Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gidron v. Place

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

August 16, 2017

JAMES GIDRON, Petitioner,
v.
SHANE PLACE, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          LINDA V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         James Gidron is presently in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections, pursuant to convictions for one count of second-degree murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, discharging a firearm at a building, felonious assault, and four counts of felony firearm. In a currently pending petition for the writ of habeas corpus, he challenges those convictions on the following grounds: (1) the voluntariness of his no contest plea; (2) ineffective assistance of counsel; (3) trial court error in denying his motion to withdraw his plea and motion for substitution of counsel; and (4) state court error in its application of Michigan Court Rule 6.508(D). Finding that none of Petitioner's claims satisfy the strict standards for habeas corpus relief, the Court is denying his petition.

         I. Background

         Petitioner was charged in Saginaw County Circuit Court with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, felonious assault, discharging a firearm at a building, two counts of assault with intent to murder, and four counts of felony-firearm. He was charged also as a fourth habitual offender. On March 16, 2006, he pleaded no contest to two counts of assault with intent to murder, second-degree murder, discharging a firearm at a building, felonious assault, and four counts of felony firearm. In exchange for his plea, the prosecutor dismissed the conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder charges. The prosecutor also agreed to recommend that Petitioner's minimum sentence not exceed 25 years. (ECF No. 7-5 at Pg. ID 124.)

         On the date of sentencing, April 20, 2006, Petitioner moved to withdraw his plea on the ground that his attorney incorrectly informed him that his codefendant, DeShawn Mathis, would testify against him if the case proceeded to trial. (ECF No. 7-7 at Pg. ID 139-140.) The trial court denied the motion and sentenced Petitioner to terms of incarceration of 25 to 50 years for each assault conviction, 23 to 50 years for the second-degree murder conviction, two to four years for the discharging a firearm at a building conviction, two to four years for the felonious assault conviction, and two years for each of the felony-firearm convictions. (Id. at 142, 148-152.)

         Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to withdraw his plea. The Michigan Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal. People v. Gidron, No. 277205 (Mich. Ct. App. May 9, 2007). Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, raising the same claim he asserted in the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v. Gidron, 480 Mich. 891 (Mich. Sept. 24, 2007).

         Petitioner filed a motion for relief from judgment in the trial court, raising these claims: (i) trial counsel's incorrect statements regarding codefendant Mathis's intention to testify induced his plea, rendering it involuntary; (ii) the trial court abused its discretion when it twice denied Petitioner's request for substitution of counsel; and (iii) appellate counsel's ineffectiveness establishes cause and prejudice under Michigan Court Rule 6.508(D). The trial court denied the motion. People v. Gidron, No. 05-026076 (Saginaw Cty. Cir. Ct. Feb. 25, 2008); (ECF No. 7-10.) Petitioner filed applications for leave to appeal the trial court's denial in the Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court. Both courts denied leave to appeal. People v. Gidron, No. 284542 (Mich. Ct. App. July 29, 2008); People v. Gidron, 482 Mich. 1069 (Mich. 2008).

         On February 10, 2009, Petitioner filed his federal habeas corpus petition. Petitioner then filed a motion to stay in order to return to state court to raise a new issue. Petitioner claimed to have newly discovered evidence establishing that his trial attorney provided him incorrect information about his codefendant's willingness to testify against him. In an opinion and order entered August 11, 2011 (“Stay Order”), the Court granted the stay and imposed certain conditions under which Petitioner was required to proceed. (ECF No. 12.)

         Petitioner filed a second motion for relief from judgment in state court, arguing that an April 4, 2011 affidavit of codefendant Mathis established that Mathis would not have testified against Petitioner. The trial court held that the affidavit did not qualify as “new evidence” under Michigan Court Rule 6.502(G)(2) and, therefore, Petitioner could not file a successive motion for relief form judgment. (See ECF No. 20 at Pg. ID 438-441.) The trial court also held that even if the affidavit qualified as new evidence under Rule 6.502(G)(2), Petitioner was not entitled to relief because the claim was already raised and denied on direct review in the Michigan Supreme Court and in Petitioner's first motion for relief from judgment. (Id.) The Michigan Court of Appeals denied Petitioner's application for leave to appeal because, under Mich. Ct. R. 6.502(G)(1), a party may not appeal from the denial of a successive motion for relief from judgment. People v. Gidron, No. 311458 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 23, 2012); (ECF No. 20 at Pg. ID 442.) The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal for the same reason. People v. Gidron, 494 Mich. 885 (Mich. 2013).

         Petitioner then returned to this Court and moved to reopen the habeas proceeding. The Court directed Petitioner to file an amended petition, which Petitioner filed on May 19, 2014. The amended petition raises the additional claim that Petitioner should be permitted to withdraw his plea because newly discovered evidence shows that it was based upon incorrect statements by defense counsel and therefore involuntary. Respondent filed a supplemental answer addressing Petitioner's additional claim.

         II. Standard

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) imposes the following standard of review for habeas cases:

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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.