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.

Williams v. Horton

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

October 18, 2017

TERRY WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
CONNIE HORTON, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING RESPONDENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [11], DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS [1], DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge

         Terry 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.

         Williams's 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.

         On 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.

         The 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 forma pauperis.

         BACKGROUND

         Williams's multiple filings in both state and federal courts created a labyrinthine procedural history. Williams's unclear pro se pleadings further complicate matters.

         The 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).

         Following 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.

         The 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.

         On May 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.

         Williams 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).

         On July 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.

         On 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 ...


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.