United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S
APPLICATION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DENYING A
CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED ON
APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
BERNARD A. FRIEDMAN SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pro se habeas case brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Petitioner asserts that he is being held in
violation of his constitutional rights. In 2014 petitioner
was convicted of first-degree murder, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.316, and felonious assault, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.82, following a jury trial in Oakland County Circuit
Court and was sentenced as a fourth habitual offender to
concurrent terms of life imprisonment without the possibility
of parole. Petitioenr raises claims concerning the conduct of
the prosecutor and the effectiveness of his trial counsel.
For the reasons stated below, the Court shall deny the
petition, deny a certificate of appealability, and deny leave
to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis.
Facts and Procedural History
convictions arise from the fatal stabbing of one man and the
non-fatal assault upon another man at a residence in
Waterford, Michigan, in January, 2014. The Michigan Court of
Appeals described the relevant facts, which are presumed
correct on habeas review, as follows:
Defendant's convictions arise from the stabbing death of
Kurt Houghteling, and felonious assault of David Wasiel, both
of whom were defendant's friends. Wasiel and Doyle Odle
were both present when the victim was stabbed, and they each
testified that defendant lunged toward Houghteling when the
stabbing occurred. The defense theory at trial was that
defendant stabbed Houghteling accidently.
The defense theory of an accidental stabbing was supported
solely by defendant's testimony, on direct examination,
that he inadvertently stabbed the victim when he tripped over
the victim's leg and fell on top of the victim.
* * *
At trial, the prosecutor questioned defendant as follows
regarding his failure to offer the accident theory before
Q. And you've told this jury your story about what you
say happened that night, right?
A. Exactly as I know how it happened.
Q. Well, how come you never told anybody else this story? I
mean you had- A. I haven't seen nobody.
Q. Oh, really. Didn't Detective Morgan ask to talk to you
and ask for your story?
A. I don't remember half of it, sir.
* * *
Q. Didn't Detective Morgan ask to talk to you and ask for
your story, and you didn't tell him anything like that,
A. I don't really remember that.
Q. Well, do you remember that you haven't told anybody
this story before at all?
A. I've been in a cell for eight months.
Q. Isn't it true that this is the first time you have
ever told anybody this story?
Q. Who else have you told?
A. People in my cell.
Q. Okay, how ‘bout people from the law enforcement
community, how ‘bout the detective? You never told the
detective this story.
Q. And you had a chance to tell the Detective this story.
A. I didn't know what to do. I was just messed up over
* * *
Q. Okay, but the point is that you could have told the
officers the story, and you didn't right?
A. I don't remember-remember what ...