at PageID.132-33). Petitioner then moved in the Michigan Court of Appeals for leave to appeal, asserting the following claim:

I. The Defendant's plea was not entered voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently, as required under the state and federal constitutions, where the Cobbs sentencing evaluation was illusory and/or because of his intellectual deficits. This court should at least reverse, remand for IQ testing and a competency exam, and direct the trial court to then reconsider the motion for plea withdrawal.

         The Michigan Court of Appeals denied Petitioner leave to appeal “for lack of merit in the grounds presented.” (ECF No. 7-8 at PageID.134). The Michigan Supreme Court rejected Petitioner's application for leave to appeal this determination, stating that “we are not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court.” (ECF No. 7-9 at PageID.171). Petitioner thereafter initiated the present action asserting the following claim:

I. The Defendant's plea was not entered voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently, as required under the federal constitution, where the Cobbs sentencing evaluation was illusory and/or because of his intellectual deficits.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         O'Brien's 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 provisions:

(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, or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented ...

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