United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable Paul L. Maloney Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
PHILLIP J. GREEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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'
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,
argues that the petition should be denied for lack of merit.
(ECF No. 5).
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.
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).
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).
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).
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
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.