United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE HABEAS CORPUS PETITION
, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND GRANTING
LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge.
Jeffrey Krammes, a state prisoner at the Macomb
Correctional Facility in New Haven, Michigan, has filed a
pro se petition for the writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Krammes challenges his
Wayne County, Michigan convictions for criminal sexual
conduct and domestic violence. He alleges as grounds for
relief that certain testimony was improperly admitted at his
trial and that his sentence is cruel and unusual punishment.
The State argues in an answer to the petition that
Krammes' evidentiary claim is not cognizable on habeas
review, that Krammes' sentence is constitutional, and
that the state appellate court reasonably denied relief on
both of Krammes' claims. The Court agrees that
Krammes' claims do not warrant habeas relief.
Accordingly, the habeas petition will be denied.
was charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 750.520c(1)(b), and domestic violence,
Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.81(2). The charges arose from an
incident that occurred in Krammes' home on July 11, 2012,
in Woodhaven, Michigan. Krammes was tried before a jury in
Wayne County Circuit Court, where
the victim and defendant's girlfriend testified to the
following facts. Defendant awoke his 14-year-old daughter,
the victim, in the early morning to watch television. The
victim and defendant were in defendant's home, where the
victim lived with defendant and defendant's girlfriend.
Defendant and the victim lay down together on the couch.
Defendant pulled down the victim's shorts, got on top of
her, and began touching her genitals with his genitals.
Defendant then penetrated the victim and began having
intercourse with her. Defendant's girlfriend, who had
been asleep upstairs, came downstairs and witnessed defendant
and the victim having intercourse. Defendant's girlfriend
contacted the police later that morning. In addition to the
victim and defendant's girlfriend, defendant's older
daughter testified that defendant had committed sexual acts
against her 20 years before. Defendant testified on his own
behalf, and denied any sexual contact or penetration with the
victim or his older daughter. Defendant asserted that his
girlfriend reported him to police because he had ended their
relationship the morning after the alleged incident because
she had a drug addiction. Defendant further stated that he
was convicted after taking a plea for the sexual assault of
his older daughter, and served three and a half years in
prison. According to defendant, he took a plea to avoid
losing custody of his older daughter.
People v. Krammes, No. 314386, 2014 WL 2881155, at
*1 (Mich. Ct. App. June 24, 2014).
domestic violence charge arose from testimony that Krammes
struck his girlfriend on the face with his fist after the
girlfriend witnessed Krammes having sexual intercourse with
his daughter. 11/13/12 Trial Tr., pp. 132, 154-55. Petitioner
also denied that charge. 11/14/12 Trial Tr., p. 94.
November 14, 2012, the jury found Krammes guilty, as charged,
of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and domestic
violence. Id., pp. 144-45. On December 4, 2012, the
trial court sentenced Krammes as a habitual offender, fourth
offense, to a term of twenty-five to forty years in prison
for the criminal sexual conduct and to a concurrent term of
three months in prison for the domestic violence, with 146
days of jail credit. 12/4/12 Sentence Tr., p.28.
raised his habeas claims in an appeal of right, but the
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions and
sentence in an unpublished, per curiam opinion.
See Krammes, 2014 WL 2881155. On November 25, 2014,
the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. See
People v. Krammes, 497 Mich. 905 (2014). On December 29,
2015, Krammes filed his habeas corpus petition.
OF STATE REMEDIES
first claim alleges that the trial court abused its
discretion by allowing the prosecution to present testimony
from Krammes' older daughter. The State maintains that
Krammes did not exhaust state remedies for this claim by
presenting the claim as a federal constitutional issue in
doctrine of exhaustion of state remedies requires habeas
petitioners to fairly present their claims to the state
courts before raising the claims in a federal habeas
petition. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1);
Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 414-15 (6th Cir.
2009). "This does not mean that the applicant must
recite 'chapter and verse' of constitutional law,
" Wagner, 581 F.3d at 415, but "the habeas
petitioner must present his claim to the state courts as a
federal constitutional issue-not merely as an issue arising
under state law." Koontz v. Glossa, 731 F.2d
365, 368 (6th Cir. 1984).
Krammes did not raise his first claim as a federal
constitutional issue in state court, he also has not raised
the claim as a federal constitutional issue here. Therefore,
his claim is plainly meritless, because the Court may
entertain an application for the writ of habeas corpus only
if the petitioner "is in custody in violation of the
Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States."
28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Furthermore, the exhaustion rule is
not a jurisdictional requirement. Castille v.
Peoples, 489 U.S. 346, 349 (1989). A federal district
court may deny a habeas petition on the merits despite the
petitioner's failure to exhaust state remedies for his
claim. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2). Accordingly, the Court
proceeds to address Krammes' claims rather than
dismissing the petition on the basis of Krammes' failure
to exhaust state remedies for all his claims.
to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(AEDPA), the following standard applies in federal habeas
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 ...