United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Steven Whalen Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS  AND DENYING AS MOOT PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR
ORAL ARGUMENT 
J. MICHELSON U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Carr and Reshia Fitzpatrick had a brief relationship.
Fitzpatrick later gave birth to Carr's son. But soon
after, Fitzpatrick started dating Dominque Wallace. After
Fitzpatrick, Wallace, and Carr spent part of a day visiting
with Fitzpatrick's children, an argument broke out. As
Wallace's father drove Wallace and Fitzpatrick away, Carr
allegedly opened fire on their car with a semi-automatic
rifle. Wallace was killed and Fitzpatrick injured.
convicted Carr of first-degree murder and sentenced him to
life in prison without the possibility for parole. After
exhausting his direct appeals, Carr petitions this Court for
a writ of habeas corpus. As the Court will explain, his
claims are without merit.
2009, Wallace was dating Fitzpatrick, Carr's
ex-girlfriend and the mother of Carr's son.On the day of the
murder, Wallace was at Fitzpatrick's home playing with
her children. Carr and two friends arrived to visit with
Carr's then-infant son. (R. 17, PID 953-54.) The visit
turned sour. About an hour after Carr arrived,
Fitzpatrick's mother says she heard voices escalating,
and believing an argument was brewing, asked everyone to
leave. (R. 17, PID 957-58.) Carr and his two friends left the
house first. (R. 17, PID 462-63.) Wallace called his father,
Shaun, for a ride home, and Fitzpatrick walked across the
street to her grandfather's house. (R. 17, PID 959-60.)
Fitzpatrick went across the street, she saw Carr and his two
friends walking down the block. The three men reached the end
of the block and remained there. (R.17, PID 549.)
Wallace's father arrived and Wallace and Fitzpatrick got
into his car. As Wallace's father pulled away, Wallace
was shot in the head, and he died three days later. (R. 17,
PID 584-85, 588.)
state charged Carr with killing Wallace. A jury convicted
Carr of first-degree murder, two counts of assault with
intent to murder, and one count of felon in possession of a
firearm. (R. 1, PID 1.) He is currently serving a life
sentence without the opportunity for parole.
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Carr's convictions.
People v. Carr, No. 302370, 2012 Mich.App. LEXIS
1850 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 25, 2012). The Michigan Supreme
Court denied Carr's application for leave to appeal. (R.
17, PID 1432.)
then filed, pro se, a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (R. 1.) Carr
attacks the constitutionality of his sentence on five
grounds. He raises three instances of ineffective assistance
of counsel and contends two structural errors occurred during
his trial. The state responded to Carr's petition (R.
16), and through counsel, Carr filed a reply (R. 21). The
Court will address each of Carr's claims, though, to ease
the analysis, not in the order he presents them.
Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA)
restricts a federal court's power to grant habeas corpus
relief to state prisoners. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). AEDPA
“demonstrates Congress's intent to channel
prisoners' claims first into state courts.”
Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 181 (2011). And
for that reason, where a state court adjudicates a
petitioner's claims “on the merits” relief
shall not be granted unless the adjudication “(1)
resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an
unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law,
” or “(2) resulted in a decision that was based
on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the
evidence presented in the State court proceeding.” 28
U.S.C. § 2254(d). AEDPA's “difficult to
meet” standard allows a federal court to grant relief
only “in cases where there is no possibility fair
minded jurists could disagree that the state court's
decision conflicts with [Supreme Court] precedents.”
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011).