United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT
OF HABEAS CORPUS, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY,
& DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON
Gershwin A. Drain, United States District Court Judge
a habeas case brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Michigan prisoner Michael Putman (“Petitioner”)
was convicted of second-degree murder, two counts of assault
with intent to murder, armed robbery, and possession of a
firearm during the commission of a felony following a jury
trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court. Dkt. No. 1, pg. 15
(Pg. ID 15). He was sentenced to 25 to 50 years imprisonment
on the murder conviction, concurrent terms of 15 to 30 years
imprisonment on the assault with intent to murder and armed
robbery convictions, and a consecutive term of two years
imprisonment on the felony firearm conviction in 2013.
Id. In his pro se petition, he raises claims
concerning the oath to witnesses, the admission of police
testimony discussing an anonymous tip, the effectiveness of
trial counsel, and a perceived inconsistency in the verdict.
Id. at pgs. 5-10 (Pg. ID 5-10). For the reasons
stated below, the Court denies the habeas petition. The Court
also denies a certificate of appealability and denies leave
to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal.
Facts and Procedural History
convictions arise from a robbery at a residence that resulted
in the shooting of three people, one fatally, in Detroit,
Michigan on May 21, 2013. Dkt. No. 11-9, pg. 7 (Pg. ID 1057).
Defense counsel on direct appeal summarized the trial
testimony as follows:
Terry Craig stated that Lovanier Craig was his wife. At about
1:30 a.m. May 21, 2013 he received information from their
daughter LaToya Johnson and went to a house on Wetherby. At
about 8:00 that morning he identified her body to the Wayne
County Medical Examiner. (T2 36-39).
Donald Davie stated on May 20, 2013 he was at 8108 Wetherby
with Craig, Lewis, Giddings and Appellant, whom he knew as
"Nephew". Appellant had been there at about 7:00
p.m. Ten or fifteen minutes after he returned he said
"Run that shit", which Davie interpreted as a slang
term for a robbery. He then shot Davie in the chest using a
.38 revolver. Craig got up, tried to run and inquired why
Appellant shot Davie. Appellant replied "I said run all
that shit" and shot Craig in the upper torso. Giddings
ran toward the basement followed by Lewis. Davie then heard
two more shots fired. Appellant then went upstairs, returned
and opened the door. Davie heard two additional voices.
Appellant then took Craig's purse, said "Come on. I
got what I came for" and left. (T2 45-48, 54-60).
Giddings returned from the basement and called 911.
(T261-62). He was hospitalized two weeks. During that time he
was shown a photo lineup, from which he identified a person
other than Appellant, and later shown a second array from
which he identified Appellant. (T2 62-74, 132).
Allecia Wilson is an expert in forensic pathology. On May 21,
2013 she performed an autopsy on Louvanier Craig. (T2
105-108). Wilson located gunshot wounds which entered the
outer part of the right upper arm, exited the inside of the
right upper arm, reentered on the right side of the chest,
traversed the right side of the lungs, the heart and left
side of the lungs and lodged under the skin on the left side
of the chest, where it was recovered. (T2 108-113). [S]he
found the cause of death was the gunshot wound to the right
arm and chest. The manner of death was homicide. (T2 116).
Layman Giddings stated he knew Craig from the neighborhood
and attended school with Lewis and Davie. (T2 133-134). At
about 11:00 p.m. May 20, 2013 he went to 8108 Wetherby to
visit Craig. Lewis and Davie were already present. Appellant,
whom he knew as "Mike" arrived later. (T2 134-137,
167). Appellant was talking to Craig and then held a .32 or
.38 caliber handgun to Davie, said "you know what it
is" and shot Davie in the chest. He saw Lewis stand and
heard another shot. When Appellant turned to Craig, he got up
and ran to the basement. Lewis followed. He stayed there
twenty minutes before exiting. He later returned. Craig was
on the floor bleeding from the mouth and unresponsive. Davie
was slumped on a couch bleeding from the chest. Lewis was in
the basement. Appellant was gone. He used Craig's phone
to call 911. Police arrived forty minutes later. (T2 141-151,
177-183). He did not see Appellant go into anybody's
pockets, drawers or purses. (T2 172). He told the 911
operator he knew nothing, left when the police arrived and
did not make a statement until the next day. He identified
Appellant from a photo lineup. (T2 153-159).
Steven Lewis stated he was friends with Craig and went to
8108 Wetherby to socialize with her. He knew Giddings and
Davie from the neighborhood. He did not previously know
Appellant. He arrived at about 11:45 p.m. Giddings and Davie
were already present. Appellant was present, left and
returned ten to fifteen minutes before the shooting. (T2
188-192). Lewis recalled hearing Appellant say "You know
what this is." He then heard a gunshot. He and Giddings
ran toward the basement. He tripped and fell on his back.
Looking up he saw Appellant stand over him with a revolver
and shoot him. (T2 197-202). Giddings later left the basement
and called for help. (T2 203). He made a police statement,
(T2 210-219), and identified a photo of Appellant. (T2
Detroit Police Officer Jermaine Owens stated that in the
early morning hours of May 21, 2013 he and his partner,
Michael Johnson, went to 8108 Wetherby on a report of a
shooting. (T3 4-5). He saw an unresponsive woman laying in
the doorway; a man lying on the dining room floor responsive
but unable to speak, with blood near his throat and on his
chest. He also heard screams from a man in the basement. (T3
6-8, 12-15). Johnson remained at the house while he canvassed
the area for witnesses. (T3 10, 19). He notified homicide,
who called in evidence technicians. (T3 21).
Detroit Police Officer Rick Fields is an evidence technician.
(T3 23). On May 21, 2013 he arrived to process 8108 Wetherby.
He found two cell phones on the living room floor and a purse
on the table. He drew a sketch. (T3 24-27, 29-30). Partner
Mary Gross took photographs. (T3 29). He did attempt to
collect fingerprints, blood, DNA or other forensic from the
house. (T3 42-51).
Detroit Police Officer Derrick Thomas arrived at 3:25 a.m.
with Sergeant Mackie and Officers Bruce and Mullins. He was
in charge of the scene. The decedent was still present. (T3
56-59). He did not find any weapons or casings. (T3 64). Drug
paraphernalia was spread throughout the house. (T3 66). He
did not direct the collection of any any fingerprints or DNA.
Detroit Police Sergeant Steven Ford was the officer in charge
of the case. The phones were returned to Davie. The purse had
already been handled by others, had no evidentiary value and
was turned over to Craig's family. The bullet recovered
by the coroner was placed on evidence and sent to the S[t]ate
Police for identification and ballistics processing. (T3
85-88). He interviewed witnesses and showed them arrays which
included a photograph [of] Appellant based upon an anonymous
Crime Stoppers tip reporting a person named "Mike"
on Central was the shooter. (T3 90-102, 129-133).
Following Appellant's arrest, he was interviewed by Ford,
who was advised of his rights and gave an unsigned statement
that at about 12:50 a.m. May 21, 2013 he left his house on
Central and went with his girlfriend Anna Green to her house
on Bassett where he was with her, her brother Marquise, her
mother and her stepfather Big Ralph. And that two of the
phones in his pocket belonged to him. A third belonged to his
father, but was inoperable. (T3 102-108). As to Appellant and
the decedent. Ford obtained warrants to search the phone
records as to cell towers, owner's information, text
messages and call logs. (T3 109-110). He obtained certified
records of information between January 1, 2013 and June 19,
2013, which included 911 calls at 1:42 a.m., 1:51 a.m. and
1:58 a.m. May 21, 2013 on Craig's phone, text messages
sent by Appellant's phone at 3:04 a.m. and 4:28 a.m. May
21, 2013 requesting urgent assistance and various calls
between Appellant's phone and his girlfriend's phone
on May 20, 21, 22, 23, 15, 27, 28, 29, 2013. (T3 111-124,
Detroit Police Sergeant Kenneth Gardner, an expert in cell
phone forensic analysis, (T3 146-153), stated he reviewed
Appellant's cell phone records and prepared a spreadsheet
plotting the dates, times and locations of the calls placed
by and to Appellant's phone on May 20, 21, 2013. (T3
153-156). According to his analysis, at 1:20 a.m.
Appellant's phone was registered at 7735 Central, the
location of cell tower 110, which is one of three towers
within range of the site of the shooting but quite a distance
away from Bassett Street. (T3 160-17 6). The People then
rested. (T3 181-182).
For the defense, Anna Green stated that on May 21, 2013
Appellant was her boyfriend of eight months. On that date,
she arrived at his home on Central at 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. She
then drove him to her mother's house on Bassett. He
stayed with her there until May 27, 2013. (T3 182-199).
Lenise Bradley stated that she is Green's mother. Bradley
recalled seeing Green and Appellant arrive at her Bassett
Street home at 12:45 a.m. May 20, 2013. She further recalled
seeing them there the next morning when she left to do
errands. (T4 7-14). The Defense then rested (T4 17).
Dkt. No. 11-9, pgs. 7-10 (Pg. ID 1057-60).
his convictions and sentencing, Petitioner filed an appeal of
right with the Michigan Court of Appeals raising the same
claims presented on habeas review. Dkt. No. 11-9, pg. 31 (Pg.
ID 1081). The court denied relief on those claims and
affirmed his convictions. People v. Putman, 309
Mich.App. 240 (2015); Dkt. No. 11-9 pgs. 25-30 (Pg. ID
1075-80). Petitioner filed an application for leave to appeal
with the Michigan Supreme Court, which was denied in a
standard order. People v. Putman, 868 N.W.2d 636
thereafter filed his federal habeas petition on July 19,
2016. Dkt. No. 1. He raises the following claims:
I. He was denied a fair trial where witnesses were never
sworn to testify under oath pursuant to MRE 603; MCL 600.1432
thereby denying him his constitutional right to due process
of law ...