United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
RAYMOND E. HOBBS, Petitioner,
CARMEN D. PALMER, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING
PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a habeas case filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Raymond E.
Hobbs, (“Petitioner”), was convicted in the Wayne
Circuit Court after a jury trial of assault with intent to
commit murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.83, felon in
possession of a firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.224f,
and possession of a firearm during the commission of a
firearm. Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b. Petitioner was
sentenced to 23 to 40 years imprisonment for the assault
conviction, 6 to 10 years for the felon in possession
conviction, and a consecutive 2 years for the firearm
conviction. The petition raises two claims: (1) there was
constitutionally insufficient evidence presented at trial to
prove that Petitioner did not act in self-defense, and (2)
Petitioner's sentence for the assault conviction violates
the Eighth Amendment. The Court finds that Petitioner's
claims are without merit. Therefore, the petition will be
denied. The Court will also deny Petitioner a certificate of
appealability and deny permission to appeal in forma
Court recites verbatim the relevant facts relied upon by the
Michigan Court of Appeals, which are presumed correct on
habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). See
Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009):
In this case, the jury heard testimony that defendant
intentionally bumped Holt as he was leaving Holt's house,
and then turned around and punched Holt in the jaw. Witnesses
testified that Holt did not want to fight and did not
retaliate after being punched by defendant. Holt did pull a
pocketknife out of his pocket, but testified that he never
opened it or threatened defendant with it. The jury received
testimony that Holt was inside his home and defendant was
outside the home on the front porch, with a closed door
separating the two of them, when Holt pulled out the knife.
Defendant admitted that he was angry, wanted to fight, and
did not leave the premises. Holt testified that he was
holding the door shut from inside the home, trying to prevent
defendant from re-entering the house, when defendant obtained
a weapon and fired it in his direction. Holt testified that
he opened the door and tried to grab the weapon, which led to
a struggle during which both men fell off the porch.
According to Holt, defendant fired two more shots, and after
Holt complained that he had been shot, defendant fired an
additional two shots. Holt was struck by three bullets. Holt
repudiated defendant's self defense argument that he
charged defendant with an open knife. Holt's pocketknife
was later found on the ground outside, in the closed
People v. Hobbs, No. 318014, 2014 WL 6602724, at
*2-3 (Mich. Ct. App. Nov. 20, 2014).
his conviction and sentence, Petitioner filed a claim of
appeal. His brief on appeal filed in the Michigan Court of
Appeals raised two claims:
I. Verdict of guilty based upon insufficient evidence
constituted a denial of due process.
II. Sentence imposed violated constitutional guarantees
against cruel and/or unusual punishment.
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's
conviction in an unpublished opinion. Hobbs, 2014 WL
6602724. Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal
in the Michigan Supreme Court that raised the same two
claims. The Michigan Supreme Court denied the application
because it was not persuaded that the questions presented
should be reviewed by the Court. People v. Hobbs,
865 N.W.2d 14 (Mich. 2015) (Table).
Standard of Review
U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) curtails a federal court's
review of constitutional claims raised by a state prisoner in
a habeas action if the claims were adjudicated on the merits
by the state courts. Relief is barred under this section
unless the state court adjudication was “contrary
to” or resulted in an “unreasonable application
of” clearly established Supreme Court law.
state court's decision is ‘contrary to' . . .
clearly established law if it ‘applies a rule that
contradicts the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court
cases]' or if it ‘confronts a set of facts that are
materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the Supreme]
Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from
[this] precedent.'” Mitchell v. Esparza,
540 U.S. 12, 15-16 (2003) (per curiam), quoting Williams
v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000).
‘unreasonable application' prong of the statute
permits a federal habeas court to ‘grant the writ if
the state court identifies the correct governing legal
principle from [the Supreme] Court but unreasonably applies
that principle to the facts' of petitioner's