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English v. Berghuis

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

November 23, 2016

WARREN EDWARD ENGLISH, III, Petitioner,
v.
MARY BERGHUIS, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Janet T. Neff United States District Judge

         This is a habeas corpus petition filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, concerning Petitioner's claim that he was denied a fair and impartial jury at trial. The matter was referred to the Magistrate Judge, who issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R, Dkt 24) recommending that this Court deny the petition. The matter is presently before the Court on Petitioner's objections to the Report and Recommendation (Objs., Dkt 25). In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and FED. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3), the Court has performed de novo consideration of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections have been made. The Court denies the objections and issues this Opinion and Order. The Court will also issue a Judgment in this § 2254 proceeding. See Gillis v. United States, 729 F.3d 641, 643 (6th Cir. 2013) (requiring a separate judgment in habeas proceedings).

         Petitioner raises numerous objections to the Report and Recommendation, which can be generally divided into two categories for purposes of analysis: dispositive and non-dispositive.

         Non-Dispositive Objections

         The Court first addresses the following non-dispositive objections made by Petitioner:

• The Magistrate Judge failed to address the question posed by the Sixth Circuit: whether review should be de novo or deferential (Objs., Dkt 25 at PageID. 1897); and
• The Magistrate Judge incompletely and inaccurately described the proceedings prior to the voir dire of Juror A and omitted or misrepresented pertinent facts concerning Juror A's testimony at the evidentiary hearing on Petitioner's Motion for a New Trial as well as during the voir dire process(id. at PageID. 1898, 1901-1902, 1903).

         These objections, even if granted, do not affect the outcome of the case.

         First, as the Magistrate Judge explained, "it does not matter whether Petitioner's claim is assessed pursuant to the deferential AEDPA standard or a de novo standard because under either standard, Petitioner's claim is without merit" (R&R, Dkt 24 at PageID. 1886). The Magistrate Judge considered Petitioner's claims underboth standards; thus, Petitioner's objection is inconsequential.

         Second, any allegation that the Magistrate Judge's factual statements are "inaccurate" (Objs., Dkt 25 at PageID. 1898) is without merit. If anything, the Report and Recommendation's factual assertions are appropriately condensed to highlight relevant portions that affect the disposition of the case. There is no indication that the Magistrate Judge failed to consider the full record. Contrary to Petitioner's argument, this Court's use of a "more-detailed statement of facts" would not affect the consideration of the merits of the claims (id. at PageID.1900), as discussed below. Petitioner demonstrates no factual or legal error in the Magistrate Judge's analysis or conclusion with these objections.

         Dispositive Objections

         The Court now addresses the following dispositive objections, which, if granted, would affect the outcome of the case:

• The Magistrate Judge wrongfully concluded that Petitioner did not show Juror A had been untruthful and deliberately withheld information about her prior sexual assault (Objs., Dkt 25atPageID.1902);
• The Magistrate Judge erred in finding Petitioner showed no inferred bias from Juror A's deliberate withholding of information (id. at ...

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