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Solomon v. Shane Place

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

June 30, 2017

SHANE PLACE, Respondent.



         I. Introduction

         This is a habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner Keondre Earl Solomon, (Petitioner), is a state inmate serving sentences of twenty three to forty years for two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, M.C.L. § 750.83; two and a half to five years for carrying a weapon with unlawful intent, M.C.L. § 750.226; and two years for two counts of felony-firearm, M.C.L. § 750.227b. Petitioner has filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus claiming that he is incarcerated in violation of his constitutional rights. Respondent, through the Attorney General's Office, filed a response contending that Petitioner's claims lack merit. For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.

         II. Background

         A. Facts

         The material facts leading to Petitioner's conviction are recited from the Michigan Court of Appeals' opinion affirming his conviction, 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. 2009):

This case involves the drive-by shooting of Marcel Wilson and Richard Fowler. Wilson and Fowler were driving from the west side to the south side of Saginaw, which was where Fowler lived. At one point they stopped at a gas station. Fowler went into the store while Wilson stayed in the car. While waiting, Wilson noticed defendant pumping gas into a white Dodge Charger. Fowler testified that he went into the store, made a purchase without talking to anyone, and walked straight out. Videotape surveillance footage from the store confirmed that Fowler “ma[de] his purchase and walk[ed] out without any interaction with anyone.” The footage also showed that defendant and a man named J'ion Parker left the store after Fowler.
Wilson testified that as he and Fowler proceeded toward the south side of town, he noticed the Charger coming up behind them, eventually pulling up alongside them. According to Wilson, “that's when it started shooting.” Fowler said he and Wilson both tried to duck when the shooting began, but that “there wasn't no stopping them.” The emergency room doctor who attended to Wilson and Fowler testified that Wilson had been shot twice and Fowler had been shot once. Both men needed hospitalization and surgery. A witness testified that the car in which Wilson and Fowler had been traveling hit a tree and the Charger hit a fire hydrant.
Saginaw Police Officer Matthew Gerow interviewed Parker at the police station. Gerow testified that although Parker was “very reluctant” and “definitely did not want to be there, ” he identified a picture of codefendant Samuel Jackson as the shooter and indicated on a piece of paper that both defendant and Jackson were involved. Gerow also testified that there was a hidden camera and microphone in the interview room, and that at one point when Parker and his mother were alone, the camera recorded Parker whispering to her, “I can't live my life as no snitch, though. I can't do it. It would make me want to kill myself if I was a snitch. They gonna kill me if I snitch.” The trial court provided the following limiting instruction regarding Parker's statement: “That's been offered to explain why the witness may have been reluctant with the police, and there may be an issue of credibility as to that witness. And so you may consider the evidence as to the witness credibility.” The trial court further explained that “[t]here is no evidence of threats of any kind by either of the defendants here, or of threats or intimidation of any kind, by them or anybody associated with them.” Gerow also testified regarding a map of Saginaw that was admitted as a trial exhibit. The map contained annotations indicating where each of the involved parties lived, where the gas station was, and the location of the shooting. Gerow stated that defendant and Parker resided in what would be considered the east side of Saginaw. Gerow testified that he was aware of conflicts between individuals from different parts of the city, and that he had encountered “assaultive-type cases” between individuals from the east and south sides. Gerow then stated that hand gestures made by Jackson and Parker in photographs taken from Parker's Facebook page demonstrated their association with the east side and Jackson was making gestures showing disrespect for the south side. Gerow made it clear that none of the pictures admitted showed defendant displaying hand gestures that would associate him with a particular side of the city. The trial court stated to the jury:
... there was a reference to some assaultive acts on these different parts of town or between these different people associated with these different parts of town.
I caution you that there's nothing in evidence to suggest that these two defendants were involved in these other acts that were referred to by the witness, and-or that these two defendants were associated in any way with those other acts that were referred to by the witness.

People v. Solomon, 2015 WL 1069437, at *1-2.

         B. Procedural History

         Following his conviction and sentence, Petitioner filed an appeal of right to the Michigan Court of Appeals which affirmed. People v. Solomon, No. 319248, 2015 WL 1069437 (Mich. Ct. App. Mar. 10, 2015). Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, in which he raised the same claims that he raised in his appeal of right before the Michigan ...

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