United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER (1) DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS, (2) DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND
(3) DENYING PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
F. Cox U.S. District Judge
a habeas case filed by a Michigan prisoner under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Petitioner Antonio Mathis was convicted after a
jury trial in the Macomb Circuit Court of assault with intent
to commit murder, Mich. Comp. Laws. § 750.83, conspiracy
to commit first-degree murder, Mich. Comp. Laws. §
750.316; Mich. Comp. Laws. § 750.157a, possession of a
firearm during the commission of a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws.
§ 750.227b, unlawful imprisonment, Mich. Comp. Laws.
§ 750.349b, and conspiracy to commit unlawful
imprisonment, Mich. Comp. Laws. § 750.349b; Mich. Comp.
Laws. § 750.157a.
was sentenced as a fourth-time habitual felony offender to a
controlling term of 50 to 75 years for the assault with
intent to commit murder conviction, life imprisonment for the
conspiracy to commit murder conviction, a two-year
consecutive term for the firearm conviction, and lesser
concurrent terms for his other convictions.
petition raises a single claim: Petitioner was denied his due
process right to a fair trial when the trial court denied
Petitioner motion to separate his trial from his
co-defendant, Jamal Rogers. The Court finds that
Petitioner's claim is without merit. Therefore, the
petition will be denied. The Court will also deny a
certificate of appealability and deny permission to proceed
on appeal in forma pauperis.
Court recites verbatim the relevant facts relied upon by the
Michigan Court of Appeals, which are presumed correct on
habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).
See Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir.
[Co-defendant Jamal] Rogers and Latonya Bowman
(“Bowman”), the victim, met in high school. In
2011, Bowman became pregnant with Rogers's child. Rogers
expressed a desire for Bowman to terminate the pregnancy, but
she did not do so. On May 25, 2012, when Bowman was nine
months' pregnant, the two went to a drive-in movie
together. After the movie, Bowman drove them back to
Rogers's home. The two arrived at Rogers's home at
approximately 1:30 a.m. the morning of May 26, 2012. When
they arrived, Rogers told Bowman to pull her vehicle into the
garage. Rogers manually opened the garage door, and after
Bowman pulled in, closed it behind her vehicle. Bowman got
out of the car, and felt an assailant, wearing gloves, grab
the back of her neck and put a gun to her head. Bowman looked
at Rogers, who said “Oh, shit, ” and did nothing
else. The assailant restrained Bowman with duct tape and
placed her in the rear seat of the vehicle. Duct tape was
placed over Bowman's glasses, preventing her from seeing
The assailant drove Bowman to an unknown location. The
assailant doused Bowman in lighter fluid and lit her on fire.
Bowman managed to move the upper half of her body out of the
car and tried to roll to put the flames out. While she did
so, she heard two gunshots. She played dead, not knowing if
she had been struck. She heard the footsteps of her assailant
running away from the scene, and once she could no longer
hear the footsteps, she managed to fully exit the vehicle and
put out most of the flames. She was able to remove the tape
binding her hands and, after removing the rest of her
restraints and some clothing that would not stop burning, got
back in the car. The keys were still in the ignition, so she
started the car and drove away. After finding her bearings,
she was able to drive to her mother's home, and her
mother took her to the hospital.
Police arrested Rogers later that morning. Mathis was later
identified as the alleged assailant. Both defendants were
charged. Before trial, defendants requested separate trials
or juries, and the trial court denied their requests. Rogers
also moved to suppress a statement he made to police, which
the trial court also denied.
People v. Mathis, No. 317519, 2014 WL 6778962, at
*1-2 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 2, 2014).
his conviction and sentence, Petitioner filed a claim of
appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals. His appellate brief
raised a single claim:
I. Is Defendant-Appellant entitled to a new trial where the
trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion for a
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's
convictions in an unpublished opinion. Id.
Petitioner subsequently filed an application for leave to
appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, which raised the same
claim as he raised in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The
Michigan Supreme Court denied the application because it was
not persuaded that the ...