United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
L. Maloney United States District Judge
a habeas corpus proceeding brought by a state prisoner
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is challenging
his Eaton County Circuit Court convictions on three counts of
first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC I), Mich. Comp.
Laws § 750.520b(1)(b) (victim more than 13 but less than
16 years of age, and actor is a teacher of the school in
which the victim is enrolled), and three counts of
third-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC III), Mich. Comp.
Laws § 750.520d(1)(e) (victim at least 16 but less than
18 years of age, and actor is a teacher of the school in
which the victim is enrolled). The Michigan Court of Appeals
summarized the facts giving rise to petitioner's
convictions as follows:
Defendant's convictions stem from his relationship with
E.P., who had been a student in his high school world history
class. In the fall of 2002, E.P., a high school freshman, was
struggling academically, and defendant began tutoring her in
world history. E.P. and defendant became friendly. On January
20, 2003, defendant picked E.P. up from her parents'
house and took her to his home in Eaton County. There, E.P.
and defendant engaged in fellatio, cunnilingus, and vaginal
intercourse. At the time, E.P. was 14 years old.
After the incident, E.P. continued to talk to defendant
regularly, and the two often engaged in kissing and touching
in defendant's classroom. E.P. again went to
defendant's house on June 11, 2004, where they engaged in
fellatio and vaginal intercourse. E.P. went to
defendant's house for the last time on September 17,
2004, after a high school football game. There, defendant
gave E.P. alcohol and the two engaged in fellatio and vaginal
intercourse. E.P. was 16 years old at the time of both the
last two sexual encounters.
E.P. did not tell anyone of her involvement with defendant
until several years later, when she told both a former
teacher and a coworker. The coworker eventually accompanied
E.P. to visit an attorney, and E.P. chose to pursue an
out-of-court settlement rather than going to the police.
Eventually, E.P. reached a $70, 000 settlement agreement with
defendant, and received an initial payment of $10, 000.
Eventually, the teacher E.P. had confided in informed school
administrators about the relationship, and E.P. was
interviewed about it in the ensuing criminal investigation.
(Op. at 1-2, ECF No. 18-17, PageID.1672-73; see also
People v. Polston, No. 303302, 2012 WL 3046237, at *1
(Mich. Ct. App. July 26, 2012)).
January 13, 2011, the jury found petitioner guilty of
committing the aforementioned crimes. On February 24, 2011,
Judge Calvin Osterhaven sentenced petitioner to fifteen to
thirty years' imprisonment on his CSC I convictions and
57 to 180 months' imprisonment on his CSC III
convictions. After unsuccessful attempts to overturn his
convictions in Michigan's courts, petitioner filed his
federal habeas corpus petition.
seeks federal habeas corpus relief on the following grounds:
I. Newly discovered evidence demonstrates that petitioner
could not have committed the alleged offenses. The trial
court did not grant him an evidentiary hearing on this
II. Petitioner was denied his right to a fair trial because
the judge denied his motion for additional time to prepare a
defense. The events [that he] was charged with occurred 7 to
8 years prior to trial, and crucial facts that would prove
[his] innocence were not discovered until after sentencing.
III. Petitioner was denied his right to a fair trial because
the court should not have admitted evidence of other pending
IV. Petitioner was denied a fair trial by the dismissal of a
(Amended Petition at 4-6, ECF No. 7, PageID.31-33).
December 29, 2014, respondent filed her answer to
petitioner's amended petition. She argues that all
grounds in the petition lack merit. Grounds I, III, and IV
were rejected by the Michigan Court of Appeals and petitioner
has not carried his burden under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
Ground II is unexhausted and meritless. (Respondent's
Answer, ECF No. 17, PageID.49-104).
review of the state-court record, the Court finds petitioner
has not established grounds for federal habeas corpus relief.
The petition will be denied.
petitioner filed his habeas application long after the April
1996 enactment of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (AEDPA), the
provisions of that law govern the scope of the Court's
review. See Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792
(2001). AEDPA has “drastically changed” the
nature of habeas review. Bailey v. Mitchell, 271
F.3d 652, 655 (6th Cir. 2001). AEDPA “dictates a highly
deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings which
demands the state court decisions be given the benefit of the
doubt.” Bell v. Cone, 543 U.S. 447, 455 (2005)
(citations omitted); see Hardy v. Cross, 132 S.Ct.
490, 491 (2011) (per curiam); Felkner v.
Jackson, 562 U.S. 594, 597 (2011) (per curiam);
Renrico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010).
“AEDPA requires heightened respect for state court
factual and legal determinations.” Lundgren v.
Mitchell, 440 F.3d 754, 762 (6th Cir. 2006). Section
2254(e)(1) states: “[A] determination of a factual
issue made by a State court shall be presumed to be correct.
The applicant shall have the burden of rebutting the
presumption of correctness by clear and convincing
evidence.” “State-court factual findings  are
presumed correct; the petitioner has the burden of rebutting
the presumption by clear and convincing evidence.”
Davis v. Ayala, 135 S.Ct. 2187, 2199-2200 (2015)
(citations and internal quotations omitted).
state court adjudicated the claim, deferential AEDPA
standards must be applied. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see
Premo v. Moore, 562 U.S. 115, 121 (2011); Waddington
v. Sarausad, 555 U.S. 179, 190 (2009); Holder v.
Palmer, 588 F.3d 328, 341 (6th Cir. 2009) ((“[A]ny
claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court
proceedings' is subject to AEDPA deference.”)
(quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)). AEDPA prevents federal
habeas “retrials” and ensures that state court
convictions are given effect to the extent possible under
law. Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 693-94 (2002). It
prohibits “using federal habeas corpus review as a
vehicle to second-guess the reasonable decisions of state
courts.” Parker v. Matthews, 132 S.Ct. 2148,
2149 (2012) (per curiam).
AEDPA standard is difficult to meet “because it was
meant to be.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S.
86, 102 (2011); see Burt v. Titlow, 134 S.Ct. 10, 16
(2013); Metrish v. Lancaster, 133 S.Ct. 1781,
1786-87 (2013); Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170,
181 (2011). “Section 2254(d) reflects the that habeas
corpus is a guard against extreme malfunctions in the state
criminal justice systems, not a substitute for ordinary error
corrections through appeal.” Harrington, 562
U.S. at 102-03 (citation and internal quotation omitted);
see Woods v. Donald, 135 S.Ct. 1372, 1376 (2015).
Section 2254(d) states that an application for a writ of
habeas corpus on behalf of a person who is incarcerated
pursuant to a state conviction cannot be granted with respect
to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state
court unless the adjudication “(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 upon an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. §
2254(d); see White v. Wheeler, 136 S.Ct. 456, 460
(2015); White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. 1697, 1702
(2014); Davis v. Ayala, 135 S.Ct. at 2198.
only definitive source of clearly established federal law for
purposes of § 2254(d)(1) is the holdings-not dicta-of
Supreme Court decisions. White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct.
at 1702; see Woods v. Donald, 135 S.Ct. at 1377
(“Because none of our cases confront ‘the
specific question presented by this case, ' the state
court's decision could not be ‘contrary to' any
holding from this Court.”). “[W]here the precise
contours of a right remain unclear, state courts enjoy broad
discretion in their adjudication of a prisoner's
claims.” Id. (quotations and internal
unreasonable application of the Supreme Court's holding
must be “‘objectively unreasonable, ' not
merely wrong; even ‘clear error' will not
suffice.” White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. at 1702
(quoting Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 75-76
(2003)). Rather, “[a]s a condition for obtaining habeas
corpus from a federal court, a state prisoner must show that
the state court's ruling on the claim being presented in
federal court was so lacking in justification that there was
an error well understood and comprehended in existing law
beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.”
White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. at 1702 (quoting
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. at 103).
“[C]ircuit precedent does not constitute ‘clearly
established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court,
' ” and “[i]t therefore cannot form the basis
for habeas relief under AEDPA.” Hill v.
Curtin, 792 F.3d 670, 677 (6th Cir. 2015) (quoting
Parker v. Matthews, 132 S.Ct. at 2155); see
Glebe v. Frost, 135 S.Ct. 429, 431 (2014) (per
curiam) (“As we have repeatedly emphasized, 
circuit precedent does not constitute ‘clearly
established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme
state-court factual determination is not unreasonable merely
because the federal habeas court would have reached a
different conclusion in the first instance.” Wood
v. Allen, 558 U.S. 290, 301 (2010). Section 2254 (d)(2)
requires that this Court accord the state trial court
substantial deference. If reasonable minds reviewing the
record might disagree about the finding in question, on
habeas review that does not suffice to supersede the trial
court's determination. Brumfield v. Cain, 135
S.Ct. 2269, 2277 (2015); Burt v. Titlow, 134 S.Ct.
District Court Proceedings
7, 2010, petitioner received a preliminary examination in the
56A District Court for Eaton County. (ECF No. 18-2,
PageID.117-241). He was represented by Attorney Lawrence
Emery. Judge Julie Reincke heard testimony from a number of
witnesses, including E. P., the victim (Id. at 9-95,
PageID.125-211), a representative of the Michigan High School
Athletic Association (Id. at 5-8, PageID.121-24),
school officials (Id. at 95-109, PageID. 211-25),
and a detective (Id. at 110-15, PageID.226-31).
Judge Reincke bound petitioner over for trial on all charges:
three counts of CSC I and three counts of CSC III.
(Id. at 122-23, PageID.238-39).
Circuit Court Proceedings