United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
TERRANCE L. THOMAS, Petitioner,
MARK MCCULLICK, Respondent.
ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
OR LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
L. LUDINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
15, 2018, Petitioner Terrance L. Thomas, presently confined
at the St. Louis Correctional Facility in St. Louis,
Michigan, filed a pro se application for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. ECF No. 1.
Petitioner pled no contest in the Oakland County Circuit
Court to the offenses of assault with intent to murder, Mich.
Comp Laws § 750.83, felonious assault, Mich. Comp Laws
§ 750.82, carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful
intent, Mich. Comp Laws § 750.226, and possession of
marijuana, Mich. Comp Laws § 333.7403(2)(D). Petitioner
contends that his no contest plea was not entered knowingly,
intelligently, and voluntarily. Respondent filed an answer to
the petition on January 2, 2019, ECF No. 7. Petitioner
replied on February 15. ECF No. 10.
to the preliminary examination transcript, Petitioner
attacked a man at a bus stop, stabbing him multiple times in
the shoulder and rib cage and slicing his face open. An
onlooker intervened and suffered a cut to his hand during the
intervention. (T. 3/4/2015, pp. 4-20).
entered a no contest plea to assault with intent to murder,
felonious assault, carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful
intent, and possession of marijuana. As part of the plea
agreement, the prosecutor dismissed the “super”
habitual offender charge, which carried a mandatory minimum
of twenty-five years, in exchange for agreeing to charge
Petitioner under the regular habitual offender
statute. The judge entered into a Cobbs
agreement with the parties to sentence Petitioner to a
minimum sentence of fifteen-years. (T. 2/16/2016, pp. 4-6), ECF
sentencing, Petitioner moved to withdraw his plea, requesting
to be sentenced at the bottom of the sentencing guidelines,
rather than the fifteen-year minimum referenced in the
Cobbs agreement. (T. 3/14/2016, pp.14, 19), ECF No.
8-4. The trial court judge denied Petitioner's motion
finding that there was no basis to withdraw the plea because
it was based on a Cobbs Agreement, which the Court
followed when imposing sentence. (Id. at 20).
conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. People
v. Thomas, No. 334776 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 16, 2017);
lv. den. 500 Mich. 1062 898 N.W.2d 587 (2017).
Thomas subsequently filed an application for leave to appeal
in the Michigan Supreme Court which raised the same claim as
in the Michigan Court of Appeals. On July 25, 2017, the
Michigan Supreme Court denied the application because it was
not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed
by the Court. People v. Thomas, 898 N.W.2d 587
(Mich. 2017) (unpublished table decision).
then had ninety days from July 25, 2017 to file a petition
for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court,
which he did not do. Nor did he file any post judgment
motions before the state court. Thus, his conviction became
final on October 23, 2017 (the 90thday following
the denial of leave to appeal), when the time period for
seeking certiorari expired. Bronaugh, 235 F.3d at
283 (one-year statute of limitations does not begin to run
until the time for filing a petition for a writ of certiorari
for direct review in the United States Supreme Court has
expired). He timely filed his petition on June 15, 2018,
presenting one claim for relief: “The guilty plea is
invalid because it was not knowing and voluntary, in
violation of defendant's state and federal constitutional
rights, U.S. Const., AMS V, VI; Const. 1963, ART 1,
§§ 17, 20.”
provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act of 1996 (AEDPA), Pub.L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (Apr.
24, 1996), which govern this case,
“circumscribe[d]” the standard of review federal
courts must apply when considering applications for a writ of
habeas corpus raising constitutional claims. See Wiggins
v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 520 (2003).
amended, 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d) permits a federal court to
issue the writ only if the state court decision on a federal
issue “was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable
application of, clearly established Federal law, as
determined by the Supreme Court, ” or it amounted to
“an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of
the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.”
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) & (2); Franklin v.
Francis, 144 F.3d 429, 433 (6th Cir. 1998). Mere error
by the state court will not justify issuance of the writ;
rather, the state court's application of federal law
“must have been objectively unreasonable.”
Wiggins, 539 U.S. at 520- 21 (quoting Williams
v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 409 (2000)(internal quotes
omitted)). Additionally, this Court must presume the
correctness of state court factual determinations. 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(e)(1)(“In a proceeding instituted by an
application for a writ of habeas corpus by a person in
custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court, a
determination of a factual issue made by a State court shall
be presumed to be correct.”); see also West v.
Seabold, 73 F.3d 81, 84 (6th Cir. 1996)(stating that
“[t]he court gives complete deference to state court
findings of historical fact unless they are clearly
Supreme Court has explained the proper application of the
“contrary to” clause as follows:
A state-court decision will certainly be contrary to [the
Supreme Court's] clearly established precedent if the
state court applies a rule that contradicts the governing law
set forth in our cases....
A state-court decision will also be contrary to this
Court's clearly established precedent if the state court
confronts a set of facts that are materially
indistinguishable from a decision of this Court and
nevertheless arrives ...