United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
L. Maloney United States District Judge
a habeas corpus proceeding brought pro se by a state
prisoner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is
currently serving a sentence of 95 to 180 months'
imprisonment after he entered his guilty plea in Ottawa
County Circuit Court to the charge of arson of real property,
in violation of Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.73.
unsuccessful attempts to overturn his sentence in
Michigan's courts, petitioner filed this habeas corpus
petition. Petitioner seeks federal habeas relief on the
[PETITIONER'S] CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AS
GUARANTEED UNDER THE SIXTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS WERE
VIOLATED BY TRIAL COUNSEL'S INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE IN
FAILING TO ADVISE [PETITIONER] OF THE TRIAL COURT'S
INTENTION TO SUBSTANTIALLY DEPART FROM THE SENTENCING
GUIDELINES AND IN FAILING TO OBJECT TO THE LEGAL ERRORS IN
CALCULATING [PETITIONER'S] SENTENCING GUIDELINES.
II. [PETITIONER'S] CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AS GUARANTEED
UNDER THE SIXTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS WERE VIOLATED BY
APPELLATE COUNSEL'S INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE IN FAILING TO
ARGUE MERITORIOUS CONSTITUTIONAL APPELLATE ISSUES.
III. [PETITIONER] WAS DENIED HIS DUE PROCESS RIGHTS AS
GUARANTEED UNDER THE FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE
UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION WHERE THE TRIAL COURT EXCEEDED THE
STATUTORILY MANDATED SENTENCING GUIDELINES WITHOUT
SUBSTANTIAL AND COMPELLING REASONS JUSTIFYING THE DEPARTURE.
Petition, 4-7, ECF No. 4, PageID.101-04).
review of the state-court record, the Court finds that the
petition fails to establish grounds for federal habeas corpus
relief. The petition will be denied.
Court's review of this petition is governed by the
provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (AEDPA). See
Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792 (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).
“AEDPA requires heightened respect for state court
factual and legal determinations.” Lundgren v.
Mitchell, 440 F.3d 754, 762 (6th Cir. 2006).
“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). “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.” Id. 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); Davis
v. Ayala, 135 S.Ct. at 2198; White v. Woodall,
134 S.Ct. 1697, 1702 (2014).
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 ...