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Williams-Johnson v. Skipper

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

April 2, 2018

KENDALL WILLIAMS-JOHNSON, Petitioner,
v.
GREG SKIPPER, Respondent.

          OPINION

          Paul L. Maloney United States District Judge

         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.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Petitioner Kendall Williams-Johnson is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections at the Michigan Reformatory (RMI) in Ionia, Michigan. Petitioner pleaded guilty in the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court to one count of assault with intent to rob while armed, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.89, and one count of first-degree home invasion, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.110a(2). On June 8, 2015, the court sentenced Petitioner to respective prison terms of 12 to 30 years and 5 years, 6 months to 20 years.

         On March 14, 2018, 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 March 14, 2018. (Pet, ECF No. 1, PageJD. 14.)

         The petition raises two grounds for relief, as follows:

I. Entitled to correction of invalid sentence and resentencing because the scoring of OV4 at 10 points was inaccurate.
II. Invalid scoring of OV19 at 10 points was inaccurate and not based on a preponderance of the evidence that I failed to comply with the police[.]

(Pet., ECF No.l, PageID.6-7.)

         Petitioner raised the same two grounds in his applications for leave to appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court. Those courts denied leave to appeal on December 4, 2015, and June 7, 2017.

         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 appeared to the ...


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