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Poyntz v. Campbell

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

May 9, 2017

JERRY POYNTZ, Petitioner,
v.
SHERMAN CAMPBELL, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          HONORABLE SEAN F. COX JUDGE

         Petitioner 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 petition.

         I. Background

         Petitioner's 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.

         David 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 phone.

         Following 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).

         Petitioner 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).

         Petitioner 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).

         Petitioner then filed the pending habeas petition. He raises these claims:[1]

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 resentenced.
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 preliminary examination.
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 trial counsel.
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.

         II. Standard

         Review 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; or
(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).

         A 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 ...


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