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Clark v. Brewer

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

May 8, 2018

KYLE K. CLARK, Petitioner,
v.
SHAWN BREWER, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS [1] AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Through counsel, Petitioner Kyle Clark filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus. He challenges his convictions for third-degree criminal sexual conduct and domestic violence on three grounds: (1) the prosecution violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); (2) his right to counsel was violated during a competency hearing; and (3) ineffective assistance of defense counsel. Respondent argues that Clark's claims are meritless. The Court will deny Clark's petition and will deny him a certificate of appealability.

         BACKGROUND

         Clark's convictions arose from an assault of victim, H.M., in their home in Saline, Michigan. The Michigan Court of Appeals extensively reviewed the circumstances leading to Clark's conviction. See People v. Clark, No. 313121, 2014 WL 2795855, at *1-2 (Mich. Ct. App. June 19, 2014), rev'd in part, People v. Clark, 498 Mich. 858 (2015). Specifically, Clark and H.M. lived together for a number of years, the two argued, and then H.M. attempted to end the relationship. At that point, Clark pushed H.M. upstairs to the bedroom, choked her, and anally raped her.

         A jury in Washtenaw County Circuit Court convicted Clark of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.520b(1)(b), [1] and domestic violence, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.81(2). On October 3, 2012, Clark was sentenced to 10 to 15 years for third-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction and 93 days for the domestic violence conviction.

         Clark appealed his conviction challenging the scoring of his sentence. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Clark's conviction and sentence. People v. Clark, No. 313121, 2014 WL 2795855 (Mich. Ct. App. June 19, 2014), rev'd in part, People v. Clark, 498 Mich. 858 (2015). Clark sought leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, but the Michigan Supreme Court vacated the sentence and remanded the case to the trial court for resentencing based on the scoring of his sentence. People v. Clark, 498 Mich. 858 (2015). The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal in all other respects. Id.

         The trial resentenced Clark on January 29, 2016. He received 10 to 15 years' imprisonment for the third-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction. He filed an appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals, which affirmed the sentence. People v. Clark, No. 332216, 2017 WL 2882546 (Mich. Ct. App. July 6, 2017). Clark did not seek leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court.

         Clark then filed his petition for a writ of habeas corpus raising three claims: (1) the prosecution violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); (2) his right to counsel was violated during a competency hearing; and (3) ineffective assistance of defense counsel.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Court reviews the case under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). Under the AEDPA, a state prisoner is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus only if he can show that the state court's adjudication of his claims-

(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 proceedings.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

         A state court's decision is "contrary to" clearly established law if: (1) it "applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth" in Supreme Court cases, or (2) it "confronts" a set of materially indistinguishable facts from those of a decision of the Supreme Court but "nevertheless arrives at a result different from that precedent." Mitchell v. Esparza, 540 U.S. 12, 15-16 (2003) (quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000)).

         A state court's decision is an "unreasonable determination" if it correctly identifies the "governing legal principle" from the Supreme Court, but "unreasonably applies that principle to the facts" of the case. Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 520 (2003) (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 413). The decision cannot be merely incorrect or erroneous, but must be "objectively unreasonable." Id. at 520-21 (citation omitted); see also Williams, 529 U.S. at 409.

         If the state court determined that a claim lacks merit, that finding "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 ...


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