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Daniel v. Burton

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

February 7, 2018

PAUL DANIEL, Petitioner,



         Petitioner Paul Daniel, currently in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, through counsel. He challenges his convictions for first-degree premeditated murder and felony firearm on the ground that the use of an electronic restraint during trial violated his rights to counsel, due process and a fair trial. For the reasons explained below, the Court denies the petition. The Court grants a certificate of appealability in part.

         I. Background

         Petitioner was tried jointly with Peter Lamont Daniel (Petitioner's twin brother), and Leonard Dee McGlown on charges related to the shooting death of Marcus Newsom. Petitioner and his brother were tried before one jury and McGlown before a separate jury. The Michigan Court of Appeals provided this overview of the circumstances leading to Petitioner's convictions:

This case arises from the shooting of Marcus Newsom on February 9, 2002. According to the prosecution, defendants, along with codefendant Cordall Neal, shot the victim in his car at about 9:30 p.m. According to witness testimony, the victim was driving in a red car when a light-colored van either slowed or stopped next to the victim's car at the intersection of Park Street and College Avenue in Adrian, Michigan. Gun shots were heard, and the van left the scene immediately. The victim was found badly injured in his vehicle, which belonged to his sister, and died shortly thereafter in the hospital from multiple gunshot wounds. A few minutes after the shooting, defendants were stopped by police because they were driving in a light-colored van which matched witnesses' descriptions of the van involved in the shooting. Neal was in the driver's seat, defendant McGlown was in the passenger seat, and the Daniel defendants were in the back seat. Later, while retracing the route between the shooting and the location where defendants were stopped, police recovered two revolvers, a pistol, and three gloves that had been discarded in the roadway. Bullets from one of the revolvers were found in the victim's vehicle, and bullets from the pistol were found in the victim's body.
Defendants were subsequently charged and tried for murder. The victim's aunt testified that Neal called her after the shooting. Allegedly, Neal had been trying to shoot the victim's sister's boyfriend, Jamal Bradley, because Bradley allegedly robbed Neal's grandmother and shot Neal's uncle. Both the victim and Bradley frequently drove the victim's sister's vehicle, a red car. Neal told the victim's aunt that he had paid his twin uncles to kill Bradley. According to Neal, defendants had shot the victim by mistake because they thought it was Bradley. Neal told the victim's aunt that he was driving and fired no shots.
After a nineteen-day trial, defendants were convicted of first-degree premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and felony-firearm. At trial, all three defendants were ordered to wear electronic restraints.

People v. Daniel, No. 308320, 2014 WL 3844010, *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Aug. 5, 2014).

         Petitioner filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of Appeals. He raised the same claim raised in this petition and additional claims not relevant to the petition.Petitioner also filed a motion to remand for an evidentiary hearing on his claim that he was prejudiced by the use of restraints at trial. The Michigan Court of Appeals granted the motion for remand and directed the trial court to hold hearing on this claim and make a determination on the record. Following remand, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions. Id. The Michigan Supreme Court also denied leave to appeal. People v. Daniel, 497 Mich. 982 (Mich. 2015).

Petitioner then filed this habeas corpus petition, seeking relief on this claim:
Petitioner Paul Daniel was denied his state and federal constitutional rights to due process, to a fair trial, and to counsel where he was restrained during trial with an electronic device called a band-it.

         Respondent has filed an answer in opposition and the relevant state court records and transcripts.

         II. Standard of Review

         Review of this case is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”). Under the AEDPA, a state prisoner is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus only if he can show that the state court's adjudication of his claims -

(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 proceedings.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

         “A state court's decision is ‘contrary to' . . . clearly established law if it ‘applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court cases]' or if it ‘confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the Supreme] Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from [this] precedent.'” Mitchell v. Esparza, 540 U.S. 12, 15-16 (2003) (per curiam), quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). “[T]he ‘unreasonable application' prong of the statute permits a federal habeas court to ‘grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the Supreme] Court but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts' of petitioner's case.” Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 520 (2003), quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 413. However, “[i]n order for a federal court find a state court's application of [Supreme Court] precedent ‘unreasonable, ' the state court's decision must have been more than incorrect or erroneous ... The state court's application must have been ‘objectively unreasonable.'” Wiggins, 539 U.S. at 520-21 (citations omitted); see also Williams, 529 U.S. at 409. “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), quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004). “Section 2254(d) reflects the view that habeas corpus is a guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, not a substitute for ordinary error correction through appeal. . . . As a condition for obtaining habeas corpus from a federal court, a state prisoner must show that the state court's ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Id. at 102-03(internal quotation omitted).

         Section 2254(d)(1) limits a federal habeas court's review to a determination of whether the state court's decision comports with clearly established federal law as determined by the Supreme Court at the time the state court renders its decision. See Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34, 38 (2011). Section 2254(d) “does not require citation of [Supreme Court] cases - indeed, it does not even require awareness of [Supreme Court] cases, so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the state-court decision contradicts them.” Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002). “[W]hile the principles of “clearly established law” are to be determined solely by resort to Supreme Court rulings, the decisions of lower federal courts may be instructive in assessing the reasonableness of a state court's resolution of an issue.” Stewart v. Erwin, 503 F.3d 488, 493 (6th Cir. 2007), citing Williams v. Bowersox, 340 F.3d 667, 671 (8th Cir. 2003); Dickens v. Jones, 203 F.Supp.2d 354, 359 (E.D. Mich. 2002).

         Lastly, a federal habeas court must presume the correctness of state court factual determinations. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). A petitioner may rebut this ...

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