United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a habeas corpus action brought by a state prisoner under 28
U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner Christopher Samuel Nea-Davis
is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections
at the Lakeland Correctional Facility (LCF) in Coldwater,
Michigan. On January 16, 2015, Petitioner entered a plea of
nolo contendere in the St. Joseph County Circuit Court
to two counts of armed robbery, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.529. On March 26, 2015, the court sentenced Petitioner to
concurrent terms of imprisonment of 16 years to 60 years.
with the assistance of counsel, filed an application for
leave to appeal his sentences to the Michigan Court of
Appeals raising just one issue:
I. IS MR. DAVIS ENTITLED TO A RESENTENCING BASED UPON THE
THRESHOLD SHOWING THAT: HIS OV LEVEL WAS CALCULATED USING
FACTS BEYOND THOSE FOUND BY THE JURY OR ADMITTED BY HIM; THE
REDUCTION IN HIS OV SCORE TO ACCOUNT FOR THE ERROR WOULD
CHANGE THE APPLICABLE GUIDELINES MINIMUM SENTENCE RANGE; AND
HE WAS NOT SENTENCED TO AN UPWARD DEPARTURE SENTENCE.
(Br. in Supp. of Appl. for Leave to Appeal, ECF No. 1-1,
PageID.19.) By order entered November 23, 2015, the court of
appeals denied Petitioner's application for lack of merit
in the grounds presented. (Mich. Ct. App. Ord., ECF No. 8-5,
filed an application for leave to appeal in the Michigan
Supreme Court. (Pet., ECF No. 1, PageID.2.) Petitioner again
raised the single issue from his court of appeals brief and
he added several others, paraphrased as follows:
II. Denial of counsel-ineffective assistance of counsel (plus
. . . ineffective assistance of appeal counsel). Defense
counsel did not meet with Petitioner. Defense counsel was
suspended from the practice of law during his representation
of Petitioner. Defense counsel advised Petitioner to plead
III. Investigations of the courts, judge, prosecution,
attorney, police reports and appeal attorneys.
IV. Prosecutorial misconduct & maliciousness.
V. Bias & prejudice of courts.
VI. Rules of Professional Conduct were violated.
VII. Illegal transcripts. (Petitioner claims the court made
things up and picked and chose what to distribute out in the
open and what to cover up).
(Appl. for Leave to Appeal, ECF No. 8-6, PageID.236-301.) By
order entered June 28, 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court
denied leave to appeal. Petitioner did not file a petition
for certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. (Pet., ECF
No. 1, PageID.2.)
7, 2017, Petitioner filed his habeas corpus
petition. Although he identifies three, or perhaps
four, separate habeas grounds, they together simply reiterate
the single ground for relief that Petitioner raised in the
Michigan Court of Appeals. (Pet. ECF No. 1, PageID.6-10.)
April 13, 2018, Petitioner filed a motion to stay this action
and hold it in abeyance pending his exhaustion of additional
issues in the state courts. (Mot., ECF No. 11.) Petitioner
now contends that his plea was involuntary and unknowing
because his counsel failed to inform him of the full
ramifications of the plea. He also claims that counsel failed
to object at sentencing when the trial court added an
additional armed robbery count that should have been
dismissed under the plea agreement.
has filed an answer to the petition (ECF No. 7) stating that
the grounds should be denied because they are noncognizable
and without merit. Upon review and applying the standards of
the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,
Pub. L. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (AEDPA), I find that the
grounds are meritless. Accordingly, the petition will be
denied. Moreover, Petitioner has failed to demonstrate good
cause for his failure to previously raise his new issues and
those issues, too, are without merit. Therefore,
Petitioner's motion to stay will be denied.
underlying facts are not critical to the resolution of the
issue raised by Petitioner; however, some background is
helpful. St. Joseph County Circuit Court Judge Paul Stutesman
described the facts as follows:
This is the fourth of four cases that I've had where
pleas have been entered. And the basic facts contained in the
police report are that police received a 9-1-1 dispatch call
on September 22nd 2014, from Hilda Welton and
Kenneth Welton who were at the Saint Joseph County
fairgrounds where they operated a trailer where they sold
merchandise at the fair, indicating that they had just been
robbed by four people who had weapons; that they had pistols
pointed at them; and they described the people; and it's
contained in the police report.
Mr. Howe-Robert Howe, Mr. Corderrius Cook, and Mr. John
Gregory have all entered pleas at this point where they
established factual [bases] for their involvement and Mr.
Davis's involvement in the events on that day.
The four had traveled from Ohio. They had arrived earlier in
the day-the day before, at least; that they then obtained
outfits with FBI logos, dark clothing.
That they approached the trailer; that one of the gentlemen
went in first, and then there's indications that all four
That there were pistols held to the Weltons and that
their-they were robbed of over $20, 000 in cash from their
That after leaving the Weltons-the Weltons were zip-tied and
bound in the trailer and that they left.
They were able to free themselves and phone the police and
sheriff's deputies or state-a sheriff's deputy, I
think received and saw a vehicle with four gentlemen inside;
made a stop on the vehicle, and all four gentlemen were
Inside the vehicle were weapons and cash and various items
which would tie the occupants to the events that occurred at
the fairground on September 22nd.
That Mr. Gregory then agreed to cooperate with the police and
made statements implicating both himself, Mr. Cook, Mr. Howe,
and Mr. Davis, indicating that it had been planned and that
they had arrived from Ohio and that they had gone on that
date with the intent to commit the armed robbery and did so.
(Plea Tr., ECF No. 8-3, PageID.166-167.)
plea hearing, although he entered a plea of nolo
contendere, Petitioner attempted to present mitigating
facts to the judge. Petitioner claimed that he had not
possessed a firearm. (Id., PageID.162-163.) At
sentencing, the court reviewed ...