United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
HONORABLE SEAN F. COX JUDGE
Jerry Poyntz seeks habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Petitioner is a state prisoner in the custody of
the Michigan Department of Corrections pursuant to a
conviction for armed robbery. He raises seven claims for
habeas relief. Respondent argues that the claims are
procedurally defaulted and/or meritless. The Court denies the
convictions arise from the robbery of David Skinner in
Detroit on May 18, 2011. Skinner testified that he placed an
advertisement on Craigslist offering a diamond ring for sale.
On May 17, 2011, he received a telephone call from someone
expressing interest in purchasing the ring. The caller ID
indicated that the caller's name was John West. Skinner
arranged to meet this individual at a home on Clements Street
in Detroit the following day. Skinner testified that he went
to a side door of the home as directed and was attacked by
two men with guns. One of the men grabbed Skinner's
briefcase and pistol- whipped him, the other hit him in the
head with bottle. The men took Skinner's briefcase and
wallet and fled. Police were called. Although he was bleeding
from cuts to his head, Skinner declined to be transported to
the hospital because he lacked health insurance. Skinner
later viewed a photo lineup and identified Petitioner as one
of the assailants.
Kokenos testified as a Rule 404(b) witness. He testified
that, on May 4, 2011, he received several phone calls
regarding an advertisement for cell phones he had placed on
Craigslist. The phone calls came from the same number as that
used to call Skinner. Kokenos arranged to meet the potential
buyer at a grocery store. When he approached the front
entrance of the store, two men approached him and asked to
see the phones. One of the men took a phone and fled without
paying for it. Kokenos chased the man, but was unable to
catch him. Kokenos reported the theft to the police, and
provided them with the caller ID information from his
telephone. Kokenos later viewed a photographic lineup and
identified Petitioner as the individual who ran away with his
a bench trial in Wayne County Circuit court, Petitioner was
convicted of armed robbery. On December 15, 2011, he was
sentenced to fifteen to thirty years' imprisonment.
Petitioner filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of
Appeals, raising these claims through counsel: (i)
insufficient evidence supported conviction; and (ii) offense
variables 8 and 10 were incorrectly scored. He raised these
additional claims in a pro per supplemental brief:
(iii) ineffective assistance of counsel; and (iv)
impermissibly suggestive pretrial identification procedure.
The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's
conviction. People v. Poyntz, No. 308166, 2013 WL
1165136 (Mich. Ct. App. March 21, 2013).
filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan
Supreme Court, raising the same claims raised in the Michigan
Court of Appeals and a claim that appellate counsel was
ineffective for failing to raise the claims raised in
Petitioner's pro per supplemental brief. The
Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v.
Poyntz, 835 N.W.2d 587 (Mich. 2013).
then filed a motion for relief from judgment in the trial
court. He raised claims concerning the sufficiency of the
evidence, counsel's performance, the pretrial
identification procedures, police misconduct, and actual
innocence. The trial court denied the motion. People v.
Poyntz, No. 11-006867-01-FC (Wayne County Cir. Ct. March
10, 2014) (ECF No. 10-8). The Michigan Court of Appeals and
Michigan Supreme Court each denied Petitioner leave to appeal
the trial court's decision. People v. Poyntz,
No. 321142 (Mich. Ct. App. June 16, 2014) (ECF No. 10-11);
People v. Poyntz, 860 N.W.2d 627 (Mich. 2015).
then filed the pending habeas petition. He raises these
I. Petitioner's conviction should be reversed because the
evidence presented in the bench trial failed to prove his
guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
II. The trial court made scoring errors in OV 8 and 10.
Because correction of either of these offense variables would
change the sentence guideline range, Petitioner must be
III. Petitioner was denied his constitutional right to
effective assistance of counsel when counsel was appointed
just prior to the preliminary examination, when counsel
failed to challenge an improper and tainted identification,
investigate the charge/case, failed to call and/or interview
alibi witnesses and was absent at a critical stage of the
IV. Petitioner was denied his constitutional right to a fair
and impartial trial by the admission of an unduly suggestive
and improper identification and counsel's failure to
object is unreasonable.
V. Petitioner contends that appellate counsel was ineffective
for failing to raise the issue of ineffective assistance of
VI. Petitioner argues that there was police/prosecutorial
misconduct because Detective Brown withheld the fact that he
spoke with alibi witness Racquel Hamilton during the
interrogation and she informed him that Petitioner was with
him on the day and time of the incident.
VII. Petitioner argues that he is in fact innocent.
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 ...