United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR
RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT [ECF NO. 53]
Page Hood Chief Judge, United States District Court
Anthony Dwayne Washington, a state prisoner proceeding
pro se, has filed a motion for relief from the
Court's dispositive opinion and judgment denying his
habeas corpus petition. Because the motion lacks merit, the
Court will deny it.
1997, a Wayne County circuit court jury found Petitioner
guilty of involuntary manslaughter and felony firearm. On
February 27, 1998, the state trial court sentenced Petitioner
to two years in prison for the felony-firearm conviction and
to a consecutive term of ten to fifteen years for the
manslaughter conviction. The trial court then set aside that
sentence and sentenced Petitioner as a habitual offender,
second offense, to two years in prison for the felony-firearm
conviction and fifteen to twenty-two and a half years in
prison for the manslaughter conviction. The Michigan Court of
Appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions, see People
v. Washington, No. 211409 (Mich. Ct. App. May 15, 2001),
and the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal.
See People v. Washington, 465 Mich. 936; 638 N.W.2d
757 (2001). Petitioner sought post-conviction relief in 2002,
but the trial court denied his post-conviction motion, and
the State's appellate courts denied leave to appeal.
2005, Petitioner filed his habeas corpus petition. He
asserted seven grounds for relief, but then amended his
petition, raising only his three exhausted claims. The
exhausted claims alleged that: (1) the police coerced a
witness into making a false statement about the crime; (2)
trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to (a)
the admission of the witness's statement to the police
and (b) a violation of the State's 180-day rule; and (3)
appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise
certain issues on direct appeal.
28, 2006, the Court denied Petitioner's habeas petition.
The Court determined that Petitioner's first claim was
procedurally defaulted and that his other claims lacked
merit. See ECF No. 42.
eleven years later on June 7, 2017, Petitioner filed his
motion for relief from judgment. He alleges that his state
court judgment of sentence was rendered void and, therefore,
he was not in custody when he filed his habeas petition and
the Court had no jurisdiction to adjudicate his habeas
claims. He maintains that his habeas petition was filed
erroneously and that this amounted to a fraud on the court.
He seeks to have the Court vacate its judgment, treat his
state-court judgment as expired, and order the state court to
nullify his criminal conviction and to expunge the conviction
from all state records.
brings his motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
60(d)(3), which permits a court to set aside a judgment for
fraud on the court.
Fraud on the court consists of conduct: “1) on the part
of an officer of the court; that 2) is directed to the
judicial machinery itself; 3) is intentionally false,
willfully blind to the truth, or is in reckless disregard of
the truth; 4) is a positive averment or a concealment when
one is under a duty to disclose; and 5) deceives the
court.” Carter [v. Anderson, 585 F.3d 1007,
1011 (6th Cir. 2009)] (citing Demjanjuk v.
Petrovsky, 10 F.3d 338, 348 (6th Cir. 1993)). Petitioner
has the burden of proving existence of fraud on the court by
clear and convincing evidence. Id. at 1011-12
(citing Info-Hold, Inc. v. Sound Merch.,
Inc., 538 F.3d 448, 454 (6th Cir. 2008)).
Johnson v. Bell, 605 F.3d 333, 339 (6th Cir. 2010).
contention that his state-court judgment was vacated is
misleading. It is true that the trial court initially
sentenced Petitioner to imprisonment for ten to fifteen years
for involuntary manslaughter and then vacated that sentence.
See Mot. for Relief from J., Ex. A. But the court
immediately re-sentenced Petitioner as a habitual offender
under Mich. Comp. Laws § 769.10 to imprisonment for
fifteen to twenty-two and a half years. See id.
Thus, Petitioner was in custody under a valid state-court
judgment when he filed his habeas petition, and this Court
had jurisdiction to adjudicate his claims. No fraud on the
court occurred. Accordingly, the Court denies
Petitioner's motion for relief from judgment (ECF No.
Denial of a Certificate of Appealability
extent a certificate of appealability is necessary to appeal
this Court's decision, the Court notes that a certificate
of appealability may issue “only if the applicant has
made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional
right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). An applicant must
show that reasonable jurists could debate whether the
pleading could have been resolved differently or that the