United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO AMEND HIS
PETITION AND TRANSFERRING THIS CASE TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
AS A SECOND OR SUCCESSIVE PETITION UNDER 28 U.S.C. §
D. BORMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kenneth Karl Williams, a state prisoner at the G. Robert
Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan, recently
filed a pro se petition for the writ of habeas
corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 and a motion to amend the
petition. The petition and proposed amended petition
challenge Petitioner's state convictions for two counts
of first-degree (felony) murder. Petitioner filed a prior
petition challenging the same two convictions for
first-degree murder, and because that petition was dismissed
on the merits, the current petitions are second or successive
petitions under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A). The Court,
therefore, grants Petitioner's motion to amend his
initial petition in this case and transfers the case to the
Court of Appeals for a determination of whether this Court
may adjudicate Petitioner's claims on their merits.
1993, Petitioner was convicted of first-degree (felony)
murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.316, assault with intent
to rob while armed, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.89, and
possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony,
Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b. The trial court sentenced
Petitioner to life imprisonment without the possibility of
parole for the murder convictions, five to ten years in
prison for the assault conviction, and two years in prison
for the felony-firearm conviction. The Michigan Court of
Appeals affirmed Petitioner's murder convictions, but
vacated his convictions for assault with intent to rob while
armed and felony-firearm. The Court of Appeals then remanded
Petitioner's case to the trial court for a recalculation
of sentence credit. See People v. Williams, No.
172911, 1996 WL 33347678 (Mich. Ct. App. Dec. 20, 1996)
(unpublished). On May 6, 1997, the Michigan Supreme Court
denied leave to appeal. See People v. Williams, 454
Mich. 906 (1997). Years later, the state trial court amended
the judgment of sentence to reflect the fact that
Petitioner's convictions for assault with intent to rob
while armed and felony-firearm were vacated on appeal.
See Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus, App. A.
in the year 2000, Petitioner filed a federal habeas corpus
petition, which United States District Judge Marianne O.
Battani denied on the basis that Petitioner had not complied
with the statute of limitations. See Williams v.
Smith, No. 00-cv-60335 (E.D. Mich. May 22, 2001).
Petitioner did not appeal Judge Battani's decision, but
in 2004, he moved for an order authorizing him to file a
second or successive habeas petition. The United States Court
of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit denied Petitioner's
request. See In re Kenneth Karl Williams, No.
04-1170 (6th Cir. Oct. 12, 2004).
subsequently filed post-judgment documents in case number
00-cv-60335. Judge Battani denied the first post-judgment
petition and transferred the other ones to the Sixth Circuit
Court of Appeals as second or successive habeas petitions.
The Sixth Circuit dismissed the transferred documents for
want of jurisdiction.
also filed a number of new federal district court cases,
which were either dismissed or transferred to the Sixth
Circuit as second or successive habeas petitions. See
Williams v. Booker, No. 05-cv-72794 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 11,
2005); Williams v. Booker, No. 06-cv-10787 (E.D.
Mich. Mar. 7, 2006); Williams v. Caruso, No.
06-cv-11739 (E.D. Mich. June 20, 2006); Williams v.
Booker, No. 06-cv-14527 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 1, 2006);
Williams v. Romanowski, No. 07-cv-12897 (E.D. Mich.
Aug. 19, 2008); Williams v. Van Buren Township, No.
12-cv-13595 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 21, 2012). The Sixth Circuit
denied or dismissed the petitions that were transferred to it
about May 12, 2016, Petitioner filed a motion for new trial
in the state trial court. The trial court treated
Petitioner's motion as a motion for relief from judgment
and then denied the motion as a second or successive motion
under Michigan Court Rule 6.502(G). The Michigan Court of
Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal
because Petitioner's motion for relief from judgment was
prohibited by Rule 6.502(G). See People v. Williams,
No. 336612 (Mich. Ct. App. Mar. 8, 2017); People v.
Williams, __ Mich.; 906 N.W.2d 761 (Mich. 2018),
reconsideration denied, __ N.W.2d __, 2018 WL
2050259 (Mich. May 1, 2018).
April 2, 2018, Petitioner commenced this case. He alleges as
grounds for relief that: (1) the state courts erred in
denying his motions for relief from judgment and appeals as
second or successive motions after the state trial court
re-sentenced him; (2) trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to timely request a jury instruction on the
lesser-included offenses of involuntary manslaughter with a
motor vehicle and negligent homicide; (3) his appellate
attorney was ineffective for failing to investigate the
record and file a motion for new trial on the basis that no
oath was administered to the jury before the trial
proceedings commenced; (4) his trial attorney was ineffective
for failing to investigate the record and move to quash his
case on the basis that the arresting agency did not file a
sworn affidavit or complaint before an arrest warrant was
issued for his arrest; (5) his trial attorney was ineffective
for failing to move to suppress all statements and items
seized by the police on the basis that he was not arraigned
within forty-eight hours of his arrest; (6) trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to move for permission to file an
interlocutory appeal regarding Petitioner's Sixth
Amendment right to a speedy trial; (7) trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to object to the trial court's
constructive amendment of the information; (8) the trial
court deprived him of his constitutional rights by denying
his motion for a directed verdict of acquittal after the
prosecutor failed to present sufficient evidence; and (9)
newly-discovered evidence demonstrates that he was denied his
right to an impartial decision-maker.
on May 7, 2018, Petitioner moved to amend his petition. The
proposed amended petition, which is attached to his motion,
deletes claim one of the initial petition and re-asserts
claims two through nine.
Court begins its analysis by noting that [f]ederal law
generally gives habeas petitioners one shot to pursue their
claims in federal court. For petitions filed after the first
one - ‘second or successive' petitions in the
language of the statute - applicants must overcome strict
limits before federal courts will permit them to seek habeas
re Stansell, 828 F.3d 412, 413 (6th Cir. 2016) (citing
28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A)).
2244(b)(3)(A) “requires petitioners challenging state
court judgments to seek authorization in a federal appeals
court before filing a ‘second or successive'
petition in district court.” In re ...