United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER HOLDING IN ABEYANCE THE PETITION
FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING THE
HONORABLE SEAN F. COX UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Watkins, (“Petitioner”), confined at the Ionia
Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan, filed a pro
se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction for
second-degree murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.317,
carrying a concealed weapon, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227,
felon in possession of a firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.224f, and felony-firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.227b. Respondent filed an answer to the petition for writ
of habeas corpus. As part of the answer, Respondent argues
that Petitioner's ineffective assistance of trial counsel
claims are procedurally defaulted because appellate counsel
abandoned the claims on appeal by failing to cite to any
caselaw or make any argument in support of the claims. In his
reply brief, Petitioner argues that any default should be
excused because of the ineffective assistance of appellate
counsel. Petitioner, however, has yet to exhaust any
ineffective assistance of appellate counsel claim in the
state courts. In lieu of dismissing the petition
without prejudice, the petition is held in abeyance and the
proceedings are stayed under the terms outlined in this
opinion to permit Petitioner to exhaust his ineffective
assistance of appellate counsel claim.
was convicted following a jury trial in the Genesee County
conviction was affirmed on appeal. People v.
Watkins, No. 321591 (Mich.Ct.App. Sep. 15, 2015);
lv. den. 499 Mich. 915, 877 N.W.2d 734 (2016).
has now filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, seeking
relief on the following grounds:
I. Is Mr. Watkins entitled to a new trial, where trial
counsel provided constitutionally ineffective assistance in
violation of the United States and Michigan Constitutions[?]
II. The evidence was insufficient to support the verdict of
second degree murder.
III. Prosecutorial misconduct deprived Mr. Watkins of his due
process right to [a] fair trial.
IV. The government failure to investigate and analyze
evidence deprived Mr. Watkins of due process and a fair
V. The trial court abused its discretion when it denied the
defendants speedy trial motion erroneously, thereby denying
the defendant a clearly establish[ed] constitutional right.
VI. The defendant was deprived of his liberty without due
process of law where the felony complaint and felony warrant
are both drafted in conclusion language, amounting to a lack
of subject matter jurisdiction by the court to try the
argues that any procedural default of his ineffective
assistance of trial counsel claims should be excused because
of appellate counsel's ineffectiveness. Petitioner,