United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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.
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.)
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,
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.
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.
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.)
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).
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
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 ...