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Davis v. Jackson

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

June 14, 2018

LAMAR TYRESE DAVIS, 418572, Petitioner,
SHANE JACKSON, Respondent,



         This matter is before the Court on petitioner Lamar Tyrese Davis's pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 [docket entry 1]. Respondent has responded and petitioner has replied. Petitioner challenges his convictions for involuntary manslaughter, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.321; felon in possession of a firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.224f; and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony (“felony-firearm”), Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b.

         I. Background

         A Wayne County Circuit Court jury found petitioner guilty as charged of the firearms offenses and guilty of the lesser-included offense of involuntary manslaughter. The 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).

This case arises from a shooting that occurred at defendant's apartment on April 27, 2013. The prosecution presented evidence at trial to establish that defendant left a loaded handgun with his friend, victim Dennis Snyder, to run an errand, while several individuals remained at the apartment smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. Ray Robinson, who was at the apartment, testified that when defendant returned to the apartment, Snyder gave the 9Bmillimeter handgun back to defendant. According to Robinson, at his request defendant removed the clip from the gun and pulled the slide back, causing a bullet to fly out of the chamber. Defendant then placed the gun and clip separately on the living room coffee table. Defendant, Snyder, Robinson, and another person proceeded to smoke marijuana in the living room. Later that evening, Robinson heard the sound of a gun “collapsing”-which he identified as the sound a gun makes when it is being loaded-and he ducked his head down. He then heard a gunshot behind his seat on the living room couch before witnessing a bullet fly out of the wall above him and into Snyder's chest. Robinson testified that Snyder was standing in the living room, pacing, at the time he was shot. Snyder was killed almost instantly. Robinson testified that, as he heard the shot, he noticed that the gun and clip had been removed from the table and defendant was no longer in the room. After the shot, defendant re-entered the room with the gun in his hand.
At a police interview, defendant simply claimed to have taken the gun from Snyder and carried it to the bedroom, where he tripped over a shoe and the gun accidentally discharged. The bullet went through the bedroom door, the bedroom wall, and out the living room wall before connecting with Snyder. Anthony Delgreco, a detective for the Inkster Police Department at the time of the incident, testified that the bullet hole in the door was 5'5'' above the floor, as was the hole in the wall. Defendant never denied firing the fatal shot, but claimed that the shooting was accidental.

People v. Davis, No. 321481, 2015 WL 5568380, at * 1 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 22, 2015) (footnotes returned to the text). Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal. Id., lv. den. 499 Mich. 883 (2016).

         Petitioner filed a post-conviction motion for relief from judgment, which was denied. People v. Davis, No. 13-004358-01-FC (Wayne Cty. Cir. Ct. Apr. 19, 2016) (“April 2016 order”); recons. den. No. 13-004358-01-FC (Wayne Cty. Cir. Ct. May 16, 2016). Petitioner was denied leave to appeal. People v. Davis, No. 333277 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 21, 2016), lv. den. 500 Mich. 982 (2017). Petitioner now seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following two grounds:

I. This court should grant relief where the trial court ruled that trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to request a jury instruction on reckless use of a firearm because it still “may be” and is a lesser included offense of second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
II. The state court lacked jurisdiction over Davis because of defects in the initial charging documents, which were filed and submitted in bad faith and with unclean hands, and which were either “falsely sworn to” or “abandoned with impunity.”

         II. Standard of Review

         28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) imposes the following standard of review for habeas cases:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim-

(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 ...

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