United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner Roderic
Martez Rooks, through counsel, challenges his conviction in
Oakland County Circuit Court for delivery/manufacture of 1000
or more grams of cocaine, M.C.L. § 333.7401(2)(a)(i),
delivery/manufacture of 50 to 450 grams of cocaine, M.C.L.
§ 333.7401(2)(a)(iii), delivery/manufacture of 5 to 45
kilograms of marijuana, M.C.L. § 333.7401(2)(d)(ii)),
and three counts of felony-firearm, M.C.L. § 750.227b.
Respondent, through the Attorney General's Office, filed
a response, arguing that petitioner's claims are
non-cognizable or without merit. For the reasons that follow,
the petition will be denied.
was convicted of the above offenses following a bench trial.
Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal.
People v. Rooks, No. 307180, 2013 WL 1689277
(Mich.Ct. App. Apr. 18, 2013); lv. den., 495 Mich.
854 (2013); cert. den. sub nom. Rooks v.
Michigan, 134 S.Ct. 1291 (2014).
then filed a post-conviction motion for relief from judgment.
The trial court denied the motion. People v. Rooks,
No. 11-235719-FC (Oakland Cty. Cir. Ct., Dec. 18, 2015). The
Michigan appellate courts denied petitioner leave to appeal.
People v. Rooks, No. 331634 (Mich. Ct. App. May 13,
2016); lv. den. 500 Mich. 933 (2017).
seeks habeas relief on the following grounds:
I. Petitioner was denied due process when the Michigan courts
refused to allow Petitioner to conduct a Franks
hearing, which precluded Petitioner due process and the
opportunity to fully and fairly litigate his claims raised in
his pretrial motion to suppress.
II. Petitioner was denied effective assistance of counsel by
counsel's failure to fully litigate his claims raised in
his pretrial motion to suppress, and when counsel failed to
take available steps to ensure that his only defense witness
would be called at trial, after the court had refused to
grant an adjournment.
III. Petitioner was denied due process when the pretrial
motion to suppress demonstrated that the averments in the
affidavit for the search warrant were false and misleading,
which led to constitutionally tainted evidence being used
against Petitioner at trial.
IV. Petitioner was denied a fair trial when the trial court
denied defense counsel's request for a short adjournment
when defense witness Edward Sims, informed defense counsel
that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right and not
testify, due to the fact that the prosecutor was in the
process of appealing the charges that were dismissed against
Sims, and a decision on the prosecutor's appeal was
expected within a few days.
V. Petitioner should be granted a new trial on the basis of
newly available evidence, pursuant to the test announced by
the First Circuit Court of Appeals in United States v
Montilla-Rivera, 115 F.3d 1060, 1066 (CA1, 1997).
VI. Petitioner was denied a fair trial because the
prosecutor's actions precluded defense counsel from
presenting his only defense witness at trial.
material facts leading to petitioner's conviction are
recited verbatim from the Michigan Court of Appeals'
opinion affirming his conviction, which are presumed correct
on habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). See
Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009):
Defendant's convictions arise from the discovery of
cocaine, marijuana, and firearms during police searches of
his house and separate apartment in Southfield. Both searches
were conducted pursuant to search warrants. Before the
warrants were issued, the police conducted surveillance of
defendant at his apartment complex. During that surveillance,
Detective Paul Kinal observed defendant engage in a
hand-to-hand transaction in the parking lot. According to
Kinal, defendant handed a brown paper bag to Edward Sims, who
was inside a vehicle, and Sims then left in his vehicle.
Kinal followed Sims's vehicle and arranged for another
officer to stop the vehicle. Following the stop, a search of
Sims led to the discovery of a brown paper bag inside
Sims's coat pocket. The bag contained a substance that
field-tested positive for cocaine. The police thereafter
obtained a search warrant for defendant's apartment,
where they discovered various quantities of cocaine and a
firearm. The police then obtained a search warrant for
defendant's house, where they discovered additional
quantities of cocaine and marijuana along with additional
Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence recovered
during the searches, arguing that the search warrants were
invalid because they were based on false or tainted
information. Defendant primarily attacked the validity of the
original search warrant for the apartment, and argued that
all the evidence discovered during the searches of both his
apartment and his house was required to be suppressed as the
fruit of the poisonous tree. Defendant argued that the search
warrant for his apartment was improperly based on information
supplied by an unnamed person without any basis for believing
that the person was credible or that the information provided
was reliable. Defendant also questioned whether the unnamed
person actually existed. In addition, defendant argued that
the search warrant affidavit falsely stated that, after Sims
was arrested, he made statements implicating defendant in
drug trafficking. According to defendant, Sims denied making
any statements regarding defendant. Defendant also argued
that it was improper to consider allegations relating to the
search of Sims after the police stopped Sims's vehicle
because, in the separate criminal case against Sims, the
court determined that the search was ...