United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Anthony P. Patti Mag. Judge
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF
E. LEVY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
prisoner Kahri Smith (“Petitioner”) filed this
habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Petitioner, who is proceeding pro se, was convicted
of second-degree murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.317, and
sentenced to 20 to 40 years imprisonment. Petitioner seeks
habeas relief on the ground that he was denied his right to
present a defense and to a fair trial when the trial court
barred presentation of a self-defense theory in the case.
reasons that follow, the Court denies the petition for a writ
of habeas corpus. The Court also denies a certificate of
convictions arise from the beating death of Petitioner's
uncle, Eric Smith. The Michigan Court of Appeals summarized
the evidence adduced at trial leading to Petitioner's
convictions as follows:
On August 4, 2010, defendant beat his uncle, Eric Smith, to
death. Smith had locked defendant out of his house and
defendant was attempting to break in to Smith's house.
While Smith was telephoning people requesting help, defendant
kicked in a basement window, and then he kicked in a door,
entered Smith's house, and beat him in the head and face.
When Smith's son and daughter arrived minutes later, they
found Smith bleeding from his face and unconscious near an
open side door to the house. When Smith's son asked
defendant what happened to his dad, defendant answered:
“I killed that motherfucker.” Smith was taken to
the hospital where he died.
The medical examiner testified that Smith died from several
blunt-force head wounds. Smith had two black eyes, abrasions
on his forehead, and both ears were bruised and had extensive
swelling. He also had bruises on the top of both shoulders
and on the backs of both wrists. The mucous membranes in
Smith's mouth had multiple tears. An internal examination
revealed that Smith had extensive hemorrhagic infiltration of
the soft tissues of the scalp, his brain was extensively
swollen, and he had a subdural hemorrhage, as well as
multiple patches of hemorrhage scattered throughout the
surface of his brain. The medical examiner testified that
Smith's injuries were consistent with being struck by
fists and that Smith “suffered extensive blows
throughout the left side of his head.” Defendant's
defense to the charge was legal insanity, which the jury
rejected. Defendant had requested a self-defense jury
instruction, which the trial court denied.
People v. Smith, No. 309407, 2013 WL 6670897, *1
(Mich. Ct. App. Dec.17, 2013).
filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan
Court of Appeals, raising claims that the trial court denied
him his right to present a defense and that the trial court
incorrectly scored several offense variables. The Michigan
Court of Appeals denied Petitioner's application for
leave to appeal “for lack of merit in the grounds
presented.” People v. Smith, No. 309407 (Mich.
Ct. App. Nov. 28, 2012). Petitioner then filed an application
for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court. The
Michigan Supreme Court, in lieu of granting leave to appeal,
remanded the case to the Michigan Court of Appeals for
further consideration. People v Smith, 494 Mich. 874
remand, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed
Petitioner's conviction, but vacated the sentence and
remanded for resentencing. People v. Smith, No.
309407, 2013 WL 6670897 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 17, 2013).
Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal in the
Michigan Supreme Court, raising the claim that he was denied
his right to present a defense. The Michigan Supreme Court
denied leave to appeal. People v. Smith, 496 Mich.
859 (2014). On July 30, 2014, Petitioner was resentenced in
the trial court. The trial court imposed the same sentence of
20 to 40 years imprisonment.
then filed this habeas corpus petition. He raises a single
The trial court reversibly erred in barring the defense from
presenting a self-defense theory in the case, and thus
effectively precluding any request for an instruction on that
defense theory, contrary to Mr. Smith's ...