United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING
PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
E. Rosen United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Willie Scott's
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Petitioner challenges his convictions for
kidnapping, three counts of first-degree criminal sexual
conduct, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less
than murder on the grounds that his jury waiver was invalid,
he was denied the effective assistance of trial and appellate
counsel, insufficient evidence sustained his conviction, and
the prosecutor committed misconduct. Respondent, through the
Attorney General's Office, has filed an answer in
opposition arguing that certain of the claims are
procedurally defaulted and that all of the claims lack merit.
Petitioner fails to show entitlement to habeas relief and the
petition is denied.
convictions arise from the assault of Joann B. on December
22, 2009, in Detroit, Michigan. Joann B. testified that she
made money by moving things for people. On December 22, 2009,
she received a call from a woman she knew in the neighborhood
who asked her to move a stove and refrigerator. Joann went to
the woman's home, which she described as appearing
vacant, and Petitioner opened the door. Petitioner held a gun
to her head and pulled her into the home. He asked her for
money. When she did not give him money, he began beating her
in the head with bricks. Another man then entered the room
carrying a shovel and asked for money. Petitioner told the
man to beat Joann until she came up with the money. The
second man beat Joann on the legs and arms with a shovel
until one of her legs broke. He also beat her with nunchucks.
Petitioner beat her with a cane. Joann testified that it felt
as if the beatings continued for hours.
woman who had called her to the home then arrived. Petitioner
ordered her to search Joann for the money. The woman, whose
name Joann could not remember, placed her hand inside
Joann's vagina and rectum to see if she had hidden money
there. Petitioner and the woman also placed sticks inside
Joann's vagina and rectum. Joann testified that
Petitioner and the other man ejaculated on her.
another man arrived and asked what was going on. Joann
testified that she was lying in puddles of blood. Petitioner
told the man that they were going to kill Joann. The man, who
was later identified to be Carl Scott, said he was instead
going to take her to the hospital. As Carl Scott was carrying
Joann out of the home, Petitioner threatened that if she told
anyone what happened he would kill her and her family. Carl
Scott drove Joann to a church, from which an ambulance took
her to the hospital. Joann suffered two broken legs,
concussions, fractured ribs, and what she characterized as
“female problems.” Tr., 2/4/11 at 29.
testified in his defense. He admitted that he lived in the
home where Joann was attacked but claimed that he had been
staying down the street with a friend at the time of the
attack because his home was too cold. He denied being in the
home on the day of the attack.
a bench trial in Wayne County Circuit Court, Petitioner was
convicted of kidnapping, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.349,
three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 750.520b, and assault with intent to do
great bodily harm less than murder, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.84. On March 18, 2011, he was sentenced as a fourth
habitual offender to 22-1/2 to 35 years' imprisonment for
filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of Appeals
raising these claims: (i) invalid jury waiver; (ii)
ineffective assistance of counsel; and (iii) findings of fact
were clearly erroneous. The Michigan Court of Appeals
remanded the matter for an evidentiary hearing on
Petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
12/13/11 Order, ECF No. 7-14, Pg. ID 756. Following a
hearing, the trial court found that counsel was not
ineffective. See ECF No. 7-10.
filed a supplemental brief in the Michigan Court of Appeals
challenging the trial court's finding that counsel was
not ineffective. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed
Petitioner's convictions. People v. Scott, No.
303671, 2012 WL 4800314 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 9, 2012).
Petitioner then filed an application for leave to appeal in
the Michigan Supreme Court, raising the same claims raised in
the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court
denied leave to appeal. People v. Scott, 493 Mich.
953 (Mich. Apr. 1, 2013).
returned to the trial court to file a motion for relief from
judgment. He raised these claims: (i) prosecutor failed to
properly investigate the case; (ii) actual innocence; (iii)
trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction; and (iv)
prosecutor maliciously obstructed justice by failing to call
the doctor who examined the victim and counsel was
ineffective for failing to call the doctor to testify. The
trial court denied the motion. See 6/10/14 Opinion,
ECF No. 7-13. The Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan
Supreme Court both denied Petitioner leave to appeal the
trial court's decision. People v. Scott, No.
323880 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 30, 2015), ECF No. 7-16;
People v. Scott, 498 Mich. 919 (Mich. Nov. 24,
then filed the pending habeas corpus petition. He raises
I. Petitioner's jury waiver was invalid since he was not
arraigned on the information and the court failed to
establish that it was voluntarily and intelligently made in
violation of due process of law and his right to a trial by
jury, U.S. Const. VI, XIV; 1963 Const. art. 1, sec 17, 20.
II. Petitioner Willie Scott was denied his constitutional
right to effective assistance of counsel at trial.
III. There was insufficient evidence to sustain the trial
judge's findings of fact which were clearly erroneous and
the guilty verdict for the kidnapping, criminal sexual
conduct and assault with intent to do great bodily harm
charges must be set aside consistent with the Due Process
IV. The prosecution failed to perform his duty to properly
investigate the allegations brought forth against the
petitioner, where if certain essential, critical information
had been investigated, the petitioner's innocence would
have been shown, preventing the prosecutor from convicting
the petitioner based on the complainant's false
V. Petitioner was denied the effective assistance of
appellate counsel which establishes “cause” to
excuse any procedural default for failure to raise his habeas
issues on direct appeal.
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 Supreme Court of the United States;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented