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Williams v. Brewer

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

June 29, 2018

ANTWAN RAYSHON WILLIAMS, Petitioner,
v.
SHAWN BREWER, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING THE HABEAS PETITION (DKT. 4), DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND GRANTING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          MARK A. GOLDSMITH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Petitioner Antwan Rayshon Williams, a state prisoner confined at the Carson City Correctional Facility in Carson City, Michigan, has filed a pro se habeas corpus petition (Dkt. 4) challenging his Oakland County convictions for first-degree (premeditated) murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.316(1)(a), felonious assault, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.82, and two counts of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony (felony firearm), Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b. Petitioner did not exhaust state remedies for his claims, and he no longer has an available remedy to exhaust. Therefore, his claims are procedurally defaulted. Because he has not shown “cause” for his procedural default or that the Court's failure to consider the merits of his claims will result in a miscarriage of justice, the petition must be dismissed.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The charges against Petitioner arose from a fatal shooting and assault in Oak Park, Michigan on August 27, 2013. The evidence at Petitioner's trial, as summarized by the state court, established that,

[w]hile at home with his friend, Justin Echols, [Thomas] Carr received a phone call from defendant who indicated he needed a ride. Shortly after, Carr and Echols left the home to pick up defendant. Carr and Echols drove toward Oak Park, with Carr regularly receiving directions by phone from defendant to his location. Upon arriving at defendant's location, defendant entered the car with a backpack and sat in the back passenger side. Defendant proceeded to give Carr directions to the final destination, and after driving numerous blocks, instructed him to stop behind a blue van where a school and apartments were located. Once stopped, defendant shot Carr in the back of the head with a gun. Echols escaped after a struggle with defendant. Defendant also fled the scene, leaving the deceased's body and gun.

People v. Williams, No. 322022, 2015 WL 5440304, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 15, 2015).

         On April 21, 2014, a jury found Petitioner guilty of premeditated murder, felonious assault, and two counts of felony firearm. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to life imprisonment for the murder and to a concurrent term of twenty-three months to four years in prison for the felonious-assault. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to a consecutive sentence of two years in prison for the felony-firearm convictions.

         In his appeal as of right, Petitioner argued that the prosecution presented insufficient evidence of premeditation and that he did not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive his constitutional right to remain silent when the police interrogated him. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions after concluding that his sufficiency-of-the-evidence claim lacked merit and that the state trial court properly admitted Petitioner's statements in evidence. See People v. Williams, No. 322022, 2015 WL 5440304 (Mich. Ct. App. September 15, 2015). On May 2, 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal because it was not persuaded to review the issues. See People v. Williams, 877 N.W.2d 890 (Mich. 2016).

         Petitioner alleges that he filed a motion for relief from judgment in which he claimed that (i) the prosecutor committed misconduct, (ii) the trial court failed to grant him an evidentiary hearing, and (iii) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to witness testimony. Pet. at 3 (Dkt. 4), PageID.10. On October 4, 2016, the trial court denied Petitioner's motion. See People v. Williams, No. 2013-248352-FC (Oakland Cty. Cir. Ct. Oct. 4, 2016). Petitioner states that he did not attempt to appeal the trial court's decision because he was unaware that he could appeal the decision. Pet. at 5, PageID.12.

         On April 11, 2017, Petitioner commenced this action by filing a motion for extension of time, and on May 2, 2017, he filed his habeas corpus petition. Petitioner alleges as grounds for relief that: (i) the prosecution allowed perjured testimony to be used against him and knew that a detective used improper techniques to obtain his confession; (ii) the trial court violated his rights by failing to hold an evidentiary hearing; (iii) court-appointed trial counsel deprived him of effective assistance by (a) failing to object to the use of an illegally obtained confession, perjured testimony, hearsay, and a witness's testimony, (b) failing to inform him of the elements of the charges, and (c) telling him that he could not testify at trial; and (iv) the jury was not properly sworn. Pet. at 5-10, Pg ID 12-17.

         Because it appeared to the Court that Petitioner had not exhausted state remedies for his claims, the Court ordered him to show cause why his petition should not be dismissed. (Dkt. 8). In a response to the order (Dkt. 9), Petitioner does not deny that his claims are procedurally defaulted. Instead, he asks the Court to overlook the procedural default on the basis that he is actually innocent of premeditated murder.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Exhaustion of State ...


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