United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS  AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Bradford filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus
under 28 U.S.C.§ 2254. Mr. Bradford is incarcerated at
the Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility in Ionia,
Michigan. He challenges his convictions for armed
robbery, first-degree home invasion, delivery/manufacture of
less than five kilograms of marijuana, and possession of a
firearm during the commission of a felony, raising the
following claims: (1) the evidence presented by the
prosecutor was insufficient to establish guilt beyond a
reasonable doubt; (2) his sentence does not comport with
applicable law or due process; and (3) defense counsel was
ineffective. Respondent, through the Attorney General's
Office, has filed an answer in opposition to the petition,
arguing that Mr. Bradford's claims are meritless. For the
reasons set forth below, the Court denies the petition and
denies a certificate of appealability.
Bradford's convictions arise from a home invasion and
robbery at a home on Ilene Street in Detroit. Marcus Davis, a
ten-year old resident of the home, testified that on February
15, 2013, he was home with his brother Tyree Stokes, his
sister Telease Crooks, and her children Anya, Kamya, and
Jaylyn, when someone knocked on the side door. Tyree answered
the door and a man walked in pointing a gun at Tyree's
head. Marcus ran out the front door and went to a
friend's house, where the friend's father called the
police. City of Detroit Police Officer Brandolyn Johnson
interviewed Marcus that evening. She described him as
"hysterical and very frantic." ECF 9-5, PgID 307.
Passalacqua, a City of Detroit Police Officer, was one of the
first responders on the scene. She knocked on the front door,
saw it open briefly and then slam shut. Officer Passalacqua
testified that she heard glass breaking upstairs and saw a
.22 caliber handgun come out of the window. Officer Joshua
Christian arrived at around 10:00 p.m. and approached the
side door, where he heard someone call for help. He entered
the unlocked door and saw a woman and children lying on the
floor. He testified that the woman told him "they're
upstairs." ECF 9-2, PgID 179. He heard glass breaking on
his way upstairs and saw two men standing "unnaturally
close to [a] broken window." ECF 9-5, PgID 324-25.
Officer Christian collected three .30 caliber rounds from Mr.
Bradford's right jacket pocket. Officer Kevin Chub
testified that Mr. Bradford had a backpack containing baggies
of marijuana, a silver ring with 38 clear stones, $207 in
cash, and four social security cards.
Jeremy Johnson, Christian's partner, heard glass
shattering on the side of the house and saw a man trying to
jump out of the window. At trial, he identified that man as
the co-defendant and identified Mr. Bradford as the other
Stokes and Telease Crooks also testified to their experiences
in the home. Tyree described being held at gunpoint while a
taller man and a shorter man rummaged through his things and
took his PlayStation. Telease described seeing the taller man
go through her purse and then walk upstairs. They testified
that both men had guns and ran upstairs when they saw police
Bradford testified in his own defense. The Michigan Court of
Appeals accurately summarized his testimony as follows:
He testified that he went to the victims' house to
purchase marijuana and that Telease invited him into the
house. He denied being associated with defendant Bowman, and
claimed that Bowman was already at the house when he arrived.
He claimed that he and Telease got into an argument over the
price of the marijuana, during which one of the children left
the house and summoned the police. When the police arrived,
he went upstairs because he was scared. He denied
participating in any robbery, possessing a gun, or taking any
property that did not belong to him. He claimed that the
police "planted" evidence on him at the time of his
People v. Bowman, No. 318868, 2015 WL 302761, at *2
(Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 22, 2015).
Bradford was tried with co-defendant Dwayne Todd Bowman.
Following the two-day bench trial, the Court convicted both
defendants of two counts of armed robbery, one count each of
first-degree home invasion, and one count each of possession
of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Mr. Bradford
was also convicted of possession with intent to deliver
marijuana. The Court sentenced Petitioner to 15 to 30 years
imprisonment for his armed-robbery convictions, 10 to 20
years for his home invasion conviction, 1 to 4 years for his
marijuana conviction, and a consecutive 2-year prison term
for the felony-firearm conviction.
Bradford filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of
Appeals, arguing that (1) the evidence presented by the
prosecutor was insufficient to establish guilt; (2) his
sentence did not comport with the law or due process; and (3)
he was denied effective assistance of counsel because trial
counsel was not prepared. The Michigan Court of Appeals
affirmed the conviction. Bowman, 2015 WL 302761. Mr.
Bradford filed an application for leave to appeal in the
Michigan Supreme Court, raising the same claims raised in the
Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court denied
leave to appeal. People v. Bradford, 498 Mich. 873
(2015). Petitioner then filed the instant petition for habeas
relief, raising the same claims presented to the Michigan
Court of Appeals.
petitioner's claims are reviewed against the standards
established by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214
("AEDPA"). AEDPA provides:
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;
(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 proceedings.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).
state court's decision is 'contrary to' . . .
clearly established law if it 'applies a rule that
contradicts the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court
cases]' or if it 'confronts a set of facts that are
materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the Supreme]
Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from
[the] precedent.'" Mitchell v. Esparza, 540
U.S. 12, 15-16 (2003) (per curiam) (quoting Williams v.
Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405- 06 (2000)). "[T]he
'unreasonable application' prong of [the statute]
permits a federal habeas court to 'grant the writ if the
state court identifies the correct governing legal principle
from [the Supreme] Court's decisions but unreasonably
applies that principle to the facts' of petitioner's
case." Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 520
(2003) (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 413)).
However, "[i]n order for a federal court to find a state
court's application of [Supreme Court] precedent
'unreasonable, ' the state court's decision must
have been more than incorrect or erroneous. The state
court's application must have been 'objectively
unreasonable.'" Wiggins, 539 U.S. at 520-21
(citations omitted); see also Williams, 529 U.S. at
409. "A state court's determination that a claim
lacks merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as
'fairminded jurists could disagree' on the
correctness of the state court's decision."
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011)
(citing Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664
2254(d)(1) limits a federal habeas court's review to a
determination of whether the state court's decision
comports with clearly established federal law as determined
by the Supreme Court at the time the state court renders its
decision. See Williams, 529 U.S. at 412. Section
2254(d) "does not require citation of [Supreme Court]
cases-indeed, it does not even require awareness of
[Supreme Court] cases, so long as neither the reasoning nor
the result of the state-court decision contradicts
them." Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002).
"[W]hile the principles of 'clearly established
law' are to be determined solely by resort to Supreme
Court rulings, the decisions of lower federal courts may be
instructive in assessing the reasonableness of a state
court's resolution of an issue." Stewart v.
Erwin, 503 F.3d 488, 493 (6th Cir. 2007) (citations
a federal habeas court must presume the correctness of state
court factual determinations. See 28 U.S.C. §
2254(e)(1). A petitioner may rebut this presumption only with
clear and convincing ...