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 brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Michigan prisoner Karl Hatton (“Petitioner”)
pleaded no contest to manslaughter, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.321, and possession of a firearm during the commission of
a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b, in the Ogemaw
County Circuit Court and was sentenced, as a second habitual
offender, Mich. Comp. Laws § 769.10, to consecutive
terms of eight to 22 ½ years imprisonment and two
years imprisonment in 2014. In his petition, he raises claims
concerning the validity of his sentence and the effectiveness
of trial counsel. For the reasons stated herein, the Court
denies the habeas petition. The Court also denies a
certificate of appealability and denies leave to proceed in
forma pauperis on appeal.
Facts and Procedural History
convictions arise from the shooting death of an unarmed man
who came to his residence to collect a minor drug debt. He
was originally charged with second-degree murder, attempted
murder, or manslaughter, felon in possession of a firearm,
and felony firearm. He pleaded no contest to manslaughter and
felony firearm in exchange for dismissal of the other
charges. There was no sentencing agreement.
sentencing, the trial court determined that the sentencing
guidelines were correctly scored with a minimum sentencing
range of 43 to 107 months imprisonment. There was no
objection by defense counsel. The trial court then sentenced
Petitioner, as a second habitual offender, to eight to 22
½ years imprisonment on the manslaughter conviction
and a consecutive term of two years imprisonment on the
felony firearm conviction.
sentencing, Petitioner filed a delayed application for leave
to appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals raising the same
claims presented on habeas review. The court denied the
application for lack of merit in the grounds presented.
People v. Hatton, No. 325329 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb.
18, 2015) (unpublished). Petitioner then filed an application
for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, which
was denied in a standard order. People v. Hatton,
498 Mich. 868, 866 N.W.2d 441 (2015).
thereafter filed his federal habeas petition. He raises the
I. The trial court unlawfully deprived him of his due
process, equal protection, and other protected rights under
the United States and Michigan Constitutions when it scored
25 points on OV 6; on plain error and/or ineffective
assistance of counsel grounds this Court should review this
II. The trial court violated the United States and Michigan
Constitutions in sentencing him to a prison term of eight to
22 ½ years on a habitual offender 2d supplement
arising out of the manslaughter conviction; on plain error
and/or ineffective assistance of counsel grounds this Court
should review this issue.
has filed an answer to the petition contending that it should
be denied because the claims are not cognizable and/or lack
of merit. Petitioner has not filed a reply.
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 proceedings unless
the adjudication of the claim -
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal
law, as determined by the ...