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Harris v. Bauman

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

March 20, 2018




         This is a habeas corpus action brought by a state prisoner under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Promptly after the filing of a petition for habeas corpus, the Court must undertake a preliminary review of the petition to determine whether “it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court.” Rule 4, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases; see 28 U.S.C. § 2243. If so, the petition must be summarily dismissed. Rule 4; see Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970) (district court has the duty to “screen out” petitions that lack merit on their face). A dismissal under Rule 4 includes those petitions which raise legally frivolous claims, as well as those containing factual allegations that are palpably incredible or false. Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436-37 (6th Cir. 1999). After undertaking the review required by Rule 4, the Court concludes that the petition must be dismissed because it fails to raise a meritorious federal claim.


         I. Factual allegations

         Petitioner Issac Decrais Harris is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections at the Alger Correctional Facility (LMF) in Munising, Michigan. On July 8, 2014, an Ionia County Circuit Court accepted Petitioner's guilty plea with regard to the charge of “prisoner possessing weapons.” On August 19, 2014, the court imposed a sentence of 14 months to 5 years. Petitioner's subsequent motion to correct sentence and state habeas corpus motions were denied.

         On July 31, 2017, Petitioner filed his habeas corpus petition. Under Sixth Circuit precedent, the application is deemed filed when handed to prison authorities for mailing to the federal court. Cook v. Stegall, 295 F.3d 517, 521 (6th Cir. 2002). Petitioner placed his petition in the prison mailing system on July 27, 2017. (Pet., ECF No. 1, PageID.11.)

         The amended petition raises a single ground for relief, stating that the state court magistrate violated the 14-day rule without giving any explanation for the violation. (Am. Pet., ECF No.5, PageID.44.) Petitioner's state habeas corpus action raised the identical claim. In Petitioner's state habeas action, the Saginaw County Circuit Court stated:

Petitioner pleaded guilty to prisoner possessing weapons; he received a sentence of 14 months to five years in prison. Petitioner was already incarcerated due to an armed robbery conviction; his earliest release date is 2021. In the instant petition, Petitioner argues that his preliminary hearing occurred more than 14 days after his arraignment. Petitioner argues that this causes everything that occurred prior to the preliminary hearing to become void. The argument, however, is without merit.
Our Supreme Court has held that when a preliminary hearing occurs more than 12 days after a Defendant's arraignment, the defendant must be discharged without prejudice to the prosecutor's right to later initiate an action against him. People v. Weston, 413 Mich. 371, 372; 319 N.W.2d 537 (1982); See also MCL 766.4. In this case, however, unlike in Weston, Defendant was already incarcerated on other charges. Thus, Defendant would not be discharged as he was already incarcerated. Further, Defendant has cited no case that holds that conducting a preliminary hearing more than 14 days after arraignment robs the Court of its jurisdiction. The Court notes that a habeas proceeding cannot serve as a substitute for an appeal and that even an erroneous judgment does not necessarily render the proceeding void and may not be collaterally attacked in a habeas proceeding. People v. Price, 23 Mich.App. 663, 669; 179 N.W.2d 117 (1970); Triplett v. Deputy Warden, 142 Mich.App. 774, 780-81; 371 N.W.2d 862 (1985). Thus, because Petitioner has not established that a radical defect in jurisdiction existed, the Petitioner [sic] for Writ of Habeas Corpus must be denied.

(Pet., ECF No. 1-1, PageID.20-PageID.21.)

         Petitioner's subsequent filings in the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court were denied for failure to pay the partial filing fee. Petitioner now seeks habeas relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

         II. AEDPA standard

         This action is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (AEDPA). The AEDPA “prevents federal habeas ‘retrials'” and ensures that state court convictions are given effect to the extent possible under the law. Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 693-94 (2002). An application for 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). This standard is “intentionally difficult to meet.” Woods v. Donald, 575 U.S. __, 135 S.Ct. 1372');">135 S.Ct. 1372, 1376 (2015) (internal quotation omitted).

         The AEDPA limits the source of law to cases decided by the United States Supreme Court. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). This Court may consider only the “clearly established” holdings, and not the dicta, of the Supreme Court. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412 (2000); Bailey v. Mitchell, 271 F.3d 652, 655 (6th Cir. 2001). In determining whether federal law is clearly established, the Court may not consider the decisions of lower federal courts. Lopez v. Smith, 135 S.Ct. 1, 3 (2014); Bailey, 271 F.3d at 655. Moreover, “clearly established Federal law” does not include decisions of the Supreme Court announced after the last adjudication of the merits in state court. Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34 (2011). Thus, the inquiry is limited to an examination of the legal landscape as it would have ...

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