United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE
PETITION, DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE
OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA
G. EDMUNDS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Leandre Lamar Childs recently filed a pro se habeas
corpus petition challenging his state convictions for
second-degree murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.317, and
possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony
(felony firearm), Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b. He
alleges as grounds for relief that state officials did not
process the arrest warrant in his criminal case and that the
felony complaint was defective. Because these claims do not
warrant habeas corpus relief, the Court will dismiss the
complaint and attachments indicate that, in 2014, Petitioner
was charged in a felony complaint with first-degree murder
and felony firearm. Petitioner was tried in Wayne County
Circuit Court, and on January 16, 2015, the jury found him
guilty of second-degree murder, as a lesser-included offense
of first-degree murder, and felony firearm. On February 3,
2015, the trial court sentenced Petitioner to a term of
twenty- five to fifty years in prison for the murder
conviction and to a consecutive term of two years in prison
for the felony-firearm conviction.
appeal as of right, Petitioner argued that the trial court
erred in (1) not instructing the jury on self-defense, (2)
not fully instructing the jury on the defense of accident,
and (3) not defining relevant legal terms. In a supplemental
brief, Petitioner argued that the trial court erred in (1)
denying his motion to quash the information for lack of
sufficient evidence to support the first-degree murder charge
and (2) denying his motion for a directed verdict on the
first-degree murder charge. The Michigan Court of Appeals
found no merit in Petitioner's claims and affirmed his
convictions. See People v. Childs, No. 326054, 2016
WL 3639901 (Mich. Ct. App. July 7, 2016). On January 31,
2017, the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal
because it was not persuaded to review the questions
presented to it. See People v. Childs, 500 Mich.
933; 889 N.W.2d 271 (2017). The United States Supreme Court
denied Petitioner's subsequent petition for a writ of
certiorari. See Childs v. Michigan, __ S.Ct. __, No.
16-9165, 2017 WL 2189101 (U.S. Oct. 2, 2017).
October 23, 2017, Petitioner filed his habeas corpus
petition. He claims that the arrest warrant in his state
criminal case was never processed and that the criminal
complaint was defective because it did not comply with the
Michigan Court Rules. Specifically, Petitioner asserts that
the complaint was conclusory and lacked substantive details
about the crime. Petitioner also contends that the complaint
listed no witnesses, failed to establish that he committed
the charged offense, and was not sworn before a magistrate or
judge. Petitioner concludes from the alleged defects in the
complaint and the lack of a properly filed arrest warrant
that state officials lacked the authority to arrest, charge,
try, convict, and sentence him. He maintains that his
convictions are void.
filed his habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. To
obtain relief from a federal habeas court, a state prisoner
must demonstrate that he or she “is in custody in
violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). Upon
receipt of a habeas petition, a federal district court must
promptly examine the petition and dismiss the petition if it
is clear that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.
Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 198, 207 (2006).
initial matter, it does not appear that Petitioner raised his
claims in state court, as required by 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1) and O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S.
838, 842 (1999) (noting that state prisoners must give the
state courts an opportunity to act on their claims before
they present those claims to a federal court in a habeas
corpus petition). Neither one of Petitioner's current
claims is mentioned in the Michigan Court of Appeals
decision. Thus, Petitioner has not carried his burden of
showing that he exhausted state remedies for his claims by
raising his claims in state court.
exhaustion rule, however, is not a jurisdictional
requirement. Castille v. Peoples, 489 U.S. 346, 349
(1989). The Court therefore proceeds to address the
substantive merits of Petitioner's claims.
noted above, Petitioner contends that there was no felony
arrest warrant issued in his state criminal case. To support
this claim, Petitioner attached to his habeas petition an
unsigned and undated copy of the felony warrant in his case.
See Pet., Ex. 3. The state court's docket,
however, indicates that the warrant was signed on August 29,
2014, and that Petitioner was arraigned on the warrant on
September 12, 2014. See People v. Childs,
No.14-008407-01-FC (Wayne Cty. Cir. Ct.),
https://cmspublic.3rdcc.org. To the extent
Petitioner asserts that state officials lacked probable cause
to arrest and try him, his challenge to the felony warrant
lacks merit for the additional reason that an “illegal
arrest or detention does not void a subsequent
conviction.” Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103,
also challenges the felony complaint in his case, claiming
that the complaint was defective under the Michigan Court
Rules and that the state trial court lacked jurisdiction. The
alleged violations of the Michigan Court Rules are not a
basis for habeas relief because, “[i]n conducting
habeas review, a federal court is limited to deciding whether
a conviction violated the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States.” Estelle v. McGuire, 502
U.S. 62, 68 (1991). “A federal court may not issue the
writ on the basis of a perceived error of state law.”
Pulley v. Harris, 465 U.S. 37, 41 (1984).
Furthermore, whether the state court was “vested with
jurisdiction under state law is a function of the state
courts, not the federal judiciary.” Wills v.
Egeler, 532 F.2d 1058, 1059 (6th Cir. 1976).
has failed to show that he is in custody in violation of
federal law. Therefore, he is not entitled to habeas corpus
relief, and the Court summarily ...