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Bridges v. Barrett

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

March 17, 2017

ANTONIO VALLIN BRIDGES, Petitioner,
v.
JOSEPH BARRETT, Respondent.

          OPINION

          Janet T. Neff United States District Judge.

         This is a habeas corpus action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is serving a term of 2 ½ to 10 years at the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon County, imposed by the Ingham County Circuit Court on December 1, 2015, after pleading guilty to three counts of false pretenses to obtain $1, 000 or more but less than $20, 000, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.218(4)(a). In his original pro se petition, Petitioner raises the following ground for relief:

         I. The state trial court used inaccurate information and relied on the information to impose sentence.

         (Pet. 7, ECF No. 1, PageID.6.) Respondent has filed an answer to the petition (ECF No. 23) stating that the ground for relief should be denied because it is unexhausted. Upon review and applying the AEDPA standards, the Court will dismiss the petition without prejudice for failure to exhaust available state-court remedies.

         Procedural History

         A. Trial Court Proceedings

         Petitioner was accused of obtaining checks through fraudulent means from several individuals during the period between June 16, 2015, and July 3, 2015. He was charged with three counts of false pretenses - $1, 000.00 or more but less than $20, 000, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.218(4)(a) as well as two counts of using a computer to commit a crime, Mich. Comp. Laws § 752.797(3)(d). He was bound over for trial on the charges on September 11, 2015.

         On December 1, 2015, Petitioner pleaded guilty to the three counts of false pretenses and admitted to being an habitual offender - third offense, Mich. Comp. Laws § 769.11. (Plea Tr. 20-25, ECF No. 21-2, PageID.123-128.) In exchange for the plea, the prosecutor dismissed the charges for using a computer to commit a crime. The parties also agreed that Petitioner's minimum sentence would not exceed thirty months. Petitioner summarized the factual basis for his plea in his brief to the Michigan Court of Appeals:

Defendant pretended that he was the landlord of 5009 Devonshire Avenue. He made up 3 false leases, and leased that property to 4 different tenants. The property was in foreclosure and vacant. He took money orders from these individuals and cashed them. In the case of each fraudulent lease, the amount received by the defendant as the 1st month's rent and security deposit was greater than $1000.

(Def.-Appellant's Br. on Appeal, 1-2 ECF No. 21-4, PageID.165-166) (internal citations omitted.) At the sentencing hearing held on December 15, 2015, the trial court sentenced Petitioner to concurrent sentences of 2 ½ to 10 years with 138 days of credit. (Sentencing Tr. 16-17, ECF No. 21-3, PageID.150-151.)

         On May 12, 2016, Plaintiff filed a pro per motion to withdraw his plea and correct sentence. The trial court stated it was unable to review the motion or grant the requested relief because Petitioner had obtained appellate counsel and his delayed application for leave to appeal was then currently pending. (5/16/16 Cir. Court Order, ECF No. 21-5, PageID.263-264.)

         B. Direct Appeal

         Petitioner filed a delayed application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals. His brief, which was filed by counsel on April 18, 2016, raised the following claim:

IS MR. BRIDGES ENTITLED TO RE-SENTENCING, BECAUSE THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN SCORING OV 19 WITH 10 POINTS, WHICH INCREASED THE GUIDELINES SENTENCE RANGE?

(Def.-Appellant's Br. on Appeal, iii, ECF No. 21-4, PageID.164.) On June 8, 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals denied Petitioner's application for lack of merit in the grounds presented. (See 6/8/16 Mich. Ct. App. Order, ECF No. 21-4, PageID.157.) Thereafter, Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration and a Standard 4 brief, in which he raised the following additional claim:

The Defendant is entitled to withdraw his plea because the Court Cobb's evaluation and plea agreement is based upon inaccurate information that is a violation of Federal and State Due Process clauses.

         (Mot. For Recons. 3, ECF No. 21-4, PageID.227.) Before the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Petitioner's motion for reconsideration, Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. Petitioner raised the same claim raised by his counsel to the court of appeals as well as the issue raised in his motion for reconsideration and Standard 4 brief. (ECF No. 21-5, PageID.251-258.) Next, while both his motion for reconsideration before the court of appeals and application to the state supreme court were pending, Petitioner filed a motion to remand in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals returned the motion to remand as untimely, noting that if his motion for reconsideration was granted he could resubmit the motion to remand. (7/6/16 Mich. Ct. App. Letter, ECF No. 21-4, PageID.237.) On August 5, 2016, however, the court of appeals denied Petitioner's motion for reconsideration. (8/5/16 Mich. Ct. App. Order, ECF No. 21-4, PageID.248.) Thereafter, by order entered October 26, 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application for leave to appeal because it was not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed. (See Mich. Order, ECF No. 21-5, PageID.250.) Petitioner did not seek certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.

         C. ...


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