United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND
DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL
J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge.
a habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Michigan prisoner
Gary Lamont Guster (“Petitioner”) was convicted
of first-degree home invasion, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.110a(2)(b), following a jury trial in the Washtenaw
County Circuit Court and was sentenced as a fourth habitual
offender, Mich. Comp. Laws § 769.12, to 8 years 4 months
to 25 years imprisonment in 2012. In his petition, he raises
claims concerning the admission of other acts evidence and
the sufficiency of the evidence. For the reasons set forth,
the Court denies the petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
The Court also denies a certificate of appealability and
denies leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal.
Facts and Procedural History
conviction stems from his improper entry into an occupied
dorm room, and theft from a student, at the University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan on January 6, 2012. At trial,
the prosecution presented testimony from two students who
lived in the dorm room and were present during the incident,
testimony from police investigators (which referenced a
security videotape showing Petitioner entering the dorm), and
testimony that Petitioner had committed a similar crime on
campus in the past.
Michigan Court of Appeals described the underlying facts,
which are presumed correct on habeas review, see 28
U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d
410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009), as follows:
Defendant entered the East Quad dormitory at the University
of Michigan and entered Room 301, which was marked with three
names. One roommate was present, asleep in her bed. Another
roommate was walking back to the room, but she stopped in the
hallway and saw defendant in the room. Defendant stared at
the sleeping roommate; moments later, defendant looked inside
all three roommates' closets. Defendant then noticed the
roommate who was standing in the hallway. She asked defendant
what he was doing in the room, and defendant said that he was
looking for a bathroom. She told him that the bathroom was
downstairs and defendant ran away. A day later, the sleeping
roommate noticed that a wallet was missing from her desk.
At trial, the prosecution introduced evidence that defendant
had entered a fraternity house at the University of Michigan,
where he stole a money clip from a student's room. When
the student saw defendant leaving the house, defendant
informed the student that he was looking for a bathroom.
People v. Guster, No. 314734, 2014 WL 3704951, *1
(Mich. Ct. App. July 24, 2014) (unpublished).
did not testify at trial. His defense was that he was merely
looking for a bathroom, that he mistakenly entered the dorm
room, and that he did not steal or intend to steal anything
from the room. At the close of trial, the jury convicted
Petitioner of first-degree home invasion. The trial court
subsequently sentenced him to 8 years 4 months to 25 years
filed an appeal of right with the Michigan Court of Appeals
raising the same claims presented on habeas review. The court
denied relief on those claims and affirmed his convictions.
People v. Guster, No. 314734, 2014 WL 3704951, *1-2
(Mich. Ct. App. July 24, 2014) (unpublished). Petitioner then
filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan
Supreme Court, which was denied in a standard order.
People v. Guster, 497 Mich. 955, 858 N.W.2d 450
dated his federal habeas petition on August 4, 2015. As
noted, he raises claims concerning the admission of other
acts evidence and the sufficiency of the evidence. Respondent
has filed an answer to the petition contending that it should
be denied. Petitioner has filed a reply to that answer.
Standard of Review
law imposes the following standard of review for habeas
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 ...