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Curtis v. Klee

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

October 31, 2017

CHAD CURTIS, Petitioner,
v.
PAUL KLEE, Respondent.

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

          HON. GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Chad David Curtis, (“petitioner”), confined at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan, seeks the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his pro se application, petitioner challenges his convictions, brought in two lower court files, on three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, M.C.L.A. § 750.520c(1)(b), one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, M.C.L.A. § 750.520d(1)(e), and two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, M.C.L.A. § 750.520e(1)(f). For the reasons stated below, the petition for a writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.

         I. Background

         Petitioner was convicted of the above offenses following a jury trial in the Barry County Circuit Court. This Court recites verbatim the relevant facts relied upon by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which are presumed correct on habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). See Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009):

Defendant was a substitute teacher at Lakewood High School. He also volunteered in the weight room. The victims, M.K., K.S., and T .H., were students who used the weight room at Lakewood High School. At different times, defendant took each of the three victims to the school's training room. M.K. testified that she went to the training room with defendant in the summer of 2011 to do hip flexor exercises. On one visit, defendant suggested that he give her a body massage. During the massage, defendant pulled up M.K.'s sports bra and rubbed her breasts. On another visit, this one on Labor Day, defendant pulled up M.K.'s sports bra and kissed her right nipple, while also penetrating her vagina with his finger. T.H. testified that she went to the training room with defendant after she had performed some squats and defendant said that something looked wrong with her hips. In the training room, defendant lowered her sweatpants, moved her underwear, and rubbed her butt.
K.S. testified that she went to the training room on two days with defendant to do some exercises. On the first day, defendant rubbed her groin, and his hands went underneath the spandex of her shorts. On the second day, defendant rubbed K.S.'s groin and the sides of her butt.
Two other teenagers also testified about defendant's actions. D.K. testified that on numerous occasions defendant asked her to come into an office in the weight room with him; he then rubbed lotion on her body. On her legs, he rubbed up to her underwear line. A.L. testified that one day when she was baby-sitting for defendant's two youngest children and got sunburned, defendant rubbed aloe on her body. He rubbed it on her legs, going up to her underwear line, and on her stomach, going up to her bra. He also rubbed aloe under her bra straps.

People v. Curtis, No. 318699, 2015 WL 630396, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 12, 2015).

         Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal by the Michigan Court of Appeals. Id.

         Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court remanded the matter back to the trial court in light of that court's decision in People v. Lockridge, 498 Mich. 358; 870 N.W.2d 502 (Mich. 2015), because the jury did not find the facts to support the scoring of the sentencing guidelines beyond a reasonable doubt and petitioner did not admit to these facts. On remand, the trial judge was to determine whether he would have imposed a materially different sentence but for the constitutional error. The Michigan Supreme Court denied petitioner leave to appeal regarding his remaining issues. People v. Curtis, 498 Mich. 916 (2015). On remand, the trial court denied petitioner's motion for resentencing.

         Petitioner seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds:

         I. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.

         II. Right to Present a Defense.

         III. Cumulative Effect.

         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 ...

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