United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS,
DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO
APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
HONORABLE STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III JUDGE
Kirk Henden is incarcerated at the Ionia Maximum Correctional
Facility in Ionia, Michigan and filed the instant petition
for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254. A jury in the Wayne Circuit Court convicted Henden of
first-degree criminal sexual conduct, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.520b, and kidnapping, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.349. He
was sentenced to concurrent terms of 15 to 30 years
imprisonment. The petition raises two claims: (1) the trial
court lacked jurisdiction to try Petitioner because the
criminal statutes do not contain an enacting clause, and (2)
the trial court lacked jurisdiction to try Petitioner because
the criminal statutes do not contain a title. For the reasons
stated below, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is
summarily denied. The Court will also deny Petitioner a
certificate of appealability and permission to appeal in
courts are authorized to summarily dismiss any habeas
petition that appears legally insufficient on its face.
McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994); Rules
Governing § 2254 Cases, Rule 4, 28 U.S.C. foll. §
2254. After undertaking the review required by Rule 4, the
Court concludes that Petitioner's habeas claims are
meritless, and the petition is subject to summary dismissal.
argues that the Wayne County Circuit Court lacked subject
matter jurisdiction over his case because the
criminal-sexual-conduct and kidnaping statutes lacked an
enacting clause and title, as required by Article IV,
§§ 23 and 24 of the Michigan Constitution. The
argument is meritless.
determination of whether a state court is vested with
jurisdiction under state law over a criminal case is a
function of the state courts, not the federal courts.
Wills v. Egeler, 532 F.2d 1058, 1059 (6th Cir.
1976). "[A] state court's interpretation of state
jurisdictional issues conclusively establishes jurisdiction
for purposes of federal habeas review." Strunk v.
Martin, 27 F.App'x 473, 475 (6th Cir. 2001).
Petitioner's claim that the trial court lacked
jurisdiction to try his case raises an issue of state law
only, because it questions the interpretation of Michigan
law. It is therefore not cognizable in federal habeas review.
See Toler v. McGinnis, 23 F.App'x 259, 266 (6th
related allegation that the Michigan Legislature violated
Article IV of the Michigan Constitution in enacting the
criminal statute underlying his convictions also fails to
present a cognizable question on federal habeas review. A
habeas petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief based upon
an alleged violation of the Michigan Constitution. See
Hudson v. Berghuis, 174 F.App'x 948, 952, n.1 (6th
Cir. 2006); see also Doyle v. Scutt, 347 F.Supp.2d
474, 485 (E.D. Mich. 2004). As one court noted: "the
United States Constitution does not require that codification
of statutes include enacting clauses and titles of the
legislation." United States v. Ramanauskas, No.
CRIM.04-04 PAM/RLE, 2005 WL 189708, at *2 (D. Minn. Jan. 21,
Court will summarily deny the petition for a writ of habeas
corpus and will also deny a certificate of appealability. To
obtain a certificate of appealability, a prisoner must make a
substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.
28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). To demonstrate this denial, the
applicant is required to show that reasonable jurists could
agree, or at least debate, whether the petition should have
been resolved in a different manner, or that the issues
presented were adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed
further. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 483-84
(2000). When a district court rejects a habeas
petitioner's constitutional claims on the merits, the
petitioner must demonstrate that reasonable jurists would
find the district court's assessment of the
constitutional claims to be debatable or wrong. Id.
at 484. Rule 11 of the Rules Governing Section 2254
Proceedings requires that the Court "must issue or deny
a certificate of appealability when it enters a final order
adverse to the applicant." The Court will deny
petitioner a certificate of appealability because reasonable
jurists would not find this Court's assessment of
petitioner's claims to be debatable or wrong. Johnson
v. Smith, 219 F.Supp.2d 871, 885 (E.D. Mich. 2002). The
Court will also deny petitioner leave to appeal in forma
pauperis, because the appeal would be frivolous. Allen v.
Stovall, 156 F.Supp.2d 791, 798 (E.D. Mich. 2001).
it is hereby ORDERED that the petition for a writ of habeas
corpus is SUMMARILY DENIED WITH PREJUDICE.
FURTHER ORDERED that a certificate of appealability is
FURTHER ORDERED that leave to appeal in forma ...