United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS, DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF
APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA
HONORABLE NANCY G. EDMUNDS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Wood, ("Petitioner"), confined at the Oaks
Correctional Facility in Manistee, Michigan, filed a pro
se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254, in which he challenges his sentence on
one count of second-degree murder, M.C.LA. § 750.317.
For the reasons that follow, the petition for a writ of
habeas corpus is DENIED.
conviction stems from his involvement in the intentionally
setting of a fire at an apartment complex in September of
2005. The fire caused the death of a 25-year old woman and
her 7-year old daughter. The intent of the fire was to
"flush out" Gregory Baines from the apartment. The
fire did not kill Baines, who was gunned down the following
day at a local night club. Petitioner was charged with the
shooting of Gregory Baines and Curtis Wade in a separate
case, No. 08-22538-FC. Due to evidentiary issues, the
prosecutor later brought charges for the conspiracy, first
degree felony murder, second degree murder, and arson of a
dwelling house in a separate case which is now before this
Court. Petitioner accepted a plea in both cases.
to Petitioner's no contest plea to one count of second
degree murder (now before this Court), Petitioner entered a
guilty plea on March 1, 2013, in Case Number 08-22538-FC, to
second degree murder for the shooting deaths of Gregory
Baines and Curtis Wade. He was sentenced pursuant to a
Cobb's  agreement within the manslaughter
sentencing guideline range to a minimum term of 100 months
and a maximum term of 22 years, with credit for 1930 days.
case now before this Court, Petitioner entered a no contest
plea on June 5, 2013, to one count of second degree murder,
in exchange for the dismissal of the original charges brought
against him. (T. 6/5/2013, pp. 3, 11-13). Petitioner also
entered into an agreement with the Court where the maximum
sentence would not exceed twenty-two years in prison.
(Id. at pp. 10, 12, 16). The Court sentenced
Petitioner on June 26, 2013, to a minimum of 14 and 2/3 years
to 22 years in prison with credit for 1002 days, to run
concurrently with Case Number 08-22538-FC. (T. 6/26/2013, p.
24). On the minimum sentence, the Court departed downward
from the guideline range, indicating that Petitioner's
cooperation in this and other cases lead to "the
apprehension of nearly three dozen individuals involved in
the so called Pierson Hood." (Id. at pp.
December 23, 2013, Petitioner through appellate counsel filed
a delayed application for leave to appeal alleging that
"The trial court erred by denying the additional days of
jail credit." Petitioner's conviction was affirmed
on appeal. People v. Wood, No. 319741 (Mich.Ct.App.
Jan. 24, 2014); Iv. den. 847 N.W.2d 625 (Mich.
7, 2015, Petitioner, through counsel, filed a motion for
relief from judgment raising his jail credit claim and claims
of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.
Petitioner's post-conviction motion for relief from
judgment was denied. People v. Wood, No. 12-
30814-FC (Genesee County Cir. Ct., Aug. 25, 2015). The
Michigan appellate courts denied Petitioner leave to appeal.
People v. Wood, No. 329237 (Mich.CtApp. Dec. 21,
2015); Iv. den. 877 N.W.2d 884 (2016). Petitioner
seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds:
I. The trial court erred by finding it did not have the
discretion to award the additional jail credit and violated
Petitioner's right to Due Process and Equal Protection by
failing to modify the sentence to reflect the additional jail
II. Ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.
Standard of Review
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:
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;
(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.
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)). 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.
raised his first claim on his direct appeal. The Michigan
Court of Appeals denied Petitioner's application for
leave to appeal in a form order "for lack of merit in
the grounds presented." The Michigan Supreme Court
subsequently denied Petitioner leave to appeal in a standard
form order without any extended discussion. Determining
whether a state court's decision resulted from an
unreasonable legal or factual conclusion, as would warrant
federal habeas relief, does not require that there be an
opinion from the state court that explains the state
court's reasoning. Harrington, 562 U.S. at 98.
"Where a state court's decision is unaccompanied by
an explanation, the habeas petitioner's burden still must
be met by showing there was no reasonable basis for the state
court to deny relief." Id. In fact, when a
habeas petitioner has presented a federal claim to a state
court and that state court has denied relief, "it may be
presumed that the state court adjudicated the claim on the
merits in the absence ...