United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Honorable Gordon J. Quist
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MAARTEN VERMAAT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a habeas corpus action brought by a state prisoner under 28
U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner Detrick Williams is
incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections at
the Saginaw County Correctional Facility (SRF) in Freeland,
Michigan. Petitioner pleaded guilty in the Muskegon County
Circuit Court to second-degree fleeing and eluding, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 257.602a. On March 11, 2013, the court
sentenced Petitioner to prison term of 7 to 15 years.
also entered a plea of guilty to resisting and obstructing a
police officer, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.81d. The trial
court sentenced Petitioner to one year in the county jail for
that offense. That sentence was to be served concurrently
with the sentence for second-degree fleeing and eluding. Both
sentences, however, were to be served consecutively to
sentences for which Petitioner was out on parole at the time
he committed the more recent offenses. All of
Petitioner's sentences, with the exception of the latest
resisting and obstructing offense, are indeterminate.
Michigan statute regarding parole eligibility affords the
parole board maximum flexibility in deciding when to
terminate the first sentence in a consecutive string of
If a prisoner other than a prisoner subject to disciplinary
time has 1 or more consecutive terms remaining to serve in
addition to the term he or she is serving, the parole board
may terminate the sentence the prisoner is presently serving
at any time after the minimum term of the sentence has been
Comp. Laws § 791.234. MDOC Policy Directive 03.01.135
regarding Discharge/ Termination of Sentence reinforces that
[I]f an offender is serving consecutive sentences, none of
the sentences which are part of the consecutive string shall
be terminated until all sentences in that string have been
Policy Directive 03.01.135 ¶ MM (Eff. 1/23/2014).
Because the system is designed to afford the parole board
maximum flexibility to impose the shortest possible
sentence-the combined minimums-or the longest possible
sentence-the combined maximums-it is impossible to determine
whether Petitioner has even begun to serve the sentences he
is presently challenging.
October 12, 2016, Petitioner timely filed his habeas corpus
petition raising four grounds for relief, as follows:
I. The Sentencing Guidelines were incorrectly scored
regarding OV 9, OV 19, in violation of [Petitioner's]
rights at sentencing under the federal and state
constitutions, Michigan statutes and court rules and
interpretive case law.
II. The factual basis to establish resisting and obstructing
was insufficient, in violation of [Petitioner's] due
process rights which govern pleas.
III. Judicial fact-finding at sentencing based on less than
proof beyond a reasonable doubt violated [Petitioner's]
Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.
IV. Counsel was ineffective for failing to make proper
objections as to penalties imposed, violating
[Petitioner's] rights under U.S. Const, [AMS.] V, VI,
XIV; Const 1963, Art 1, §§ 17, 20.
ECF No. 1, PageID.13.) Respondent has filed an answer to the
petition (ECF No. 10) stating that the grounds should be
denied because they are non-cognizable and/or meritless. 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
non-cognizable or meritless. Accordingly, I recommend that
the petition be denied.
the early morning hours of September 22, 2012, a police
officer drove up behind Petitioner in his vehicle. (Plea
Hr'g Tr., ECF No. 11-2, PageID.112.) The officer observed
Petitioner turning right on a red light without coming to a
full stop. (Pet'r's Appl. for Leave to Appeal, ECF
No. 11-4, PageID.144.) The officer turned on his overhead
lights to signal Petitioner to pull over. (Plea Hr'g Tr.,
ECF No. 11-2, PageID.112.) Petitioner stopped his car, but
when the officer approached Petitioner's vehicle,
Petitioner drove away. (Pet'r's Appl. for Leave to
Appeal, ECF No. 11-4, PageID.144.) Petitioner eluded the
police for a period of time, driving at a high rate of speed.
(Plea Hr'g Tr., ECF No. 11-2, PageID.113.) Eventually he
stopped the car and ran away on foot. (Id.) The
police chased Petitioner and ultimately took him into
custody. (Pet'r's Appl. for Leave to Appeal, ECF No.
prosecutor charged Petitioner with fleeing and eluding, two
counts of resisting and obstructing, operating on a suspended
license, and alcohol-open container. (Muskegon Cty. Cir. Ct.
Docket Sheet, ECF No. 11-1, PageID.91.) They also provided
notice that Petitioner would be penalized as a habitual
offender-fourth offense, Mich. Comp. Laws § 769.12.
to trial, Petitioner and his counsel negotiated a plea with
the prosecutor. In exchange for Petitioner's plea of
guilty to one count of fleeing and eluding and one count of
resisting and obstructing, and acknowledgement of
Petitioner's prior convictions, the prosecutor would
dismiss the other charges and a civil infraction ticket.
(Plea Hr'g Tr., ECF No. 11-2, PageID.97.) The parties and
the trial court entered into a Cobbs
agreement that Petitioner's minimum sentence
would not exceed 84 months. (Id., PageID.98, 105.)
The Cobbs agreement applied only to the fleeing and
eluding offense, not the resisting and obstructing offense.
with knowledge of the possible penalties and the rights he
was giving up, entered a plea of guilty. (Id.,
PageID.110.) Petitioner admitted that he fled the police at a
high rate of speed even though he knew the flashing lights
were meant for him. (Id., PageID.112.) He also
admitted that he eventually stopped, left his car, and ran
away from police on foot. (Id., PageID.113.)
Petitioner also acknowledged that he had been convicted of at
least five prior felonies. (Id., PageID.105-107.)
there was a Cobbs agreement in place, the trial
court reviewed the guidelines as scored by the MDOC agent.
(Sent. Tr., ECF No. 11-3, PageID.127.) The court noted that
the 84-month maximum minimum fell roughly in the middle of
the calculated guidelines range of 38 to 152 months.
(Id.) The court held Petitioner's minimum at 84
months (7 years) and imposed a discretionary maximum of 25
years. The court imposed an intermediate sanction of 12
months in county jail on the resisting and obstructing
with the assistance of appointed counsel, sought leave to
appeal his convictions and sentence, raising the same four
issues he raises in his petition. (Appl. for Leave to Appeal,
ECF No. 11-4, PageID.141.) Petitioner also sought a remand to
the trial court so that the trial court might resentence him
based on accurate information. (Mot. to Rem., ECF No. 11-4,
PageID.211-212.) By order issued January 14, 2014, the
Michigan Court of Appeals denied leave “for lack of
merit in the grounds presented.” (Mich. Ct. App. Order,
ECF No. 11-4, PageID.131.) The appellate court also denied
the motion to remand. (Id.)
then filed a pro per application for leave to appeal in the
Michigan Supreme Court, raising the same issues he raised in
the court of appeals. By order entered October 28, 2015, the
Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal because it was
not persuaded ...