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Randall v. Jackson

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

June 11, 2018

PHILLIP RANDALL, Petitioner,
v.
SHANE JACKSON, Respondent.

          ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          THOMAS L. LUDINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner, Phillip Randall, currently confined at the Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Michigan, filed a pro se habeas corpus petition challenging his state convictions and sentences arising out of the robbery of a Big Boy and subsequent police chase. Petitioner alleges four grounds for relief: (1) the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress his statement to a police officer; (2) the prosecution exceeded its authority by filing an information without the magistrate's return preceding it; (3) the trial court abused its discretion by not appointing substitute counsel, and counsel was not prepared for trial; and (4) Petitioner is entitled to have his sentence as a habitual offender vacated.

         Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the habeas petition on the basis that Petitioner failed to exhaust his state remedies for his fourth claim. (Dkt. # 8). In response, Petitioner agreed to abandon his unexhausted sentencing claim. (See Petitioner's Response to Respondent's Mot. at 1-2, Dkt. # 10, Pg ID 710-11). This Court entered an order allowing Petitioner to delete his unexhausted claim and ordered Respondent to file an answer to Petitioner's remaining exhausted claims. (Dkt. # 11). Respondent has filed an answer to the petition, asserting that the claims lack merit and/or are procedurally defaulted.

         I.

         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):

[D]efendant entered the Big Boy, left, and returned 20 to 30 minutes later. Defendant pulled out a gun and told the cashier to give him the money from the cash register. Defendant also took money from the safe in the manager's office. After defendant left the building, a cook at Big Boy looked through a nearby window and saw a four-door red or burgundy car speeding away. Defendant was apprehended after a police chase that resulted in a collision with another vehicle. At the hospital, Defendant told Officer Csizmadia that he robbed the Big Boy.

People v. Randall, No. 314309, 2014 WL 1510157, at *4 (Mich. Ct. App. Apr. 15, 2014).

         On October 23, 2012, the jury found Petitioner guilty, as charged, of the following: (1) armed robbery in violation of M.C.L. § 750.529; (2) conspiracy to commit armed robbery in violation of M.C.L. §§ 750.157a & 750.529; (3) third-degree fleeing and eluding a police officer in violation of M.C.L. § 257.602a(3)(a); (4) assaulting, resisting, or obstructing a police officer in violation of M.C.L. § 750.81d(1); (5) felon in possession of a firearm under M.C.L. § 750.224f; and (6) possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (“felony firearm”), second offense, in violation of M.C.L. § 750.227b. On December 5, 2012, Petitioner was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for the felony-firearm conviction, one to fifteen years' imprisonment for the assault, resisting, and obstructing conviction, and twelve years, three months to thirty-five years for the remaining convictions.

         Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal. Id. The Supreme Court of Michigan denied his application for leave to appeal. People v. Randall, 497 Mich. 904; 856 N.W.2d 39 (2014). On November 20, 2015, Petitioner signed and dated his habeas corpus petition, and on November 24, 2015, the Clerk of the Court accepted the petition. See ECF No. 1. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss the habeas petition claiming that Petitioner raised the three claims to the Michigan Court of Appeals and an additional new issue that Petitioner presented for the first time to the Michigan Supreme Court. In response, Petitioner filed a reply abandoning his fourth claim, asking that his habeas petition proceed on the three claims raised on his appeal of right. This Court entered an order to allow Petitioner to dismiss his fourth claim and ordered Respondent to file an answer to the remaining three claims. (Dkt. # 11). Petitioner seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds:

         I. The trial court erred in denying the defendant's motion to suppress his statement.

II. Under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution appellant was denied the fundamental protection of due process of the law where the prosecution exceeded its authority in filing an information without a magistrate's proper return preceding it, contrary to law.
III. Appellant's Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated where the trial court abused its discretion where (A) upon notice to the trial court the need to substitute counsel and where counsel requested to be removed, pursuant to the breakdown of communication and cooperation, proceeded without a full and fair hearing required by Michigan law denying the appointment of counsel and (B) appellant was forced to go to trial with counsel who did not have adequate time to prepare for trial.

         II.

         The provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (Apr. 24, 1996), which govern this case, “circumscribe[d]” the standard of review federal courts must apply when considering applications for a writ of habeas corpus raising constitutional claims. See Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 520 (2003).

         As amended, 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) permits a federal court to issue the writ only if the state court decision on a federal issue “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court, ” or it amounted to “an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) & (2); Franklin v. Francis, 144 F.3d 429, 433 (6th Cir. 1998). Mere error by the state court will not justify issuance of the writ; rather, the state court's application of federal law “must have been objectively unreasonable.” Wiggins, 539 U.S. at 520-21 (quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 409 (2000)(internal quotes omitted)). Additionally, this Court must presume the correctness of state court factual determinations. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)(“In a proceeding instituted by an application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court, a determination of a factual issue made by a State court shall be presumed to be correct.”); see also West v. Seabold, 73 F.3d 81, 84 (6th Cir. 1996)(stating that “[t]he court gives complete deference to state court findings of historical fact unless they are clearly erroneous”).

         The Supreme Court has explained the proper application of the “contrary to” clause as follows:

A state-court decision will certainly be contrary to [the Supreme Court's] clearly established precedent if the state court applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in our cases....
A state-court decision will also be contrary to this Court's clearly established precedent if the state court confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of this Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from [the Court's] precedent.

Williams, 529 U.S. at 405-06.

         The Supreme Court has held that a federal court should analyze a claim for habeas corpus relief under the “unreasonable application” clause of § 2254(d)(1) “when a state-court decision unreasonably applies the law of this Court to the facts of a prisoner's case.” Id. at 409. The Court has “explained that an unreasonable application of federal law is different from an incorrect application of federal law. 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. See Wiggins, 539 U.S. at 520. Rather, that application must be objectively unreasonable. Id. This distinction creates a substantially higher threshold for obtaining relief than de novo review. ...


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