United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING THE HABEAS PETITION
(DKT. 4), DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY,
AND GRANTING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
A. GOLDSMITH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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
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).
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
Exhaustion of State ...