United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS, DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING
PERMISSION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge
Deandre Mullins, a prisoner in the custody of the Michigan
Department of Corrections seeks habeas relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. ECF 1, 8. He challenges his convictions for two
counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count
of first-degree home invasion. Mullins claims that the
prosecutor committed misconduct, his trial counsel was
ineffective, and that the trial court incorrectly denied his
request for substitute counsel. Respondent argues that the
claims are untimely, procedurally defaulted, and without
merit. For the reasons stated below, the Court will deny
convictions arose from the sexual assault of C.M. on July 1,
2007. C.M. testified that she lived in the City of Detroit
with her two young children. At approximately 2:30 a.m., she
awoke to find a man approaching her with a knife. C.M. began
screaming. The man told her to shut up, which she did. The
man also told her that if she did as she was told, he would
not hurt her. C.M. told the man that her young children were
in the house. The man told C.M. that another person was in
the room with the children and they would not be hurt if she
did as she was told. He then raped her. After the man left
her home, C.M. took her children and fled to a neighbor's
house where she called police. C.M. was transported to a
hospital where evidence was collected. Approximately six
months after the assault, C.M. viewed a photographic lineup.
She selected Mullins's photograph from the lineup,
identifying him as the assailant. C.M. testified at trial
that she was certain that Mullins was the person who
mother Brenda testified that she saw news reports at some
point in January 2008 about a series of break-ins in Detroit.
She saw surveillance video of a break-in at one of the homes.
Brenda immediately recognized her son. She was aware that
police believed that the suspect in the break-ins also
committed several rapes. She advised her son to turn himself
into police, which he did. Mullins was then arrested. Brenda
spoke to him by telephone several times when he was in jail.
He admitted to her that he had intercourse with the women who
accused him of rape, but claimed that the acts had been
other sexual assault victims, who lived within walking
distance of Mullins's home, testified that they also
identified a photograph of Mullins from a photographic
lineup. C.M. lived within a few blocks of Mullins's place
Trapani was qualified as an expert in forensic biology and
forensic DNA analysis. She obtained a DNA profile from the
sperm and seminal fluid contained in C.M.'s rape kit. She
compared that to a DNA sample from Mullins. Trapani testified
that the DNA profile obtained from the rape-kit samples was
consistent with the DNA sample from Mullins. She further
testified that the likelihood of a random match in the
African-American population between the two samples was one
in eight quintillion.
County jury convicted Mullins of two counts of first-degree
criminal sexual conduct and one count of home invasion. On
May 22, 2008, he was sentenced to 285 months to 60 years of
imprisonment for each of the criminal-sexual-conduct
convictions and 141 months to 20 years of imprisonment for
the first-degree home invasion conviction.
filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of Appeals,
claiming that the trial court erred in failing to inquire
into his reasons for requesting substitute counsel, the trial
court erred in failing to remove from the venire jurors who
had seen media coverage of the case, a change of venue should
have been granted, and defense counsel was ineffective. The
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions.
People v. Mullins, No. 286323, 2010 WL 99033 (Mich.
Ct. App. Jan. 12, 2010). Mullins filed an application for
leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, raising the
same claims raised in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The
Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v.
Mullins, 488 Mich. 910 (2010).
then filed a habeas-corpus petition. He raised four claims:
(i) the trial court abused its discretion in denying his
request for substitute counsel; (ii) adverse pretrial
publicity and insufficient voir dire denied Mullins
the right to a fair trial; (iii) prosecutorial misconduct;
and (iv) ineffective assistance of counsel. Mullins also
filed a motion to stay the habeas proceedings so he could
return to state court to exhaust a claim that trial counsel
was ineffective in opening the door for introduction of
Mullins's prior conviction and other prejudicial
character evidence. The Court granted the motion and required
Mullins to file a motion in the trial court within 60 days
and return to this Court within 60 days of exhausting
state-court remedies. ECF 6.
filed a motion for relief from judgment in the trial court,
arguing: (i) the prosecutor knowingly presented perjured
testimony and withheld exculpatory evidence; (ii) counsel was
ineffective in failing to seek an expert in identification;
and (iii) counsel was ineffective in opening the door to
prior bad acts testimony. The trial court denied the motion.
See ECF 13-13. Mullins filed an application for
leave to appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals raising the
first two claims raised in the trial court. The Michigan
Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal. People v.
Mullins, No. 312358 (Mich. Ct. App. May 30, 2013). The
Michigan Supreme Court also denied leave to appeal.
People v. Mullins, 495 Mich. 913 (2013).
filed a motion to lift the stay and an amended petition in
this Court. ECF 8. The Court granted the motion to lift the
stay and reopened the case. ECF 10. The amended petition
raises these claims:
I. Mullins was deprived of a fair trial where newly
discovered evidence shows that the prosecution presented
perjured testimony and withheld exculpatory evidence thereby
committing fraud on the court.
II. Trial counsel deprived Mullins of the effective
assistance of counsel where she failed to seek an expert in
identification to explain the implausible and impossible
claims made by the complaining witness.
III. Mullins is entitled to a new trial where the trial court
abused its discretion when it denied Mullins's ...