United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING
LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
L. LUDINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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.
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.
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.
[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).
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.
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:
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.
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).
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
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
Williams, 529 U.S. at 405-06.
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.