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Blann v. Campbell

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

May 1, 2019

CHRISTOPHER BLANN, Petitioner,
v.
SHERMAN CAMPBELL, Respondent,

          OPINION AND ORDER: (1) SUMMARILY DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, (2) DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND (3) DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          HON NANCY G. EDMUNDS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Christopher Blann, ("Petitioner"), incarcerated at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan, seeks the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his pro se application, petitioner challenges his sentence for assaulting a prison employee. For the reasons that follow, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is SUMMARILY DENIED WITH PREJUDICE.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner pleaded guilty to assaulting a prison employee and was sentenced to three to ten years in prison.

         Petitioner's conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. People v. Blann, No. 342435 (Mich.Ct.App. Mar. 26, 2018); leave den. 503 Mich. 887 (Mich. 2018).

         Petitioner seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following ground:

The trial court failed to impose a sentence that is proportionate to the defendant's circumstances and the circumstances of the offense, he is therefore entitled to resentencing.

         II. Standard of Review

         28 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; or
(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.

         A decision of a state court is "contrary to" clearly established federal law if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). An "unreasonable application" occurs when "a state court decision unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the facts of a prisoner's case." Id. at 409. 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." Id. at 410-11. "[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)(citing Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)).

         The Michigan Court of Appeals denied petitioner's application for leave to appeal on petitioner's direct appeal in a form order "for lack of merit in the grounds presented." The Michigan Supreme Court subsequently denied the petitioner leave to appeal in a standard form order without any extended discussion. Determining whether a state court's decision resulted from an unreasonable legal or factual conclusion, as would warrant federal habeas relief, does not require that there be an opinion from the state court that explains the state court's reasoning. Harrington, 562 U.S. at 98. "Where a state court's decision is unaccompanied by an explanation, the habeas petitioner's burden still must be met by showing there was no reasonable basis for the state court to deny relief." Id. In fact, when a habeas petitioner has presented a federal claim to a state court and that state court has denied relief, "it may be presumed that the state court adjudicated the claim on the merits in the absence of ...


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