United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS , DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS ,
DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING
PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge
Williams brought a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. §
2254. Williams was convicted after a 2007 trial in the Wayne
Circuit Court of first-degree home invasion, Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 750.110a; felon in possession of a firearm, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 750.224f; felonious assault, Mich. Comp.
Laws § 750.82; killing an animal, Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 750.50b; and felony committed with a firearm, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 750.227b. After successfully appealing his
sentence, the trial court entered an amended judgment of
sentence on October 18, 2016, sentencing Williams to terms of
195 to 480 months for the home invasion conviction, 60 to 120
months for the felon in possession conviction, 50 to 96
months for the assault conviction, 50 to 96 months for the
killing an animal conviction, and a consecutive 60 months for
the felony-firearm conviction.
pro se petition raises four claims: (1) Williams was
erroneously sentenced as a third-time habitual felony
offender; (2) the prosecutor did not follow the correct
procedure in filing the habitual felony offender notice; (3)
Williams's enhanced sentence is cruel and unusual in
violation of the Eighth Amendment; and (4) the trial court
never entered a valid judgment of sentence.
September 13, 2017, Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the
petition claiming that Williams failed to exhaust his state
court remedies. Williams responded that he is not required to
exhaust his claims because available state court remedies are
ineffective and because he is challenging the execution of
his sentence rather than its validity.
Court finds that the factual basis underlying
Petitioner's habeas claims was presented to the state
courts in his appeal of right from his convictions, and that
the state court's rejection of that basis demonstrates
that Williams's habeas claims are without merit. The
motion to dismiss on exhaustion grounds will therefore be
denied, and the petition will instead be denied on the
merits. The Court will also deny Petitioner a certificate of
appealability and deny permission to proceed on appeal in
multiple filings in both state and federal courts created a
labyrinthine procedural history. Williams's unclear pro
se pleadings further complicate matters.
Court presumes that factual determinations made by the
Michigan Court of Appeals are correct. 28 U.S.C. §
2254(e)(1); see Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413
(6th Cir. 2009). The state appellate court determined that
Williams entered another's home, while armed with a gun,
and shot the homeowners' dog. People v.
Williams, No. 280428, 2009 WL 563907, at *1 (Mich. Ct.
App. March 5, 2009).
his conviction, Williams filed a direct appeal raising six
claims: (1) Williams's trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to challenge the warrantless search, (2) the trial
court's instructions on first-degree home invasion and
felonious assault were erroneous, (3) Williams was
erroneously sentenced as a third-time habitual felony
offender, (4) the sentencing guidelines were erroneously
scored to reflect three prior crimes against a person, (5)
the victims' identification testimony should have been
suppressed, and (6) the bind-over to trial was defective. The
third claim-erroneous sentence as a third-time
offender-undergirds Williams's habeas petition.
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions, but it
remanded the case to the trial court for resentencing based
on Williams's claim that he was erroneously scored too
many points on the sentencing guidelines for having three
prior crimes against a person within a five-year period.
Id., at *6. The Court agreed with Williams that one
of the prior offenses used as a predicate for the habitual
offender charge related to a different person. Id.
at *3. Nevertheless, in light of two other prior felony
offenses, the state appellate court found that Williams was a
third-felony habitual offender. Id.
13, 2010, Williams filed his first federal habeas asserting
six claims. No. 2:10-cv-11939, ECF 1. Williams also filed a
motion to stay the petition while he completed his state
court appeal from his resentencing proceeding. Id.,
ECF 2. The Court granted the motion and administratively
closed the case while Williams pursued his state court
appeal. Id., ECF 3. On remand, the trial court
resentenced Williams to the terms indicated above, with the
exception that it mistakenly set the maximum 8-year terms for
the assault and killing an animal convictions offenses at 98
months instead of 96 months.
appealed from his resentencing. The Michigan Court of Appeals
rejected his claims, but remanded the case to the trial
court: "for the ministerial task of correcting the
sentences for felonious assault and killing an animal to
reflect a maximum sentence of 96 months." People v.
Williams, No. 297588, 2011 WL 3130271, at *7 (Mich. Ct.
App. July 26, 2011). Williams filed an application for leave
to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, but it was denied.
People v. Williams, 491 Mich. 854 (2012).
19, 2012, Williams moved to lift the stay of his federal
habeas case and filed an amended petition. The Court ordered
the case reopened and interpreted the amended petition as
raising six claims. No. 2:10-cv-11939, ECF 13; Id.,
ECF 26, PgID 1512-13. Respondent then filed a responsive
pleading. Id., ECF 20.
January 13, 2015, Williams filed a second motion to stay his
federal habeas case on the grounds that he had
newly-discovered evidence supporting a claim that the
prosecutor suppressed evidence related to a gunshot residue
test. Id., ECF 26, PgID 1513. The ...