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Shine v. Deangelo-Kipp

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

June 29, 2018

FERDARIUS S. SHINE, Petitioner,
v.
JODI DEANGELO-KIPP, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND GRANTING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          HONORABLE STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III JUDGE.

         Ferdarius Shine is incarcerated in a Michigan prison and petitions the Court for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Shine's imprisonment stems from convictions for three counts of first-degree, premeditated murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.316(1)(a), two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.83, and one count of possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony ("felony firearm"), Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b. Shine's sole ground for relief alleges that there was insufficient evidence at trial to overcome his insanity defense. There was conflicting expert testimony regarding Shine's alleged insanity, but the state appellate court ruled that the prosecution presented sufficient evidence to support Shine's convictions and to overcome his insanity defense. The appellate court's decision was not unreasonable and therefore, under the "doubly deferential" standard for reviewing habeas claims challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, Shine's habeas petition must be denied.

         BACKGROUND

         Shine's charges arose from multiple shootings at a home on Winthrop Street in Detroit, Michigan on February 15, 2013. The state court described the incident as follows:

Defendant was present for a family gathering that evening at the home he shared with his grandmother and his seven-year-old daughter. Defendant went upstairs, and when he returned, he had a gun and opened fire on all six family members present in the home. He shot and killed his aunt and grandmother, and mortally wounded his daughter, who died in the hospital 33 days after the shooting. He beat his mother with his fists and chased his 16-year-old cousin down the street before she managed to find safety with neighbors.

People v. Shine, No. 321763, 2015 WL 5314879, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App., Sept. 10, 2015).

         Shine was tried before a jury in Wayne County Circuit Court, where his defense was that he was legally insane at the time of the crimes. He did not testify at trial, but forensic psychologist Steven Miller testified on Shine's behalf. In Miller's opinion, Shine suffered from one or more mental disorders and was legally insane at the time of the crimes. But the prosecution's rebuttal witness, Dr. Donna Rinnas, reached the opposite conclusion. She testified that, in her opinion, Shine was neither mentally ill, nor legally insane.

         The trial court instructed the jurors that they could find Shine not guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, guilty as charged, or guilty, but mentally ill. On the first-degree murder charges, the jurors were given the additional option of finding Shine guilty of the lesser offense of second-degree murder. On April 7, 2014, the jury acquitted Shine of one count of assault with intent to commit murder, [1] but found him guilty of the other two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, and likewise found him guilty of the three counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony-firearm.

         The trial court sentenced Shine to mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the murder convictions, concurrent terms of 225 months (eighteen years, nine months) to seventy-five years in prison for the two assault convictions, and a consecutive term of two years in prison for the felony-firearm conviction. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Shine's convictions in an unpublished decision, see Shine, 2015 WL 5314879, and on March 29, 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal, see People v. Shine, 499 Mich. 882 (2016). On July 25, 2016, Shine filed his habeas corpus petition.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA") requires habeas petitioners who challenge "a matter adjudicated on the merits in State court to show that the relevant state court decision (1) was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, or (2) was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceedings." Wilson v. Sellers, 138 S.Ct. 1188, 1191 (2018) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)) (quotation marks omitted). "[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. Rather, that application must also be unreasonable." Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 411 (2000). Consequently, AEDPA imposes a highly deferential standard that demands state-court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt. Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010).

         "A state court's determination that a claim lacks merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as 'fairminded jurists could disagree' on the correctness of the state court's decision." Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011) (quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). To obtain a writ of habeas corpus from a federal court, a state prisoner must show that the state court's ruling on his or her claim "was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement." Id. at 103.

         ANALYSIS

         Shine alleges that his convictions violate due process of law and must be vacated because there was insufficient evidence to overcome his insanity defense. He claims that he proved the defense by a preponderance of the evidence and that the prosecution failed to rebut ...


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