Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Williams v. Burt

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

March 8, 2018

Maurice Williams, # 612039, Petitioner,
v.
S. L. Burt, Respondent.

          Honorable Paul L. Maloney Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          PHILLIP J. GREEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This is a habeas corpus proceeding brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner's convictions arise out of an incident during which petitioner, Timothy Sanders, and Fitzpatrick Blakely beat and robbed the victim, Anthony “Tony” Givans. Witness testimony and DNA evidence showed that petitioner hit Tony Givans in the head four times with a baseball bat. On June 28, 2006, a Van Buren County Circuit Court jury found petitioner guilty of assault with intent to commit murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.83, and armed robbery, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.529. The trial court judge sentenced petitioner to concurrent terms of 225 months to fifty years' imprisonment.

         On September 25, 2015, petitioner filed his habeas corpus petition. Petitioner seeks federal habeas corpus relief on the following ground:

The trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion for a new trial when the evidence clearly showed that the suppressed evidence was material and would likely have resulted in a different outcome.

(ECF No. 1, PageID.6; ECF No. 1-1, PageID.28; ECF No. 6-10, PageID.718, 736).

         Respondent argues that the petition should be denied for lack of merit. (ECF No. 5).

         Judge Maloney has referred the matter to me for all purposes, including the issuance of a report and recommendation under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Rule 10 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the District Courts. After review of the state-court record, I conclude petitioner has not established grounds for federal habeas corpus relief. Petitioner has not shown that the state court decision rejecting the ground raised in the petition was “contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States, ” or that it was “based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). I recommend that the petition be denied on the merits.

         Standard of Review

         The Court's review of this petition is governed by the provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (AEDPA). See Penry v. Johnson, 532 U.S. 782, 792 (2001). AEDPA “dictates a highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings which demands the state court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt.” Bell v. Cone, 543 U.S. 447, 455 (2005) (citations omitted). “AEDPA requires heightened respect for state court factual and legal determinations.” Lundgren v. Mitchell, 440 F.3d 754, 762 (6th Cir. 2006). “State-court factual findings [] are presumed correct; the petitioner has the burden of rebutting the presumption by clear and convincing evidence.” Davis v. Ayala, 135 S.Ct. 2187, 2199-2200 (2015) (citations and internal quotations omitted).

         If a state court adjudicated the claim, deferential AEDPA standards must be applied. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see Premo v. Moore, 562 U.S. 115, 121 (2011); Waddington v. Sarausad, 555 U.S. 179, 190 (2009); Holder v. Palmer, 588 F.3d 328, 341 (6th Cir. 2009) ((“[A]ny claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings= is subject to AEDPA deference.”) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)). AEDPA prevents federal habeas “retrials” and ensures that state court convictions are given effect to the extent possible under law. Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 693-94 (2002). It prohibits “using federal habeas corpus review as a vehicle to second-guess the reasonable decisions of state courts.” Parker v. Matthews, 132 S.Ct. 2148, 2149 (2012) (per curiam).

         The AEDPA standard is difficult to meet “because it was meant to be.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011). “Section 2254(d) reflects that habeas corpus is a guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, not a substitute for ordinary error corrections through appeal.” Id. at 102-03 (citation and internal quotation omitted); see Woods v. Donald, 135 S.Ct. 1372, 1376 (2015). Section 2254(d) states that an application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person who is incarcerated pursuant to a state conviction cannot be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court unless the adjudication “(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 upon an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see White v. Wheeler, 136 S.Ct. 456, 460 (2015); Davis v. Ayala, 135 S.Ct. at 2198; White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. 1697, 1702 (2014).

         The only definitive source of clearly established federal law for purposes of ' 2254(d)(1) is the holdings - not dicta - of Supreme Court decisions. White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. at 1702; see Woods v. Donald, 135 S.Ct. at 1377 (“Because none of our cases confront ‘the specific question presented by this case, ' the state court's decision could not be ‘contrary to' any holding from this Court.). “[W]here the precise contours of a right remain unclear, state courts enjoy broad discretion in their adjudication of a prisoner's claims.” Id. (quotations and internal citations omitted).

         An unreasonable application of the Supreme Court's holding must be “ ‘objectively unreasonable, ' not merely wrong; even ‘clear error' will not suffice.” White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. at 1702 (quoting Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 75-76 (2003)). Rather, “[a]s 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.” White v. Woodall, 134 S.Ct. at 1702 (quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. at 103). “[C]ircuit precedent does not constitute ‘clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court, ' ” and A[i]t therefore cannot form the basis for habeas relief under AEDPA.” Hill v. Curtin, 792 F.3d 670, 677 (6th Cir. 2015) (quoting Parker v. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.