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Boykins v. Napel

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

October 23, 2017

BRIAN BOYKINS, Petitioner,
v.
ROBERT NAPEL, Respondent,

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DECLINING TO GRANT A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY OR LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          HON. SEAN F. COX, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Brian Boykins, (“petitioner”), presently confined at the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Saginaw, Michigan, filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction for armed robbery, M.C.L.A. 750.529, kidnapping, M.C.L.A. 750.349, carrying a concealed weapon, M.C.L.A. 750.227, felon in possession of a firearm, M.C.L.A. 750.224f, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, M.C.L.A. 750.227b, and being a fourth felony habitual offender, M.C.L.A. 769.12. For the reasons that follow, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.

         I. Background

         Petitioner was convicted following a jury trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court.

         The victim, Nathan Brown, testified that around noon on September 14, 2007, he was out shopping in the City of Detroit. The victim purchased some liquor, leaving him with about eighty seven dollars. The victim left the store and went to the bus stop. Before reaching the bus stop, the victim saw petitioner sitting in a car. Petitioner signaled the victim to come over to him. As the victim approached the car, he saw that petitioner had a gun. Petitioner ordered the victim to get inside the vehicle. The victim complied. Petitioner did a U-turn, drove a couple of blocks, and then pulled over. Petitioner then demanded money from the victim. After the victim handed him the money, petitioner grabbed the victim's watch and ring. Petitioner also seized the brown paper bag containing the victim's recent store purchases. (Tr. 2/14/08, pp. 56-61).

         As the victim exited the car, he kicked out a cell phone bill that had been lying in the vehicle, along with another envelope with a picture. The picture was part of a Michigan Department of Corrections [MDOC] Offender Tracking Information System [OTIS] printout with petitioner's picture on it that had been in the car. The victim waited until petitioner was some distance off, before picking up the phone bill and picture. The victim testified that he called the police and that it took them about an hour to respond to the call. The victim gave the phone bill and the picture that was in the envelope to the police. (Id., pp. 7-9, 62-65).

         On February 14, 2008, Officer Lestine Jackson of the Detroit Police Department went to the address on the cell phone bill and noticed a white car in the driveway that matched the description of the car that the victim said his assailant had been driving. The next day, the same officers who went to petitioner's address saw petitioner walking on Grand River. Officer Jackson recognized petitioner based on his picture from OTIS. Officer Jackson had her partner turn around. The two officers confronted and arrested petitioner. (Id., pp. 90-93).

         Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal. People v. Boykins, No. 285476 (Mich.Ct.App. October 27, 2009); lv. den. 486 Mich. 905, 780 N.W.2d 833 (2010).

         Petitioner then filed a post-conviction motion for relief from judgment with the Wayne County Circuit Court, which was denied. People v. Boykins, No. 07-021072-FC (Wayne County Circuit Court, Nov. 10, 2011). The Michigan appellate courts denied petitioner leave to appeal. People v. Boykins, No. 310158 (Mich.Ct. App. Oct. 24, 2012); lv. den. 494 Mich. 855, 830 N.W.2d 403 (2013).

         Petitioner then filed motions to compel discovery and for a bill of particulars, which were denied. People v. Boykins, No. 07-021072-FC (Wayne County Circuit Court, Nov. 29, 2012). The Michigan appellate courts denied petitioner leave to appeal. People v. Boykins, No. 316419 (Mich.Ct.App. Nov. 27, 2013); leave den. 497 Mich. 902, 856 N.W.2d 33 (2014).

         Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which was held in abeyance so that petitioner could return to the state courts and exhaust additional claims. Boykins v. McKee, No. 2:13-CV-12768, 2013 WL 4776065 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 6, 2013).

         Petitioner filed a second post-conviction motion for relief from judgment with the Wayne County Circuit Court, which was denied. People v. Boykins, No. 07-021072-FC (Wayne County Circuit Court, May 20, 2015). The Michigan appellate courts denied petitioner leave to appeal. People v. Boykins, No. 328556 (Mich.Ct. App. Nov. 25, 2015); lv. den. 500 Mich. 880, 886 N.W.2d 424 (2016).

         On February 8, 2017, this Court granted the motion to lift the stay and to amend the petition. (ECF # 23). Petitioner seeks habeas relief. Petitioner's original and amended petitions are often rambling and incoherent, but it appears that petitioner seeks habeas relief on the following grounds: (1) prosecutorial misconduct, (2) ineffective assistance of trial counsel, (3) ineffective assistance of appellate counsel, and (4) newly discovered evidence of actual innocence that had been suppressed.

         II. Standard of Review

         28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by The 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 Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

         A decision of a state court is “contrary to” clearly established federal law if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). An “unreasonable application” occurs when “a state court decision unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the facts of a prisoner's case.” Id. at 409. A federal habeas court may not “issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly.” Id. at 410-11. “[A] state court's determination that a claim lacks merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as ‘fairminded jurists could disagree' on the correctness of the state court's decision.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011)(citing Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). Therefore, in order to obtain habeas relief in federal court, a state prisoner is required to show that the state court's rejection of his claim “was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Harrington, 562 U.S. at 103. A habeas petitioner should be denied relief as long as it is within the “realm of possibility” that fairminded jurists could find the state court decision to be reasonable. See Woods v. Etherton, 136 S.Ct. 1149, 1152 (2016).

         III. ...


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