United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR 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
Derrick Lee Bassett, presently incarcerated at the Macomb
Regional Facility in New Haven, Michigan, has filed a pro
se application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was convicted by a judge in
the Wayne County Circuit Court of carjacking, Mich. Comp Laws
§ 750.529(a), and was sentenced to nine to twenty years
in prison. Petitioner contends that there was insufficient
evidence to convict him and that he was denied the effective
assistance of counsel. The respondent filed an answer to the
petition, asserting that the claims lack merit.
Petitioner's claims are without merit and will be denied.
was tried and convicted with his co-defendant, Aaron Barrett.
This Court recites verbatim the relevant facts relied upon by
the Michigan Court of Appeals, which are presumed correct on
habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).
See Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir.
The victim, Kevin Carter, was acquainted with defendants, who
are cousins, through his friendship with their uncles.
According to Carter, he met up with defendants to give them a
ride at their request. When he arrived, he saw that Barrett
had an AK-47 assault rifle inside one leg of his pants. When
Carter refused to let Barrett bring the weapon into the car,
Barrett pulled it out, pointed it at Carter, and removed the
car keys from the ignition. During the incident, Bassett
urged Barrett to “Give him the K” and added,
“It can go down right here.” Carter ran away,
leaving his cell phone behind inside the car, and defendants
took the car. Both the phone and the vehicle were later
Contrary to Carter's testimony, Bassett testified that
Carter loaned him the car for three hours in exchange for
cocaine. Bassett explained that when he took the car, he
found Carter's phone inside. Bassett used the car and
then abandoned it after learning that it had been reported as
stolen. Barrett did not testify at trial.
The trial court found defendants guilty of the offenses
previously noted. Although the trial court found that Carter
knew defendants “better than he let on, ” it also
concluded that defendants robbed Carter at gunpoint and, even
though they did not intend to permanently deprive Carter of
the car, they intended to take it for as long as they needed
People v. Barrett, No. 328775, 2017 WL 188030, at *
1 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 17, 2017).
conviction was affirmed on appeal. Id., lv.
den. sub nom. People v. Bassett, 500 Mich.
1060, 898 N.W.2d 219 (2017).
seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds:
I. The evidence presented against Defendant was insufficient
to establish all the elements of the crime beyond a
II. Defense counsel was ineffective by failing to notify
defendant's witnesses of the trial and failing to obtain
cellphone records and present them to the court.
III. Defense counsel provided ineffective assistance by
failing to impeach the complaining witness at trial with a
statement given to police.
U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), imposes the
following standard of review for habeas cases:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the adjudication of the claim-
(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved
an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal
law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.
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.” Williams
v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 411 (2000). To obtain habeas
relief in federal court, a state prisoner is required to show
that the state court's rejection of his claim “was
so lacking in justification that there was an error well
understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any
possibility for fairminded disagreement.”
Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 103 (2011).
contends that there was insufficient evidence to convict him
of carjacking because the prosecutor failed to present
evidence that Petitioner and his co-defendant ...