United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
NICOLE V. MORRIS, Petitioner,
ANTHONY STEWART, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING PETITIONER A CERTIFICATE OF
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Nicole Morris,
(“Petitioner”), proceeding pro se, was convicted
by a jury of armed robbery, M.C.L. 750.529, and assault with
a dangerous weapon. M.C.L. § 750.82. She was sentenced
as a third-time habitual felony offender to concurrent terms
of 10-to-18 years for the robbery conviction and 1-to-4 years
for the assault conviction.
petition raises two claims: (1) the trial court erred in
denying Petitioner's request for substitute counsel after
there was a break-down in the attorney-client relationship,
and (2) Petitioner was denied the effective assistance of
counsel where her attorney failed to present the testimony of
a defense witness and failed to investigate Petitioner's
criminal history. For the reasons that follow, the petition
will be denied for lack of merit.
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 April 2013, defendant stole a bottle of wine from a party
store in Detroit. When the store owner confronted her about
her theft, and asked her to return the wine, defendant pulled
out a box cutter and cut the owner's finger. The owner
went to the hospital and received stitches for the cut.
People v. Morris, No. 318678, 2015 WL 2144867, at *1
(Mich. Ct. App. May 7, 2015).
her conviction, Petitioner moved for a new trial or
resentencing on the grounds she was sentenced based on
inaccurate information and had ineffective assistance of
counsel. The trial court corrected the sentencing error as to
her habitual status and held an evidentiary hearing under
People v. Ginther, 390 Mich. 436 (1973) on trial
counsel's alleged ineffectiveness, after which it denied
appealed, presenting the same claims raised on habeas review.
The Michigan Court of Appeals rejected the claims on the
merits. Id. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave
to appeal in a standard order. People v. Morris, 489
Mich. 921 (2015) (unpublished table decision).
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) imposes the following standard of
review for habeas cases:
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 Supreme Court of the United States;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented