United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND
DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
prisoner Michael Beeler (“petitioner”) has filed
a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254 asserting that he is being held in
violation of his constitutional rights. The petitioner
pleaded no contest to armed robbery, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.529, and impersonating a peace officer, Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 750.215(3), in the Oakland County Circuit Court and
was sentenced, as a fourth habitual offender, Mich. Comp.
Laws § 769.12, to concurrent terms of 15 to 50 years
imprisonment and 4 to 15 years imprisonment in 2014. In his
pleadings, he raises claims concerning the voluntariness of
his plea and the effectiveness of trial counsel, and the
trial court's plea colloquy. For the reasons stated, the
Court denies the petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The
Court also denies a certificate of appealability and denies
leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal.
Facts and Procedural History
petitioner's convictions arise from his armed robbery of
a man while pretending to be a police officer in Oakland
County, Michigan on February 10, 2014. The petitioner
approached the victim who was sitting in his parked truck on
the street in front of his girlfriend's house. The
petitioner told the victim that he was a police officer,
questioned the victim about someone he claimed to be looking
for, made the victim exit his car while armed with a gun,
searched the victim, and took the victim's wallet, money,
and cell phone before driving away in a van. The victim
contacted the police. See 3/6/14 Prelim. Exam Tr.,
pp. 6-14. The police traced the victim's cell phone to a
bar, where they arrested the petitioner. The police found the
victim's cell phone and a small amount of money in the
petitioner's van. See Pet. App. Brf., p. 4.
August 11, 2014, the petitioner pleaded no contest to armed
robbery and impersonating a peace officer in exchange for an
amendment to the habitual information with a sentencing
agreement for a minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment
instead of the required 25-year minimum sentence.
See 8/11/14 Plea Hrg. Tr., pp. 3-11. On September 3,
2014, the trial court sentenced him, as a fourth habitual
offender, to concurrent terms of 15 to 50 years imprisonment
and 4 to 15 years imprisonment in accordance with that
agreement. See 9/3/14 Sent. Hrg. Tr., p. 8.
petitioner subsequently moved to withdraw his plea asserting
that he was innocent, that the incident was a drug
transaction, and that his attorney failed to investigate his
case and coerced him into taking a plea. He also asserted
that the trial court did not obtain a reason for the no
contest plea and failed to advise him of the maximum
sentences for each of the offenses. The trial court conduct a
hearing and denied the motion. See 3/18/15 Motion
Hrg.; People v. Beeler, No. 14-249469-FC (Oakland
Co. Cir. Ct. March 18, 2015). The petitioner filed a delayed
application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Court of
Appeals, which was denied for lack of merit in the grounds
presented. People v. Beeler, No. 326736 (Mich. Ct.
App. May 19, 2015). The petitioner also filed an application
for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, which
was denied in a standard order. People v. Beeler,
498 Mich. 887, 869 N.W.2d 607 (2015).
petitioner thereafter filed his federal habeas petition. He
raises the following claims:
I. Plea was rendered involuntary and unknowing due to
ineffective assistance of counsel.
II. Trial court failed to advise him of maximum sentence for
respondent has filed an answer to the petition contending
that it should be denied for lack of merit. The petitioner
filed a reply to that answer asserting that he is entitled to
relief on his claims.
Standard of Review
law imposes the following standard of review for habeas
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the adjudication of the claim -
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal
law, as determined by the ...