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Geeter v. Lesatz

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

May 3, 2018

CHARLES GEETER, Petitioner,
v.
DANIEL LESATZ, Respondent,

          OPINION AND ORDER CONSOLIDATING CASE # 5:17-CV-11510/5:18-CV- 10994, DENYING THE MOTION FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL, DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY OR LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          JOHN CORBETT O'MEARA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Charles Geeter, (“Petitioner”), confined at the Baraga Correctional Facility in Baraga, Michigan, filed two petitions for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, in two separate cases.[1] Petitioner challenges his conviction for armed robbery, M.C.L.A. 750.529; and being a fourth felony habitual offender, M.C.L.A. 769.12. For the reasons stated below, the Court consolidates petitioner's two petitions into a single case. The motion to appoint counsel is DENIED. The petition for writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.

         I. Background

         Petitioner was convicted following a jury trial in the Oakland County Circuit Court. This Court recites verbatim the relevant facts relied upon by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which are presumed correct on habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). See Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009):

Defendant's conviction stems from a Halloween 2008 robbery of a business in Oak Park. An employee, Janice Moore, and a customer, Cornell Barnes, were present at the time of the robbery and both identified defendant as the perpetrator. Defendant approached the counter and announced that he was robbing the store. He also passed Moore a note that read, “This is a robbery and I have a gun. If you don't give me all the money right now innocent customers and staff will get shot during this altercation.” The police crime lab discovered a fingerprint belonging to defendant on the note. Moore identified defendant in a photographic lineup in December 2008, at the preliminary examination, and again at trial. Barnes identified defendant in a corporeal lineup at the Oakland County Jail in January 2009 and at trial. A jury convicted defendant of armed robbery, MCL 750.529. Defendant now appeals as of right.

People v. Geeter, No. 292850, 2011 WL 4949697, at * 1 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 18, 2011).

         Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal. Id., lv. den. 808 N.W.2d 785 (2012).

         Petitioner filed a post-conviction motion for relief from judgment, which was denied. People v. Geeter, No. 2009-225214-FC (Oakland Cty.Cir.Ct., Mar. 21, 2016). The Michigan appellate courts denied petitioner leave to appeal. People v. Geeter, No. 333170 (Mich.Ct.App. Oct. 21, 2016); lv. den. 895 N.W.2d 527 (2017).

         In his petition filed in Case # 18-CV-10994, petitioner claims he filed a state petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Chippewa County Circuit Court, in which he sought the production of a transcript on a probable cause hearing conducted in the 45thDistrict Court in Oak Park, Michigan. Petitioner indicates that the petition was denied on April 10, 2017 in Case # 17-14631-AH.[2] The Michigan appellate courts denied petitioner leave to appeal. Geeter v. Chippewa Corr. Facility Warden, No. 338085 (Mich.Ct.App. Jul. 26, 2017); lv. Den. 908 N.W.2d 289 (Mich. 2018).

         In No. 17-CV-11510, petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, in which he appears to raise the following claims: (1) petitioner's Fourth Amendment rights were violated because there was no probable cause to issue the arrest warrant and complaint, (2) the prosecutor violated petitioner's due process rights by failing to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense that a probable cause hearing had been conducted to obtain the defective arrest warrant in the Oak Park District Court, (3) the information filed in the circuit court did not give petitioner fair notice of the charges against him, and (4) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to move to quash the arrest warrant or complaint.

         Respondent filed an answer in opposition to the petition for writ of habeas corpus filed in Case # 17-CV-11510, which is construed as a motion to dismiss on the basis that the claims are barred by procedural default. See Alvarez v. Straub, 64 F.Supp.2d 686, 689 (E.D. Mich. 1999).

         In Case # 18-CV-10994, petitioner again raises a claim that the prosecutor failed to disclose that a probable cause hearing was conducted. Petitioner also appears to argue that his due process rights were violated because the probable cause hearing was not transcribed. The Court has not ordered an answer from respondent in this case because the claims appear duplicative to the claims raised by petitioner in his first petition.

         II. Discussion

         A. The Court consolidates petitioner's two petitions into a single case.

         This Court consolidates both cases into a single petition because both petitions challenge the same conviction and raise roughly the same claims. A federal district court has the discretion to consolidate different state convictions into a single habeas petition. See e.g. Coleman v. Mitchell, 244 F.3d 533, 538 (6th Cir. 2001).

         Accordingly, the Court consolidates Case # 17-CV-11510 and 18-CV-10994. Case # 17-CV-11510 shall be designated the lead case. All future filings shall be made in Case # 17-CV-11510.

         B. The motion to appoint ...


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