United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Petitioner Dennis Compeau's
pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Compeau challenges his conviction
for assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct
involving penetration and attempted kidnapping. He challenges
the conviction on four grounds: 1) the trial court erred in
considering him a fourth habitual offender and departing
upwards when resentencing; 2) his sentence is a departure
unsupported by substantial and compelling reasons; 3) his
attorney provided ineffective assistance by failing to pursue
an alibi defense; and 4) a suggestive photo array violated
his due process rights. Respondent, through the Attorney
General's Office, has filed an answer in opposition to
the petition arguing that all of the claims are meritless.
The Court denies the petition and declines to issue a
certificate of appealability.
convictions arise from the assault and attempted kidnapping
of Michelle Krappe in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
April 2, 1998, Krappe was walking home at 8:00 p.m. when she
noticed a white van driving nearby. The van followed her for
a short distance and eventually pulled over. The driver of
the van, who she later identified as Compeau, asked Krappe if
she needed a ride and she declined. He made a few more
statements, but Krappe continued walking home. She heard the
driver turn off the van and saw him get out. He approached,
touched her arm, and began screaming obscenities at her
before attempting to lead her to the van. [ECF No. 10-12 at
139.] Krappe screamed for help. The attacker punched her in
the face, splitting her lip, but she was eventually able to
break free and saw people coming toward her to help. The
attacker got back into the van and drove away.
after the incident, Krappe drew a freehand picture of the
man. The following day she assisted a police sketch artist
with a computer composite of the attacker. When presented
with a photo array, she identified Compeau as the man who
attacked her. Compeau's attorney was present for the
and Barbara Elmore were in the neighborhood at the time the
attack occurred. Sometime after 8:00 p.m., they noticed two
people in front of a parked white van. Mr. Elmore heard what
he thought was a “slap or a smack” and both heard
a woman screaming for help. [ECF No. 10-12 at 199.] Mrs.
Elmore began screaming at the man to get away from the woman
and ran toward the two people. The attacker got into the van
and drove away, so Mr. Elmore ran to his vehicle to chase the
van. When the chase was unsuccessful, Mr. Elmore returned to
the scene and called the police.
Pleasant police officer Cary Murch was called to the
Elmore's house that night. He took a statement from
Krappe and observed that she had a cold compress on her lip.
After speaking with Krappe and the Elmores, he issued a
“be on the lookout” (“BOL”) for an
individual who was 5'8” tall and 180 pounds, with
blue eyes and long, blond, curly hair, who was driving a
white Ford van.
next day, another officer stopped a white van driven by a man
with long, blond, curly hair and called Officer Murch to the
scene, believing that the driver matched the description in
the BOL. Officer Murch went to the site of the traffic stop
and saw Compeau in the back seat of the officer's car.
officer then took Compeau to the police station, where he was
interviewed by Detective David Tuma. Compeau told Tuma that
he never left his girlfriend's trailer on April 2, 1998.
in the evening on April 2, 1998, John W. McKenzie, Jr., who
lives in Remus, observed his tenant's teenage daughter
speaking with someone in a white van sometime between 5:00
and 6:00 p.m. He watched the van pull away after 30 to 40
seconds, but noticed that it was driving very slowly and
doing “head checks” to look at the teenager and
her friend. [ECF No. 10-13 at 393.] He noticed the van again
between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. that evening and once more at
about 9:30 p.m. At the final sighting, Mr. McKenzie was
suspicious and attempted to follow the van, but was
unsuccessful. He never called the police.
McKenzie's neighbor, Fred Nostrant, also noticed the
white van in the neighborhood between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. on
April 2, 1998. He testified that he saw the van later,
between 7:30 and 7:45 p.m. that evening, and called the
police between 8:10 and 8:20 p.m. He indicated that he spoke
to Mr. McKenzie about the van before he made the call. Mr.
Nostrant further testified that the police report, indicating
that he had seen the van at 8:20 p.m., was inaccurate.
was arrested and booked in the Isabella County Jail on April
3, 1998. In August of 1998, Compeau's girlfriend, Linda
Richardson, was charged with helping him attempt to escape
from the jail.
December of 1998, a jury in the Isabella County Circuit Court
found Compeau guilty of assault with intent to commit
criminal sexual conduct and attempted kidnapping. On December
30, 1998, he was sentenced as a fourth habitual offender to
concurrent prison terms of 25 to 50 years for the assault
conviction and 20 to 40 years for the attempted kidnapping
filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of Appeals,
raising the following claims: (i) the trial court erred by
allowing the bailiff's testimony; (ii) the trial court
erred by allowing evidence of Compeau's escape attempt;
and (iii) his sentence was disproportionately severe. The
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Compeau's conviction.
People v. Compeau, 244 Mich.App. 595 (Mich. Ct. App.
2001). He filed an application for leave to appeal in the
Michigan Supreme Court, raising the same claims raised in the
Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court denied
leave to appeal. People v. Compeau, 465 Mich. 861
2002, Compeau filed a habeas petition in this Court, raising
the following claims:
I. The trial court violated his Sixth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights by admitting the testimony of a court
II. The trial court abused its discretion by admitting
evidence of his plan to escape from jail.
Court denied habeas relief. Compeau v. Birkett, No.
2:02-cv-71944 (E.D. Mich. May 21, 2003).
2013, Compeau filed a motion to correct an invalid sentence
and motion for relief from judgment. In his motion for
invalid sentence, he argued that his current sentence was
based upon inaccurate information in his presentence report.
In his motion for relief from judgment, he raised the
I. Appellate counsel did not provide effective assistance
where counsel failed to raise meritorious constitutional
II. Appellate counsel did not provide effective assistance
when counsel failed to place a witness on the stand to ...