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Blount v. Winn

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

May 25, 2017

MARK ANTHONY BLOUNT, Petitioner,
v.
THOMAS WINN, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING PETITIONER'S APPLICATION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          BERNARD A. FRIEDMAN SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner in this matter has filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. He challenges his convictions for involuntary manslaughter, operating a motor vehicle without a license causing death, and being a fourth felony habitual offender. For the reasons stated below, the Court shall dismiss the petition without prejudice.

         I. Background

         Petitioner was charged with second-degree murder, operating a motor vehicle without a license causing death, and being a fourth felony habitual offender. He pled no contest to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter, operating a motor vehicle without a license causing death, and being a fourth habitual offender, in exchange for dismissal of the second-degree murder charge. Petitioner was sentenced to life in prison as a fourth habitual offender on the involuntary manslaughter conviction and ten to fifteen years on the operating a motor vehicle without a license causing death conviction.

         Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals, raising the following claims:

I. Defendant's state and federal constitutional rights were violated when he was coerced into his plea because his attorney was not acting in his best interests and his attorney was ineffective.
II. Defendant's life sentence is disproportionate and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, U.S. Const. VIII, Const. 1963, Art. § 16.
III. Mr. Blount is entitled to re-sentencing where the sentencing guidelines were misscored in violation of the state and federal right to sentencing based on accurate information and trial defense counsel was ineffective for not challenging the scoring.

         On September 24, 2014, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued a summary order remanding petitioner's case for re-sentencing. See People v. Blount, No. 322348 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 24, 2014). Petitioner did not seek leave to appeal from the Michigan Court of Appeals' order.[1] Petitioner was re-sentenced on November 14, 2014. Petitioner then filed an application for leave to appeal his new sentence, raising a single issue:

Defendant must be resentenced again because the trial court failed to state objective and verifiable reasons in support of the guidelines departure and the extent of the departure, which was a life sentence for which parole will likely never be granted, in violation of U.S. Const. Am. V, XIV; Const. 1963, Art. § 17.

         Petitioner was denied leave to appeal by the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court. See People v. Blount, No. 327388 (Mich. Ct. App. June 23, 2015); lv. den. 499 Mich. 857 (2016).

         Petitioner now seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds:

I. Defendant's state and federal constitutional rights were violated when he was coerced into his plea because his attorney was not acting in his best interests and his attorney was ineffective.
II. Defendant's life sentence is disproportionate and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, U.S. Const. VIII, ...

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