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Jedd v. Maclaren

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

December 6, 2016

DAVID JEDD, Petitioner,
v.
DUNCAN MACLAREN, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          Gerald E. Rosen United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Petitioner David Jedd's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner challenges his convictions for felonious assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and two counts of assaulting, resisting, or obstructing a police offer on the ground that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. At the time he filed the petition, Petitioner was in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections.[1] Respondent, through the Attorney General's Office, has filed an answer in opposition arguing that a portion of the claim is unexhausted and that the entire claim lacks merit. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) “erects a formidable barrier” to federal habeas corpus relief. Burt v. Titlow, ___ U.S. ___, 134 S.Ct. 10, 16 (2013). Petitioner is unable to overcome this formidable barrier. Habeas relief is denied.

         I. Background

         Petitioner's convictions arise from an altercation that occurred in the village of Holly on January 14, 2012. The Michigan Court of Appeals described the circumstances leading to Petitioner's convictions as follows:

Don Polick was driving home when his car slid off an icy road and into a ditch. Polick decided to walk to his home to obtain assistance from his uncle. Polick and his uncle returned in an attempt to tow Polick's car. Polick's uncle proceeded to drive away from the car in an attempt to obtain a better angle to tow the car, during which time a pickup truck arrived. Defendant was driving the pickup truck with his wife as a passenger. Defendant exited the vehicle and offered to help, but, according to Polick, did so in a rude and expletive-filled manner. Polick, wanting to avoid an altercation, declined. Defendant took offense and indicated his intent to fight Polick. Polick informed defendant that he was prepared to defend himself and that he was an amateur cage fighter. Defendant responded by returning to his truck and grabbing a gun, which he, using a laser scope, pointed directly at Polick's forehead. Defendant then lowered the gun, returned to his vehicle, and left. Polick, having noted defendant's license plate number, called the police. When two police officers arrived at defendant's residence, defendant attempted to draw his gun and was tackled to the ground.
At trial, defendant claimed that his actions in relation to Polick were acts of self-defense. Defendant testified that Polick was a large cage fighter, initiated the aggressive and violent behavior, threatened to kill defendant, approached him in a cage fighter's stance, and was set to attack before defendant retrieved his gun. The trial court instructed the jury on self-defense, but, as previously indicated, the jury convicted defendant.

People v. Jedd, No. 311867, 2013 WL 6670844, *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 17, 2013).

         Following a jury trial in Oakland County Circuit Court, Petitioner was convicted and sentenced as follows: 1 to 4 years' imprisonment for the felonious assault conviction, 2 years' imprisonment for the felony-firearm conviction, and 1 to 2 years' imprisonment for each resisting and obstructing a police officer conviction.

         Petitioner filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of Appeals raising a claim that his trial counsel was ineffective. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions. Id. Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, raising the same claim. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v. Jedd, 495 Mich. 1007 (Mich. May 24, 2014).

         Petitioner, through counsel, then filed the pending habeas corpus petition. He raises this claim:

Petitioner was denied the effective assistance of counsel guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions where trial counsel failed to request a self-defense jury instruction that conformed to the Self Defense Act of 2006 (Mich. Comp. Laws § 780.971, et seq.), failed to educate the jury regarding the Self Defense Act and failed to educate the jury regarding “cage fighting” to substantiate Petitioner's honest and reasonable belief of imminent unlawful use of force by another individual.

         II. Standard

         Review of this case is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). Under the AEDPA, a state prisoner is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus only if he can show that the state court's adjudication of his claims -

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the ...

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