United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS AND DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Andre Lamont Jackson's
petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Petitioner was convicted of first-degree
premeditated murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.316,
conspiracy to commit murder, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.157a, assault with intent to commit murder, Mich. Comp.
Laws § 750.83, and possession of a firearm during the
commission of a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b,
following a joint jury trial with co-defendants Quonshay
Douglas-Ricardo Mason and Kainte Hickey in the Wayne County
Circuit Court. Petitioner, through counsel, raises nine
claims for habeas corpus relief. Respondent, through the
Attorney General's Office, has filed an answer in
opposition arguing that six of Petitioner's claims are
procedurally defaulted and that all of the claims lack merit.
The Court finds no basis for habeas corpus relief and denies
convictions arise from a shooting in the City of Detroit on
September 2, 2007. The Michigan Court of Appeals described
the circumstances leading to Petitioner's convictions as
Defendant's convictions arose from the fatal shooting of
Bennie Peterson and the nonfatal shooting of Donteau Dennis
on the east side of Detroit during the early morning hours of
September 28, 2007. According to the prosecution's
evidence, codefendant Quonshay Douglas-Ricardo Mason
persuaded Peterson and Dennis to leave Peterson's house
under the pretext that they were going to rob a drug addict
who was carrying a large amount of cash to purchase drugs.
Mason drove Peterson and Dennis, in Peterson's minivan,
to a house on Malcolm Street and told Dennis to purchase
drugs in the house to use as bait in the robbery. Defendant
and codefendant Kainte Hickey had followed Mason in
defendant's Jeep. After Dennis left Peterson's
minivan to purchase the drugs, Mason and defendant parked
their vehicles so that the minivan was blocked in and could
not be driven away. Mason then got out of the minivan and
defendant got out of his Jeep, and the two of them went to
the side of the minivan and began firing guns at Peterson,
who was still inside. At the same time, Hickey emerged from
defendant's Jeep and fired several shots at Dennis as he
crossed the street. Peterson was killed.
Officer Frank Senter arrived and found Dennis lying wounded
in a backyard. Dennis remarked that he did not believe that
he would survive and told Officer Senter that Hickey had shot
him over a drug debt. Although Officer Senter did not recall
hearing Dennis say anything about Peterson, defendant, or
Mason, he stated that Dennis made additional statements that
Officer Senter could not understand because of Dennis's
condition. Later, while Dennis was hospitalized, he gave a
statement implicating defendant and Mason in the shooting
attack on Peterson. At trial, Dennis again identified
defendant and Mason as the persons who shot at Peterson
inside the minivan.
People v. Jackson, 292 Mich.App. 583, 586-87 (Mich.
Ct. App. 2011).
a jury trial in Wayne County Circuit Court, Petitioner was
convicted and sentenced as follows: life in prison for the
first-degree murder and conspiracy convictions and 225 months
to 40 years' imprisonment for the assault conviction,
with those sentences to be served concurrently but
consecutively to a two-year term of imprisonment for the
filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of Appeals
raising claims of insufficient evidence, prosecutorial
misconduct, trial court error in handling of juror confusion,
Confrontation Clause violation, trial court bias, ineffective
assistance of counsel for failing to provide discovery
materials and failing to challenge medicated witness's
statements as unreliable. The Michigan Court of Appeals
affirmed Petitioner's convictions. Id.
Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the
Michigan Supreme Court, raising the same claims. The Michigan
Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v.
Jackson, 490 Mich. 882 (Mich. Oct. 5, 2011).
returned to state court to file a motion for relief from
judgment, raising several jury instruction-related claims and
a claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to object to
the instructions. The trial court denied the motion. 4/25/13
Order, ECF No. 5-8. Petitioner filed an application for leave
to appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan
Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal. People v.
Jackson, No. 318197 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 23, 2013), ECF
No. 5-11. The Michigan Supreme Court also denied leave to
appeal. People v. Jackson, 496 Mich. 858 (Mich.
through counsel, then filed the pending habeas corpus
petition. He raises these claims:
I. Petitioner's due process rights were violated when he
was convicted pursuant to insufficient evidence to support
the convictions of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit
murder, and assault with intent to commit murder.
II. The prosecutor violated petitioner's due process
rights by failing to disclose a transcript of a prosecution
witness' testimony given during an investigative
III. The trial court violated Petitioner's due process
rights by failing to ensure that the jury members had not
been exposed to extraneous influences that led to the
dismissal of one of the jurors.
IV. The trial court violated petitioner's due process
rights by failing to exclude statements from an officer
concerning his interview of one of the victims at the
hospital with the assistance of a nurse who was not called as
a witness at trial.
V. The trial court violated petitioner's due process
rights by demonstrating judicial bias against the petitioner
during the trial.
VI. Petitioner was denied his constitutional right to
effective assistance of counsel at trial.
VII. The trial court violated petitioner's due process
rights in its instruction to the jury, when it failed to
instruct the jury as to the intent required and the
assistance necessary for aiding and abetting, thereby denying
him the due process right to a properly instructed jury.
VIII. Petitioner was denied due process when the prosecutor
argued that petitioner acted as a principal while advancing
an alternative aiding and abetting theory, thereby making it
impossible to determine which theory of guilt the jury
unanimously agreed upon.
IX. The trial judge violated petitioner's due process
right to a properly instructed jury with its instructions to
the jury regarding first degree murder.
of this case is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective
Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). Under the
AEDPA, a state prisoner is entitled to a writ of habeas
corpus only if he can show that the state court's
adjudication of his claims -
(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
in the State court proceeding.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
decision of a state court is “contrary to”
clearly established federal law if the state court arrives at
a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on
a question of law or if the state court decides a case
differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially
indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529
U.S. 362, 405 (2000). An “unreasonable
application” occurs when “a state court decision
unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the
facts of a prisoner's case.” Id. at 408.
“[A] federal habeas court may not issue the writ simply
because that court concludes in its independent judgment that
the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established
federal law erroneously or incorrectly.” Id.
Supreme Court has explained that “[a] federal
court's collateral review of a state-court decision must
be consistent with the respect due state courts in our
federal system.” Miller-El v. Cockrell, 537
U.S. 322, 340 (2003). The “AEDPA thus imposes a
‘highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court
rulings, ' and ‘demands that state-court decisions
be given the benefit of the doubt.'” Renico v.
Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010) (quoting Lindh v.
Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333 n. 7 (1997); Woodford v.
Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24 (2002) (per curiam)).
“[A] state court's determination that a claim lacks
merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as
‘fairminded jurists could disagree' on the
correctness of the state court's decision.”
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011). The
Supreme Court has emphasized “that even a strong case
for relief does not mean the state court's contrary
conclusion was unreasonable.” Id. at 102.
Furthermore, pursuant to § 2254(d), “a habeas
court must determine what arguments or theories supported or
... could have supported, the state court's decision; and
then it must ask whether it is possible fairminded jurists
could disagree that those arguments or theories are
inconsistent with the holding in a prior decision of th[e
Supreme] Court.” Id.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by the AEDPA, does not
completely bar federal courts from relitigating claims that
have previously been rejected in the state courts, it
preserves the authority for a federal court to grant habeas
relief only “in cases where there is no possibility
fairminded jurists could disagree that the state court's
decision conflicts with” Supreme Court precedent.
Id. Indeed, “Section 2254(d) reflects the view
that habeas corpus is a ‘guard against extreme
malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, ' not
a substitute for ordinary error correction through
appeal.” Id. (quoting Jackson v.
Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 332 n. 5 (1979)) (Stevens, J.,
concurring)). Therefore, in order to obtain habeas relief in
federal court, a state prisoner is required to show that the
state court's rejection of his claim “was so
lacking in justification that there was an error well
understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any
possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Id.
at 103, 131 S.Ct. at 786-87.
a state court's factual determinations are entitled to a
presumption of correctness on federal habeas review. See 28
U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). A petitioner may rebut this
presumption with clear and convincing evidence. See
Warren v. Smith, 161 F.3d 358, 360-61 (6th Cir. 1998).
Moreover, habeas review is “limited to the record that
was before the state court.” Cullen v.
Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 181 (2011).
argues that several of Petitioner's claims are
procedurally defaulted. “[F]ederal courts are not
required to address a procedural-default issue before
deciding against the petitioner on the merits.”
Hudson v. Jones, 351 F.3d 212, 215 (6th Cir. 2003),
citing Lambrix v. Singletary, 520 U.S. 518, 525
(1997). “Judicial economy might counsel giving the
[other] question priority, for example, if it were easily
resolvable against the habeas petitioner, whereas the
procedural-bar issue involved complicated issues of state
law.” Lambrix, ...