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McDaniel v. Gidley

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

February 6, 2018

MARQUIS SHANTAE MCDANIEL, Petitioner,
v.
LORI GIDLEY, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER (1) SUMMARILY DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, AND DENYING (2) THE MOTION FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL (DKT. # 3), (3) A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND (4) LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          HONORABLE PAUL D. BORMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         Marquis Shantae McDaniel, (“Petitioner”), confined at the Central Michigan Correctional Facility in St. Louis, Michigan, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his application, filed pro se, petitioner challenges his sentence for three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.520c(1)(f); and one count of using a computer to commit a crime, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.797(3)(e). For the reasons stated below, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is SUMMARILY DENIED WITH PREJUDICE.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner pleaded nolo contendere in the Kent County Circuit Court and was originally placed on probation with several conditions. Petitioner's probation was revoked after he was found guilty of violating several terms of his probation. Petitioner was sentenced to concurrent sentences of one hundred months to one hundred and eighty months on the criminal sexual conduct convictions and eighty months to one hundred and twenty months on the using a computer to commit a crime conviction.

         Petitioner appealed his sentence to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which denied his appeal. People v. McDaniel, No. 326070 (Mich.Ct.App. Apr. 22, 2015). The Michigan Supreme Court remanded the case to back to the trial court in light of the Michigan Supreme Court's decision in People v. Lockridge, 498 Mich. 358; 870 N.W.2d 502 (2015), which held the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines to be unconstitutional. On remand, the trial judge was to determine whether he would have imposed a materially different sentence but for the constitutional error. People v. McDaniel, 499 Mich. 852, 873 N.W.2d 576, 577 (2016).

         On remand, the trial judge reimposed the same sentence. The Michigan appellate courts denied petitioner's appeal. People v. McDaniel, No. 336167 (Mich.Ct.App. May 8, 2017); lv. den. __Mich.__; 903 N.W.2d 583, 584 (Mich. 2017).

         Petitioner seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds:

The trial court sentenced the Petitioner to an unreasonable sentence based on the improper scoring of Offense Variable 11 of the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A petition for a writ of habeas corpus must set forth facts that give rise to a cause of action under federal law or it may summarily be dismissed. See Perez v. Hemingway, 157 F.Supp.2d 790, 796 (E.D. Mich. 2001). Federal courts are also authorized to dismiss any habeas petition that appears legally insufficient on its face. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994). A federal district court can summarily dismiss a habeas corpus petition if it plainly appears from the face of the petition or the exhibits that are attached to it that the petitioner is not entitled to federal habeas relief. See Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1999); Rules Governing § 2254 Cases, Rule 4, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254. The Sixth Circuit indicated that they “disapprove the practice of issuing a show cause order [to the respondent] until after the District Court first has made a careful examination of the petition.” Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 140 (6th Cir. 1970). A district court therefore has the duty to screen out any habeas corpus petition which lacks merit on its face. Id. at 141. An answer to a habeas petition is unnecessary when the petition is frivolous, or obviously lacks merit, or where the facts can be determined from the petition itself without consideration of an answer. Id.

         After undertaking the review required by Rule 4, this Court concludes, for reasons stated in greater detail below, that petitioner's claims do not entitle him to habeas relief, such that the petition must be summarily denied. See McIntosh v. Booker, 300 F.Supp.2d 498, 499 (E.D. Mich. 2004).

         Petitioner alleges that the judge incorrectly calculated Offense Variable 11 of the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.

         Petitioner's claim that the state trial court incorrectly scored his sentencing guidelines range under the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines is non-cognizable on habeas review, because it is basically a state law claim. See Tironi v. Birkett, 252 F. App'x. 724, 725 (6th Cir. 2007); Howard v. White, 76 F. App'x. 52, 53 (6th Cir. 2003); Robinson v. Stegall, 157 F.Supp.2d 802, 823 (E.D. Mich. 2001). Errors in the application of state sentencing guidelines do not provide a basis for granting habeas relief. See Kissner v. Palmer, 826 F.3d 898, 904 (6th Cir. 2016). Petitioner's claim that the state trial court incorrectly departed above the correct sentencing guidelines range does not entitle him to habeas relief, because such a departure does not violate petitioner's federal due process rights. Austin v. Jackson, 213 F.3d 298, 301 (6th Cir. 2000).

         Petitioner relies on provisions of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in support of his sentencing claim, but would not be entitled to habeas relief. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines apply only to sentences for federal criminal violations. See United States v. Simmonds,235 F.3d 826, 834 (3rd Cir. 2000)(holding that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines do not apply to sentences for violations of Virgin Islands territorial law); see also Cummings v. Baker, 130 F. App'x. 446, 447-49 (11th Cir. 2005)(upholding district court's dismissal of state prisoner's ...


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