United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER (1) GRANTING THE MOTION TO AMEND
THE HABEAS PETITION, (2) HOLDING IN ABEYANCE THE PETITION FOR
WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND (3) ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING THE
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Morrell, (“Petitioner”), filed a pro se
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, challenging his conviction for one count of
armed robbery, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.529; four counts
of unlawful imprisonment, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.349b;
one count of first-degree home invasion, Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 750.110a(2); one count of larceny of a firearm, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 750.357b; one count of larceny in a
building, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.360; five counts of
felonious assault, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.82; and
thirteen counts of felony firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws §
has also filed several lengthy pleadings in addition to his
original petition, which are construed as a motion to amend
the habeas petition to add additional claims. The motion to
amend the petition is GRANTED. The amended petition appears
to raise new claims that have yet to be exhausted with the
state courts. In lieu of dismissing the petition
without prejudice, this Court holds the petition in abeyance
and stays the proceedings under the terms outlined in this
opinion to permit petitioner to return to the state courts to
exhaust his additional claims. If this fails, the petition
will be dismissed without prejudice.
pleaded nolo contendere in the Livingston County
Circuit Court and was sentenced to prison. Petitioner's
conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. People
v. Morrell, No. 330591 (Mich.Ct.App. Mar. 29, 2016);
lv. den. 500 Mich. 868 (2016).
filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, seeking relief on
the following grounds:
I. Trial court violated constitutional due process by refusal
to allow plea withdrawal.
II. Petitioner's sentencing range was incorrectly scored.
III. Inaccurate and biased pre-sentencing report which
The motion to amend the petition for writ of habeas corpus is
has filed several pleadings in addition to his original
habeas petition. (Docs. # 6, 8, 9, 10, and 11). These
pleadings all contain lengthy factual allegations and legal
arguments by petitioner that not only buttress the three
claims raised by petitioner in his initial petition, but also
appear to advance new claims. Petitioner appears to be
raising the following claims in these pleadings: (1)
Petitioner's confession was involuntary because he was
under the influence of drugs, was denied medical care, and
the police threatened to kill his wife and children, (2)
prosecutorial misconduct, (3) the police and prosecutor
brought false charges against petitioner, (4) petitioner was
forced by his trial counsel into pleading nolo
contendere, (5) ineffective assistance of trial counsel,
in that counsel failed to locate evidence of petitioner's
innocence, (6) trial counsel had a conflict of interest with
petitioner in that he was working in collusion with the
prosecutor and police, (7) ineffective assistance of
appellate counsel, (8) the judge conspired with the police,
and (9) transcripts of the proceedings were altered or
did not separately list all of these claims for relief in his
original petition, as required by Rule 2© of the Rules
Governing § 2254 Cases, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254.
However, the appropriate liberal construction of a pro
se habeas petition, even though it is vague and
conclusory, requires active interpretation in some cases to
construe a pro se petition to encompass any
allegation which may state a ground for federal relief.
See Franklin v. Rose, 765 F.2d 82, 84-85 (6th Cir.
1985). A habeas petitioner's “undeveloped
allegations” of constitutional error may be sufficient
to alert a district court to the petitioner's intention
to raise additional claims. Id., at 85.
lengthy and detailed pleadings raise several new claims
alleging serious constitutional error. These are not passing
references to possible constitutional violations but extended
and repeated allegations by petitioner concerning these new
claims. This Court is willing to construe these pleadings as
a motion to amend the petition to add these new claims. The
proposed amended habeas petition should be granted because it