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Madden v. Napel

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

April 6, 2018

DESHAWN MADDEN, Petitioner,
v.
ROBERT NAPEL, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE HABEAS CORPUS PETITION [1], DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND GRANTING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         State prisoner Deshawn Madden (“Petitioner”) filed a pro se application for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The pleading challenges Petitioner's plea-based convictions for carjacking, armed robbery, and assault with intent to commit murder. The sole ground for relief alleges that the state trial court abused its discretion and violated Petitioner's constitutional rights when the court denied Petitioner's request to withdraw his guilty plea. The State argues in an answer to the petition that Petitioner's claim does not warrant habeas relief because the state court reasonably concluded that the claim lacked merit. The Court agrees and denies the petition.

         I. Background

         Petitioner's convictions arose from two unrelated cases. In case number 14-9563, the Wayne County prosecutor charged Petitioner with carjacking, unarmed robbery, and receiving and concealing a stolen motor vehicle. In case number 15-0123, the prosecutor charged Petitioner with armed robbery, assault with intent to commit murder, and assault by strangulation. On March 9, 2015, Petitioner pleaded guilty in Wayne County Circuit Court to carjacking, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.529a, armed robbery, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.529, and assault with intent to commit murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.83. In exchange for Petitioner's plea, the prosecutor dismissed the other three charges. The parties also agreed to concurrent sentences of sixteen to thirty years in prison.

         Before sentencing, Petitioner moved to withdraw his plea on the basis that his co-defendant, who had agreed to testify against him in the armed robbery case, had informed him by letter that she lied about everything in his case. Petitioner also stated that he had felt forced to say things at his plea proceeding. On March 23, 2015, the trial court denied Petitioner's motion and then sentenced Petitioner to three concurrent terms of sixteen to thirty years in prison.

         Petitioner applied for leave to appeal on the basis that the trial court abused its discretion and violated his constitutional rights by not allowing him to withdraw his guilty plea prior to sentencing. The Michigan Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal “for lack of merit in the grounds presented.” People v. Madden, No. 329438 (Mich. Ct. App. Nov. 5, 2015). Petitioner raised the same claim in the Michigan Supreme Court, which denied leave to appeal on May 2, 2016, because it was not persuaded to review the issue. See People v. Madden, 499 Mich. 917; 877 N.W.2d 881 (2016). On May 12, 2017, Petitioner filed his habeas corpus petition.

         II. Standard of Review

         A federal court's statutory authority for granting habeas corpus relief to state prisoners is 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 97 (2011). Pursuant to § 2254, the Court may not grant a state prisoner's application for the writ of habeas corpus unless the state court's adjudication of the prisoner's claims on the merits

(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.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

         “[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. Rather, that application must also be unreasonable.” Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 411 (2000). “AEDPA thus imposes a ‘highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings, ' Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333, n. 7 (1997), and ‘demands that state-court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt, ' Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24 (2002) (per curiam).” Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010).

         “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.” Richter, 562 U.S. at 101 (quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). To obtain a writ of habeas corpus from a federal court, a state prisoner must show that the state court's ruling on his or her claim “was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Id. at 103.

         Furthermore, the Court presumes that a state court's determination of a factual issue is correct unless the petitioner rebuts the presumption of correctness with clear and convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Holland v. Rivard, 800 F.3d 224, 242 (6th Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 1384 (2016). In addition, the Court must limit its review under ยง 2254(d)(1) to the record that was ...


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