United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
KENNETH R. BEAGLE, Petitioner,
ANTHONY STEWART, Respondent.
OPINION AND ORDER (1) SUMMARILY DENYING PETITION FOR
WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, (2) DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF
APPEALABILITY, AND (3) DENYING PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA
Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge.
prisoner Kenneth Beagle, (“Petitioner”), filed
this habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was
convicted in 2002 in the Allegan Circuit Court of
first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and he was sentenced to
25 to 50 years' imprisonment. The petition raises a
single claim: Petitioner's constitutional rights were
violated by judicial fact-finding in scoring the sentencing
guidelines. The Court finds that Petitioner's claim is
without merit because it cannot be supported by clearly
established Supreme Court law. Therefore, the petition will
be summarily denied. The Court will also deny Petitioner a
certificate of appealability and deny him permission to
proceed on appeal in forma pauperis.
his conviction and sentence Petitioner filed an application
for leave to appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals, raising
claims not pertinent to this action. The Court of Appeals
denied the application for lack of merit in the grounds
presented. People v. Beagle, No. 247803 (Mich. Ct.
App. May 12, 2003). Petitioner's application for leave to
appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court was denied. People
v. Beagle, No. 124190 (Mich. Oct. 31, 2003).
then filed his first motion for relief from judgment in the
trial court, raising additional claims not present in this
action. The trial court denied the motion on May 23, 2005.
Petitioner filed a second motion for relief from judgment in
the trial court that was denied on August 28, 2013.
filed his third motion for relief from judgment in the trial
court, raising one claim: “Pursuant to the United
States Supreme Court's ruling of Montgomery v.
Louisiana, [136 S.Ct. 718 (2016)], Alleyene v.
United States, [133 S.Ct. 2151 (2013)], should be
applied retroactively to defendant.” The trial court
denied the motion, finding that he was not entitled to
retroactive application of those cases. Dkt. 1, App'x A.
Petitioner appealed, but the Michigan Court of Appeals found
that review of his successive motion for relief from judgment
was barred by Michigan Court Rule 6.502(G). People v.
Beagle, No. 334201 (Mich. Ct. App. Aug. 29, 2016). The
Michigan Supreme Court subsequently denied relief under the
same court rule. People v. Beagle, No. 154516 (Mich.
Sup. Ct. May 2, 2017).
Standard of Review
petition for habeas corpus is filed, the Court must undertake
a preliminary review of the petition to determine whether
“it plainly appears from the face of the petition and
any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief in the district court.” Rule 4,
Rules Governing § 2254 Cases; see also 28 U.S.C. §
2243. If, after preliminary consideration, the Court
determines that the petitioner is not entitled to relief, the
Court must summarily dismiss the petition. McFarland v.
Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994); Carson v.
Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1999); Rule 4, Rules
Governing § 2254 Cases. No response to a habeas petition
is necessary if the petition is frivolous, obviously lacks
merit, or if the necessary facts can be determined from the
petition itself without considering a response from the
State. See Robinson v. Jackson, 366 F.Supp.2d 524,
525 (E.D. Mich. 2005).
qualify for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a habeas
petitioner must show that the state court decision on a
federal issue “was contrary to, or involved an
unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law,
as determined by the Supreme Court, ” or amounted to
“an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of
the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.”
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)-(2); Franklin v.
Francis, 144 F.3d 429, 433 (6th Cir. 1998). The analysis
of a petitioner's claim is limited to consideration of
“the law as it was ‘clearly established' by
[Supreme Court] precedents at the time of the state
court's decision, '” Wiggins v. Smith,
539 U.S. 510, 520 (2003).
claims that the trial judge violated his Sixth Amendment
right to a jury trial by using facts not proven beyond a
reasonable doubt or admitted by Petitioner to score the
offense variables of the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines to
determine his minimum sentence range.
17, 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled that any fact
that increases the mandatory minimum sentence for a crime is
an element of the criminal offense that must be proven beyond
a reasonable doubt. See Alleyne v. United States,
133 S.Ct. 2151, 2155 (2013). Alleyne is an extension
of the Supreme Court's holdings in Apprendi v. New
Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), and Blakely v.
Washington, 542 U.S. 296 (2004), where the Supreme Court
held that any fact that increases or enhances a penalty for a
crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum for the offense
must be submitted to the jury and proven beyond a reasonable
doubt. In reaching this conclusion, the Supreme Court
overruled Harris v. United States, 536 U.S. 545
(2002), where the Supreme Court held that only factors that
increase the maximum sentence, as opposed to the minimum
sentence, must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a
fact-finder. Alleyne, 133 S.Ct. at 2157-58.
conviction and sentence became final well before
Alleyne was decided, and it was not made retroactive
to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court. See
In re Mazzio, 756 F.3d 487, 489-90 (6th Cir. 2014).
Because the Supreme Court did not require at the time of
Petitioner's conviction that facts which increase a
criminal defendant's minimum sentence be proven beyond a
reasonable doubt, Petitioner cannot demonstrate entitlement
to habeas relief. See Gibson v. Tribley, No.
10-13364, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93404, 2013 WL 3353905, at *
8 (E.D. Mich. July 3, 2013).
asserts that the holding in Mazzio was undermined by
Montgomery v. Louisiana. Not so. In
Montgomery, the Supreme Court held that Miller
v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) (mandatory life
sentences for juvenile offenders violate the Eighth
Amendment), announced a new substantive constitutional rule
that applied retroactively to cases on collateral review.
Montgomery, 136 S.Ct. at 736. The Court explained