United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
JAYMOND D. LAWSON, Petitioner,
RANDALL HAAS, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PETITIONER'S MOTION
FOR A STAY [DKT. 3] AND CLOSING THIS CASE
TERRENCE G. BERG HON. DAVID R. GRAND
Jaymond D. Lawson, a state prisoner at the Macomb
Correctional Facility in New Haven, Michigan, recently filed
a petition for the writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 and a motion to stay this federal proceeding. In
his pro se petition, Petitioner challenges his convictions
for manslaughter and firearm offenses. In his motion for a
stay, Petitioner seeks to have his habeas petition held in
abeyance while he exhausts state remedies for several claims.
For the reasons given below, the Court will
GRANT Petitioner's motion for a stay and
hold his habeas petition in abeyance, but close this case for
a no-contest plea in Saginaw County Circuit Court, Petitioner
was convicted of one count of being a felon in possession of
a firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.224f, two counts of
possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 750.227b, and one count of manslaughter,
Mich. Comp. Laws §750.321. The trial court sentenced
Petitioner as a habitual offender to imprisonment for 100
months to twenty years for the felon-in-possession
conviction, two concurrent terms of two years for the
felony-firearm convictions, and 100 months to thirty years
for the manslaughter conviction. Petitioner appealed his
convictions, but the Michigan Court of Appeals denied leave
to appeal for lack of merit in the ground presented to the
court, see People v. Lawson, No. 329130 (Mich. Ct.
App. Nov. 4, 2015), and on May 2, 2016, the Michigan Supreme
Court denied leave to appeal because it was not persuaded to
review the issue. People v. Lawson, 499 Mich. 917;
877 N.W.2d 882 (2015).
grounds for relief asserted in the pending habeas petition
are: (1) trial counsel's failure to properly advise
Petitioner of possible pretrial motions relevant to his
defense deprived him of effective assistance and rendered his
plea unknowing; (2) the trial court abused its discretion by
denying Petitioner's motion to withdraw his no-contest
plea and by failing to conduct an evidentiary hearing; (3)
Petitioner's plea was unknowing and involuntary because
the trial court failed to comply with Michigan Court Rule
6.302; (4) the failure to negate a possible intoxication
defense rendered the factual basis for the plea insufficient;
(5) Petitioner's plea was not knowing and voluntary
because trial counsel provided ineffective assistance; and
(6) the prosecutor committed misconduct by failing to provide
the trial court and trial counsel with accurate information.
doctrine of exhaustion of state remedies requires state
prisoners to present all their claims to the state courts
before raising the claims in a federal habeas corpus
petition. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1);
O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842
(1999). This requirement is satisfied if the prisoner
“invok[es] one complete round of the State's
established appellate review process, ” including a
petition for discretionary review in the state supreme court
“when that review is part of the ordinary appellate
review procedure in the State.”
O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 845, 847.
alleges that he raised his first claim on direct appeal and
that he raised his remaining claims in a motion for relief
from judgment, which is pending in the state trial court.
Thus, it appears that the habeas petition is a
“mixed” petition of one exhausted claim and five
federal district court ordinarily must dismiss a
“mixed” petition containing both exhausted and
unexhausted claims, “leaving the prisoner with the
choice of returning to state court to exhaust his claims or
of amending or resubmitting the habeas petition to present
only exhausted claims to the district court.” Rose
v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509, 510 (1982). However, as
explained in Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269 (2005),
[T]he enactment of [the Antiterrorism and Effective Death
Penalty Act (AEDPA)] ¶ 1996 dramatically altered the
landscape for federal habeas corpus petitions. AEDPA
preserved Lundy's total exhaustion requirement,
see 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A) (“An application for
a writ of habeas corpus . . . shall not be granted unless it
appears that . . . the applicant has exhausted the remedies
available in the courts of the State”), but it also
imposed a 1-year statute of limitations on the filing of
federal petitions, § 2244(d) . . . .
As a result of the interplay between AEDPA's 1-year
statute of limitations and Lundy's dismissal
requirement, petitioners who come to federal court with
“mixed” petitions run the risk of forever losing
their opportunity for any federal review of their unexhausted
claims. If a petitioner files a timely but mixed petition in
federal district court, and the district court dismisses it
under Lundy after the limitations period has
expired, this will likely mean the termination of any federal
Id. at 274-75.
light of this problem, some district courts have adopted a
“stay-and-abeyance” approach. Id. at
275. Under this approach, a court stays the federal
proceeding and holds the habeas petition in abeyance while
the petitioner pursues state remedies for his unexhausted
claims. Id. After the state court completes its
review of the petitioner's claims, the federal court can
lift its stay and allow the petitioner to proceed in federal
court. Id. at 275-76.
[I]t likely would be an abuse of discretion for a district
court to deny a stay and to dismiss a mixed petition if the
petitioner had good cause for his failure to exhaust, his
unexhausted claims are potentially meritorious, and there is
no indication that the petitioner engaged in intentionally
dilatory litigation tactics. In such circumstances, the
district court should stay, rather than dismiss, the mixed
petition. See Lundy, 455 U.S., at 522, 102 S.Ct.
1198 (the total exhaustion requirement was not intended to
“unreasonably impair the prisoner's right to
relief”). In such a case, the ...