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Holoman v. Burt

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

January 29, 2018

SOLOMAN HOLMAN, Petitioner,
v.
SHERRY BURT, Respondent,

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY OR LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          HON. NANCY G. EDMUNDS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         Soloman Holman, ("Petitioner"), confined at the Muskegon Correctional Facility in Muskegon, Michigan, filed a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction for assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, M.C.LA. 750.84; and being a fourth felony habitual offender, M.C.LA. 769.12. For the reasons that follow, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.

         I. Background

         Petitioner was originally charged with assault with intent to commit murder. Petitioner was convicted of the lesser offense of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder following a jury trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court. Petitioner was sentenced as a fourth felony habitual offender to 25 to 40 years in prison. This Court recites verbatim the relevant facts relied upon by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which a re presumed correct on habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). See Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009):

Defendant attacked the victim with a hammer at a mental health treatment facility in Detroit. Before this incident, the facility had banned defendant from its premises because of his frequent and public drunkenness, and penchant for harassing other patients and workers. Nonetheless, defendant approached the center sometime during the afternoon of July 8, 2013. The victim, a patient who also acted as a voluntary employee of the facility, told a security guard that defendant was on the property. Defendant left the building after the security guard asked him to do so.
Several hours later, in the early evening, defendant returned to the treatment center and sat on the hood of an employee's car outside the building. The victim, who had just left the facility, saw defendant and attempted to get back inside, but the door had locked behind him. As defendant came toward the victim, the victim broke off a piece of wood from a pallet to defend himself, just as another employee opened the door to leave the building. According to the employee, defendant told the victim "I should f* *k you up, " and he proceeded to attack the victim, by pulling a hammer from his pants and moving quickly toward the victim. The victim suffered injuries to his arm and head from defendant's assault and required 14 stitches at a local hospital.
Thereafter, the police arrested defendant and the prosecution charged him with, among other things, assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder, pursuant to MCL 750.84. Defendant requested a jury trial, and the Wayne Circuit Court empaneled a jury to hear his case. At trial, the jury heard testimony from the victim, the aforementioned treatment center employee, the doctor who treated the victim, and defendant himself. The victim and employee testified to the above. The victim's account of defendant's assault was further supported by the doctor, who explained that the victim's injuries were consistent with being hit with a hammer, or attempts to avoid being hit with a hammer. The doctor stressed that hammer blows are extremely dangerous and potentially lethal.
Defendant's version of the events of July 8, 2013 differs from the victim's and the employee's. He testified that he visited the center on that date so he could speak with its director about lifting the ban on his presence in the facility. According to defendant, the victim confronted him during his evening visit and told him: "B* *ch, I'll meet you in the back." Defendant believed it would be best to fight the victim, despite his knowledge that the victim had served a prison term for murder. Outside the back of the building, defendant claimed that the victim swung a wood pallet at him, and he picked up a hammer lying on the ground to defend himself. The confrontation devolved into a brawl, which supposedly ended when the victim ran away. Defendant left the scene and did not inform the police of the victim's purported attack.

People v. Holman, No. 321918, 2015 WL 4635057, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Aug. 4, 2015)(internal footnotes omitted).

         The conviction was affirmed on appeal. Id., Iv. den. 499 Mich. 882, 876 N.W.2d 551 (2016).

         Petitioner seeks habeas relief on the following grounds:

I. Mr. Holman is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus where the Michigan Court of Appeals decision is contrary to or an unreasonable application of U.S. Supreme Court precedent when Mr. Holman's ability to present a defense was violated and the trial court forced him to waive his constitutional right to remain silent.
II. Mr. Holman is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus where the Michigan Court of Appeals decision is contrary to or an unreasonable application of U.S. Supreme Court precedent where Mr. Holman's Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to confrontation were violated when prosecutor failed to produce res gestae witness.
III. Where the Michigan Court of Appeals decision is contrary to U.S. Supreme Court precedent Mr. Holman is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus when the court of appeals refused to provide "plain error" review of a constitutional violation [that the jury instructions were confusing and contradicted the verdict form].
IV. Mr. Holman is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus where the Michigan Court of Appeals decision is contrary to and/or an unreasonable application of U.S. Supreme Court precedent when Mr. Holman's sentence violates the Sixth and Eight[h] Amendments and the prohibition on mandatory minimum sentences.

         II. Standard of Review

         28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 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 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; or
(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 proceeding.

         A decision of a state court is "contrary to" clearly established federal law if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). An "unreasonable application" occurs when "a state court decision unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the facts of a prisoner's case." Id. at 409. A federal habeas court may not "issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly." Id. at 410-11. "[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 (2004)). Therefore, in order to obtain habeas relief in federal court, a state prisoner is required to show that the state court's rejection of his claim "was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement." Harrington, 562 U.S. at 103.

         III. Discussion

         A. Claim # 1. The self-incrimination/right to ...


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