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Harris v. Rivard

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

November 30, 2016

STEVEN RIVARD, Respondent.



         Luther Cleveland Harris, (“petitioner”), confined at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan, seeks the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his pro se application, petitioner challenges his conviction for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (felony-firearm), M.C.L.A. 750.227b, and felon in possession of a firearm, M.C.L.A. 750.224f. For the reasons stated below, the petition for a writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.

         I. Background

         Petitioner was convicted following a jury trial in the Third Circuit Court of Michigan-Criminal Division for the County of Wayne. This 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):

Officers Gray and his partner, Charon Johnson, responded to a run involving a person described as wearing an orange shirt and brown pants, pointing a black handgun with a brown handle at two young girls. After the officers saw defendant, who matched the description, across the street sitting on a porch, they removed defendant from the porch and patted him down on the front lawn of the house. The officers also detained and patted down Michael Glenn, who had emerged from inside the house after defendant was detained. Neither man had a weapon on his person. Officer Gray then went up onto the porch of the house, and could clearly see through the open front door. He saw a black handgun with a wooden handle sitting on a table in the front room, two shotguns leaning against a chair, and three spent shotgun shells all within five feet of the front door.

People v. Harris, No. 308191, 2013 WL 951248, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 21, 2013).

         Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal. People v. Harris, 2013 WL 951248; lv. den. 832 N.W.2d 220 (Mich. 2013).

         Petitioner filed a post-conviction motion for relief from judgment pursuant to M.C.R. 6.500, et. seq., which the trial court denied. People v. Harris, No. 10-006497-01-FH, (Third Circuit Court-Criminal Division, March 18, 2014). Petitioner did not appeal the court's decision.

         In his petition, petitioner seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds: (1) the search of the house and seizure of the firearms were violations of the Defendant's rights under the United States and Michigan Constitutions, (2) the giving of the Miranda rights was not effective, the waiver was not given knowingly and intelligently and the statement should have been suppressed under the United States and Michigan Constitutions, and (3) the use of a conviction of a felon in possession of a firearm as a predicate to felony firearm is a violation of a defendant's rights against double jeopardy under the United States and Michigan Constitutions.

         II. Standard of Review

         28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by 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.

         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. “[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)). Therefore, 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 justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Harrington, 562 U.S. at 103. A habeas petitioner should be denied relief as long as it is within the “realm of possibility” that fairminded jurists could find the state court decision to be reasonable. See Woods v. Etherton, 136 S.Ct. 1149, 1152 (2016).

         III. ...

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