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Dexter v. Barrett

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

March 29, 2018

ROBERT DE'ANGELO DEXTER, Petitioner,
v.
JOSEPH BARRETT, [1] Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          AVERN COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         This is a habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Robert De'Angelo Dexter, (Petitioner), a state prisoner, filed a pro se petition challenging his conviction for prisoner in possession of a weapon, M.C.L. § 800.283(4). Respondent, through the Attorney General's Office, filed a response contending that Petitioner's claims are meritless and/or procedurally defaulted. For the reasons that follow, the petition will be denied.

         II. Background

         The material facts leading to Petitioner's conviction are recited from the Michigan Court of Appeals' opinion affirming his conviction and they are presumed correct on habeas review. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). See Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009):

Defendant is a prisoner at the Cooper Street facility in Jackson. During a search of his person, a prison guard discovered that defendant had concealed a shank in his pocket.

People v. Dexter, 2014 WL 4215091, at *1.

         Petitioner was convicted of the above offense following a jury trial during which he represented himself. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction. People v. Dexter, 2014 WL 4215091 (Mich. Ct. App. Aug. 26, 2014). Petitioner then filed an application for leave to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, in which he appears to have raised the same claims that he raised in his appeal of right before the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v. Dexter, 497 Mich. 1027, (2015). Thereafter, Petitioner filed a habeas petition presenting the following claims:

I. A valid waiver of defendant Dexter (sic) 6th Amendment right to counsel was never effectuated by trial court.
II. Jurisdiction was never aquired (sic) by magistrate to issue an arrest warrant.
III. The arrest warrant that was issued was based solely on a conclusory complaint form violating defendants (sic) 4 and 14th Amend.
IV. The arrest warrant was based upon a conclusory complaint form that is devoid of probable cause pursuant to MCL 780.653; 4 & 14th Con Amendment.

         III. Standard of Review

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) imposes the following standard of review for habeas cases:

         An 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; or
(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.

         A decision of a state court is “contrary to” clearly established federal law if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). An “unreasonable application” occurs when “a state court decision unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the facts of a prisoner's case.” Id. at 409. A federal habeas court may not “issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly.” Id. at 410-11. “[A] state court's 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)). Therefore, 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 ...


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