United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
DAVONTRAL J. COLEMAN, Petitioner,
STEVEN RIVARD, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER (1) DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS, (2) DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY,
AND (3) GRANTING PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA
TERRENCE G. BERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a habeas case brought by a Michigan prisoner under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Petitioner Davontral Coleman was convicted after
a jury trial in the Saginaw County Circuit Court of three
counts of assault with intent to commit murder, Mich. Comp.
Laws ' 750.83, two counts of possession of a firearm
during the commission of a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.227b, and one count of carrying a firearm with unlawful
intent, Mich. Comp. Laws ' 750.226. As a result of these
convictions Petitioner is serving a sentence of 22-to-42
years. The petition raises two claims: (1) Petitioner was
denied the effective assistance of counsel, and (2)
Petitioner's Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were
violated at sentencing. The Court finds that Petitioner's
claims are without merit. Therefore, the petition will be
denied. The Court will also deny Petitioner a certificate of
appealability, but it will grant permission to proceed on
appeal in forma pauperis.
facts relied upon by the Michigan Court of Appeals 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). Those facts are as follows:
Defendant's convictions stem from a shooting that
occurred in front of Jennifer McReynolds's Saginaw
residence on September 5, 2009. A group of approximately 25
or 30 people had gathered in the yard in front of the
residence. Witnesses testified that they suddenly heard what
sounded like firecrackers and realized that someone was
firing bullets into the crowd. Jewel Lee, who was 12 years
old at the time of trial, suffered a nonfatal gunshot wound
to the head.
Luven West lived in a home separated from McReynolds's
residence by a vacant field and a chain link fence. West
heard the gunshots and thought that they were coming from
behind her house. She looked out her front door and saw two
young men at the end of her driveway. One of the men
“walked off real fast, looking back, ” while the
other man, who West identified as defendant, rode away on a
bicycle. A police investigation revealed that the gunshots
were fired from the vacant field. The police recovered eight
.22 caliber shell casings along the fence line that separated
West's yard from the field. Officers also found a .22
caliber rifle underneath West's vehicle parked in her
driveway. A latent finger print on the rifle matched
defendant's left, little finger. The rifle also contained
DNA evidence from at least three different people.
Defendant's DNA was consistent with a sample taken from
the rifle. Expert testimony established that the probability
of a person's DNA matching the sample on the rifle was
one in 791 Caucasians, one in 419 Hispanics, and one in 381
African Americans. Defendant was not the main contributor of
the DNA evidence on the rifle. The jury convicted defendant
People v. Coleman, No. 306915, 2012 WL 6178154, at
*1 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 11, 2012).
his conviction and sentence, Petitioner filed a claim of
appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals which raised the
I. Defendant was denied the effective assistance of counsel
when: (1) based upon misunderstandings of law and fact,
counsel told the jury that Defendant lied about not being at
the shooting or touching the firearm, and (2) neglected to
object to the jury being told that Defendant was years
earlier caught with a gun.
II. Defendant is entitled to a re-sentencing where guidelines
error altered the sentencing range. Here, points were
erroneously scored under offense variable (“OV”)
13 because: (1) no “continuing pattern” of
felonious conduct exists and (2) the conduct scored under OV
13 was already scored under PRV 7. The error increased the
range and resentencing is required.
important to note that nowhere in Petitioner's brief on
appeal did he argue that his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights were implicated by the manner in which the trial court
calculated the sentencing guidelines. The Michigan Court of
Appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions and sentence in
an unpublished opinion. Id.
subsequently filed an application for leave to appeal in the
Michigan Supreme Court which raised the same claims as in the
Michigan Court of Appeals and an additional claim not
presented in this action. The Michigan Supreme Court denied
the application on July 3, 2013, because it was not persuaded
that the questions presented should be reviewed by the Court.
People v. Coleman, 832 N.W.2d 388 (Mich. 2013)
(unpublished table decision). Petitioner did not file a
petition for a writ of certiorari in the United States
Standard of Review
U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) curtails a federal court's
review of constitutional claims raised by a state prisoner in
a habeas action if the claims were adjudicated on the merits
by the state courts. Relief is barred under this section
unless the state court adjudication was “contrary
to” or ...