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Rose v. Woods

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

December 19, 2017

WILLIE ROSE, #235893, Petitioner,
v.
JEFFREY WOODS, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL

          JOHN CORBETT O'MEARA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Michigan prisoner Willie Rose (“Petitioner”) has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus asserting that he is being held in violation of his constitutional rights. Petitioner pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit murder, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in the Wayne County Circuit Court and was sentenced to 16 to 30 years imprisonment on the assault conviction, a concurrent term of one to five years imprisonment on the felon in possession conviction, and a consecutive term of two years imprisonment on the felony firearm conviction in 2012. In his petition, he challenges the validity of his plea and the effectiveness of defense counsel. For the reasons stated, the Court denies the habeas petition. The Court also denies a certificate of appealability and denies leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal.

         II. Facts and Procedural History

         Petitioner's convictions arise from an incident in which he shot his girlfriend in the head in an attempt to kill her, but she survived the shooting. On August 10, 2012, he pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit murder, felon in possession of a firearm, and felony firearm in exchange for the dismissal of additional counts, the dismissal of a fourth habitual offender sentencing enhancement, and a sentencing agreement of 12 to 30 years imprisonment on the assault charge, a concurrent term of one to five years imprisonment on the felon in possession charge, and a consecutive term of two years imprisonment on the felony firearm charge. See 8/10/12 Plea Hrg. Tr., pp. 6, 17. Petitioner also signed a written agreement on that date. See 8/10/12 Settlement Offer and Notice of Acceptance.

         At a hearing on September 26, 2012, the trial court stated that the sentencing agreement fell below the calculated guideline range such that it would not accept Petitioner's plea. The court mistakenly indicated that it had not “accepted” the plea at the prior proceeding. See 9/12/2012 Plea & Sent. Hrg. Tr., pp. 5, 15-16. The court outlined a revised sentencing agreement of 16 to 30 years imprisonment on the assault charge. Id. at pp. 3-4. The court also conducted a new, full plea colloquy during which Petitioner pleaded guilty to the same three offenses in exchange for the dismissal of additional charges and the dismissal of a fourth habitual offender sentencing enhancement, but with a revised sentencing agreement of 16 to 30 years imprisonment on the assault charge (the other sentences remained the same). Id. at pp. 3-15. Defense counsel noted, and the court agreed, that the prior plea should be officially withdrawn, and it was so withdrawn. Id. at p. 15. Petitioner also signed a new written agreement. See 9/26/12 Settlement Offer and Notice of Acceptance. Without objection, the trial court sentenced Petitioner to 16 to 30 years imprisonment on the assault conviction, a concurrent term of one to five years imprisonment on the felon in possession conviction, and a consecutive term of two years imprisonment on the felony firearm conviction. See 9/26/12 Plea & Sent. Hrg. Tr., pp. 17-18.

         Petitioner filed a delayed application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals asserting that he should be given specific performance of his original plea and sentencing agreement and that defense counsel was ineffective for advising him to accept the amended plea and sentencing agreement. The court denied the application for lack of merit in the grounds presented. People v. Rose, No. 314483 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 9, 2013) (unpublished). Petitioner also filed an application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, which was denied in a standard order. People v. Rose, 495 Mich. 978, 843 N.W.2d 764 (2014).

         Petitioner thereafter filed his federal habeas petition. He raises the following claims:

I. He is entitled to specific performance of his original plea and sentencing agreement.
II. He received ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of his state and federal constitutional rights.

         Respondent has filed an answer to the petition contending that it should be denied for lack of merit. Petitioner has filed a reply to that answer.

         III. Standard of Review

         Federal law imposes the following standard of review for habeas cases:

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 ...

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