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Thompson v. Trierweiler

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

November 23, 2016




         Petitioner Lewis Arthur Thompson (“Petitioner”), confined at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan, filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is challenging his conviction for first-degree criminal sexual conduct in violation of Michigan Compiled Laws § 750.520b(1)(f), and being a fourth felony habitual offender in violation of Michigan Compiled Laws § 769.12. For the reasons stated below, the Courts denies the petition with prejudice.

         I. Background

         In December 2012, a jury in the Circuit Court for Kent County, Michigan, found Petitioner guilty of the aforementioned offenses. The Michigan appellate courts affirmed Petitioner's convictions on direct appeal. People v. Thompson, No. 314565, 2014 WL 1916688 (Mich. Ct. App. May 13, 2014), lv. den. 854 N.W.2d 886 (Mich. 2014).

         This Court recites verbatim the relevant facts on which the Michigan Court of Appeals relied when affirming Petitioner's convictions:

On January 2, 2012, the victim encountered defendant outside of Degage Ministries in Grand Rapids. She observed that he was intoxicated. While the victim and defendant had a previous sexual relationship, it ended before this date but they had remained friends.
After helping him get something to eat, the victim accompanied defendant when he broke into an abandoned building. In the building, defendant continued to drink, and the victim joined him. Defendant eventually demanded sexual intercourse, but the victim refused. He then smashed her head against the wall, choked her, and removed her clothes. He also covered her mouth as she screamed. Defendant then penetrated her vagina with his penis and forced his fingers into her anal cavity, which caused her to bleed from her anus.
After the assault, the victim waited until defendant fell asleep and then left the building to call the police. The police entered the abandoned building and found defendant, who was passed out or asleep, in the basement. When the officers roused defendant, he still appeared intoxicated, and the zipper of his pants was undone. There was blood on his hand. While defendant claimed that he had cut himself, the blood was later tested and matched the victim's DNA. The sexual assault nurse who examined the victim testified that she had an abrasion on her hymen, three vaginal tears, and a labia tear. The nurse testified that these injuries were consistent with the victim's story of the assault.
Defendant, however, testified that he had an ongoing relationship with the victim and that on the night in question, he digitally penetrated her vagina with her consent. Defendant presented another witness-- Bernard Harper-- who testified that he spoke with the victim the day after the incident, and that she said she was going to tell the police that the incident did not happen like she had previously reported.

Thompson, 2014 WL 1916688, at *1. These facts 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).

         Petitioner filed the present application for the writ of habeas corpus on December 3, 2016. (ECF No. 1.) Petitioner asserts the following grounds in support of his request for relief:

I. Defendant-Appellant is entitled to a new trial where there was insufficient evidence to find for the conviction of first degree criminal sexual conduct.
II. Defendant was denied the effective assistance of counsel when trial counsel failed to request full discovery in order to pursue the only valid defenses available to Defendant, the issue of consent; and for failing to impeach the state's witness, with her past criminal history and prior false allegations of sexual assault.
III. Defendant's due process right to a fiar [sic] trial was violated when he was denied a fair cross-section of a jury of his peers, defense counsel was ineffective for failing to object.


         II. Standard of Review

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) imposes the following standard of review for habeas cases:

         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 in the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). A decision of a state court is “contrary to” clearly established federal law if 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 decides a case differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). An “unreasonable application” occurs when “a state court decision unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the facts of a prisoner's case.” Id. at 409. A federal habeas court may not “issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly.” Id. at 410-11.

         The Supreme Court explained: “[A] federal court's collateral review of a state-court decision must be consistent with the respect due state courts in our federal system.” Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 340 (2003). The “AEDPA thus imposes a ‘highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings, ' and ‘demands that state-court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt.' ” Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010) (quoting Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333, n. 7 (1997); Woodford v. Viscotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24 (2002) (per curiam)). “[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.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011) (citing Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). The Supreme Court emphasized: “even a strong case for relief does not mean the state court's contrary conclusion was unreasonable.” Id. at 102 (citing Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 75 (2003)).

         Furthermore, pursuant to § 2254(d), “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. In order to obtain habeas relief in federal court, a state prisoner is required to show that the state court's rejection of his claim “was so lacking in ...

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