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Youngblood v. Burt

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

March 8, 2017

WILLIE YOUNGBLOOD, Petitioner,
v.
SHERRY BURT, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          AVERN COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         This is a habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner Willie Youngblood, (Petitioner), is a state prisoner. Petitioner, proceeding pro se, challenges his convictions for felon in possession of a firearm, M.C.L. § 750.224f; first-degree home invasion, M.C.L. § 750.110a(2); conspiracy to commit first-degree home invasion, M.C.L. §§ 750.110a2; 750.157; assault with intent to commit murder, M.C.L. § 750.83; conspiracy to commit assault with intent to commit murder, M.C.L. §§ 750.83, 750.157; carrying a concealed weapon with unlawful intent, M.C.L. § 750.226; and three counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, M.C.L. § 750.227b. As will be explained, Petitioner and a co-defendant, who was tried separately, entered an apartment occupied by several individuals, including children, and fired shots looking to kill a woman that had a relationship with the co-defendant. Respondent, through the Attorney General's Office, filed a response, essentially arguing that the claims lack merit. For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.

         II. Background

         A. Procedural History

         Petitioner was convicted by a jury of the above listed offenses. He was later sentenced to concurrent terms of 30 to 50 years for the assault with intent to murder and conspiracy to commit assault with intent to murder convictions, 10 to 20 years for the home invasion and conspiracy to commit home invasion convictions, 5 to 10 years for the weapons convictions, consecutive to 2 years for the felony firearm convictions.

         Petitioner filed an appeal of right to the Michigan Court of Appeals, raising the claims presented in the petition. The court of appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions but remanded the case to correct the judgment of sentence as to his firearm convictions. People v. Youngblood, No. 315703, 2014 WL 2795874 (Mich. Ct. App. June 19, 2014). The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v. Youngblood, 497 Mich. 971 (2015).

         Petitioner seeks habeas relief corpus on the following grounds:

I. There was insufficient evidence of intent to kill for the assault with intent to murder convictions.
II. There was insufficient evidence of an agreement between Youngblood and Lister to support the conspiracy convictions.
III. Conviction for both conspiracy to commit an offense and that offense itself violates double jeopardy.
IV. Youngblood was denied his right to present a defense when the court excluded evidence of a letter written by Lister stating that Youngblood was not present at the time of the shooting.
V. Youngblood's two year sentence for felony firearm should not have been consecutive to the conspiracy charges nor to the home invasion charge.

         B. Facts

         The material facts leading to Petitioner's conviction as gleaned from the record are as follows.

         Ashley Williams testified that at the time of the incident she lived with her two children, her mother Karen Williams, her sister Catherine Williams, and her cousin, Chanquiece Moten, in an apartment. She also testified that she had a sexual relationship with Derrick Lister (also known as “Notorious”), Petitioner's co-defendant. She further testified that Lister and Petitioner were friends, that she met Petitioner through Lister and also knew him from the neighborhood. She also testified Petitioner and Lister would often visit their cousins, who lived a few houses down from Ashley Williams.

         Ashley Williams further testified that the day before Thanksgiving, Ashley Williams and Lister got into a verbal argument at his cousin's house. The next day, Thanksgiving, she was at home around 9:00 pm when she heard a knock at the door. She asked who was there and received a reply “Notorious.” She looked out the peephole and confirmed it was Lister. She was not going to open the door until prompted to do so by her sister. When she opened the door, she saw Lister standing outside the door with a 9-millimeter pistol in his hand. Lister stated, “I'm here to kill you.” Lister pointed the gun at her head and fired, but missed. She kicked the door at him and ran. She ran through the house and out her back patio, hearing at least three more shots, as glass was falling around her.

         While Ashley Williams was attempting to escape from Lister, Chanquiece Moten looked out of the back window and saw Petitioner standing at the window. Moten testified that Petitioner had a gun in his hand and was shooting into the apartment while entering it. She also testified that Petitioner was shooting towards Ashley Williams when she was attempting to escape.

         Ashley Williams' mother, Karen Williams, testified that Petitioner pointed his gun at her after he pointed and shot at both ...


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