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Noonan v. Hoffner

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

November 13, 2017

Bryan Matthew Noonan, Petitioner,
v.
Bonita Hoffner, Respondent.

          OPINION

          PAUL L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Bryan Noonan, a Michigan prisoner, filed a petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his state court conviction on a variety of theories. The magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation (R & R) concluding that the petition should be denied. (ECF No. 31.) Noonan timely filed objections, and the court granted a subsequent motion to supplement his objections. (ECF Nos. 32, 33.)

         Noonan sets forth five specific objections to the R & R, although they overlap somewhat: (1) The magistrate judge erred by concluding that Petitioner failed to meet his burden to show that the trial court relied on material misinformation of a Constitutional magnitude at sentencing; (2) the magistrate judge erred by concluding that the State did not violate Petitioner's plea agreement when it imposed mandatory lifetime monitoring; (3) the magistrate judge erred by concluding that Petitioner's plea was valid; (4) the magistrate judge erred by concluding that the State's failure to inform him of lifetime monitoring at the plea hearing only violated state law and did not give rise to a Constitutional violation that could be remedied in a federal habeas petition; and (5) the magistrate judge erroneously concluded that the trial court's failure to hold a hearing before issuing an amended sentence was not cognizable in a federal habeas petition. For the reasons to follow, the Court will adopt the R & R as the opinion of the Court and overrule Petitioner's objections.

         Statement of Facts

         Petitioner Bryan Matthew Noonan is a state prisoner in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections. In 2009, he pleaded guilty in Berrien County Circuit Court to first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC), Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.520b(1)(b). In exchange for his plea, the state allegedly agreed to drop four other charges and to recommend a minimum sentence of no more than 17 years. (See ECF No. 2.) The circuit court subsequently sentenced him to 17 to 45 years of imprisonment and lifetime electronic monitoring.

         Petitioner states that he appealed his conviction and sentence to the Michigan Court of Appeals, raising the following claims: (1) the prosecution violated the terms of the sentencing agreement; (2) the court mis-scored offense variables 11 and 13; (3) the court's departure from the sentencing guidelines was not supported by substantial or compelling reasons and was not proportionate to the offense; and (4) Petitioner's counsel was ineffective for allowing a sentence with improper scoring. (See id.)

         The Michigan Court of Appeals initially rejected the appeal, but on reconsideration, it remanded the case for re-sentencing with regard to offense variables 11 and 13. Petitioner appealed the decision of the court of appeals while his motion for reconsideration was still pending. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal on September 9, 2010. The circuit court held another sentencing hearing, and on November 1, 2010, it issued a new sentence with the same prison term. The new sentence did not include lifetime electronic monitoring, but three months later, the court amended the sentence to include that requirement.

         Petitioner appealed the new sentence, again claiming that the state court's reasons for departing from the sentencing guidelines were not valid. He also claimed that lifetime electronic monitoring is cruel and unusual punishment. On August 23, 2011, the Michigan Court of Appeals denied the appeal for lack of merit in the grounds presented. In a motion for reconsideration, Petitioner asserted that the circuit court erroneously scored offense variables 11 and 13 and that the sentence was invalid because the prosecution violated the terms of the plea agreement. The motion was denied on October 19, 2011.

         Petitioner subsequently appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which denied leave to appeal on April 4, 2012, because it was not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed. Petitioner sought reconsideration of that decision and the court denied reconsideration on June 25, 2012.

         On January 11, 2013, Petitioner filed a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to subchapter 6.500 of the Michigan Court Rules, in which he argued that his guilty plea was invalid because the trial court failed to inform him that he would be subject to lifetime electronic monitoring. The circuit court denied the motion on April 16, 2013, because he could not establish cause and prejudice for failing to raise the issue in his direct appeal. Petitioner appealed that decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court, which denied leave to appeal on October 29, 2013 and May 27, 2014, respectively, for failure to meet the burden of establishing entitlement to relief.

         Petitioner then filed his habeas petition on August 5, 2014. The Court initially dismissed the petition after undertaking the review required by Rule 4. (ECF Nos. 8, 10.) However, Petitioner filed a timely motion for reconsideration and the Court vacated its opinion and judgment. (ECF Nos. 14, 17). The Court ordered the Respondent to answer the petition and referred the matter to the magistrate judge for an R & R.

         The Petition largely focused on the trial court's sentence and complications created by the lifetime electronic monitoring component of the sentence. The magistrate judge recommended denying the Petition in its entirety. Petitioner now raises five specific objections to the R & R. However, for the reasons to follow, the Court will overrule Petitioner's objections and adopt the R &R as the opinion of the Court.

         Legal Framework

         With respect to a dispositive motion, a magistrate judge issues a report and recommendation, rather than an order. After being served with a report and recommendation (R&R) issued by a magistrate judge, a party has fourteen days to file written objections to the proposed findings and recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). A district court judge reviews de novo the ...


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