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Baker v. Stewart

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

May 30, 2017

CORRINE BAKER, Petitioner,
v.
ANTHONY STEWART, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER HOLDING IN ABEYANCE THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING THE CASE

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Corrine Baker, ("Petitioner"), confined at the Huron Valley Women's Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, through her counsel David S.

         Steingold, in which she challenges her conviction for second-degree murder, M.C.L.A. § 750.317; and second-degree child abuse, M.C.L.A. § 750.136(b)(3). Respondent has filed an answer to the petition for writ of habeas corpus. As part of the answer, respondent argues that the petition is subject to dismissal because it contains claims which have not been exhausted with the state courts. For the reasons stated below, in lieu of dismissing the petition without prejudice, the Court holds the petition in abeyance and stays the proceedings under the terms outlined in this opinion to permit petitioner to return to the state courts to exhaust her additional claims. If this fails, the petition will be dismissed without prejudice.

         I. Background

         Petitioner pleaded guilty to the above charges in the Saginaw County Circuit Court. On February 27, 2012, petitioner was sentenced to thirteen to thirty years in prison on the second-degree murder charge and two to four years in prison on the child abuse conviction.

         Petitioner's initial appellate counsel filed a motion to withdraw petitioner's guilty plea. The motion was signed and dated August 24, 2012, and filed with the Court on August 27, 2012.[1] Petitioner moved to withdraw her plea on the ground that trial counsel was ineffective. An evidentiary hearing was conducted on petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claims, after which the trial court denied the motion to withdraw the plea. People v. Baker, No. 10-27347-FC (Saginaw Cty Cir. Ct., June 25, 2013).[2]

         Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal. People v. Baker, No. 317395 (Mich.Ct.App. Sept. 4, 2013)(Ronayne Krause, J., would grant leave to appeal); lv. den. 496 Mich. 853 (2014).

         Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, seeking habeas relief on the following claims:

I. Ms. Baker's plea was not knowingly, understandably and voluntarily made and was in violation of due process where counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel.
A. Mr. Meiers used fear and coercion rending Ms. Baker's plea involuntary.
B. Mr. Meiers gave Ms. Baker misadvice/inaccurate information.
C. Mr. Meiers failed to properly advise Ms. Baker of her rights.
D. Mr. Meiers did not investigate or prevent (sic) [present] a defense.

         II. ...


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