United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ALBERT L. WOODS, Petitioner,
JEFFREY WOODS, Respondent.
ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND
DENYING PETITIONER'S HABEAS PETITION
J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter before the Court is a habeas corpus petition filed
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The matter was referred to
Magistrate Judge Timothy P. Greeley,  who issued a Report and
Recommendation (R & R), recommending that the Court deny
Petitioner's petition, deny a certificate of
appealability, and deny Petitioner's motions to compel,
for a stay, and to amend. (ECF No. 21.) Petitioner timely
filed objections to the R & R. (ECF No. 25.)
receiving objections to an R & R, the district judge
“shall make a de novo determination of those portions
of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1). This Court may accept, reject, or modify
any or all of the magistrate judge's findings or
recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P.
conducting a de novo review of the R & R, the objections,
and the pertinent portions of the record, the Court concludes
that the R & R should be adopted and Petitioner's
habeas petition should be denied. The Court will address each
of Petitioner's objections in turn.
1, 9, and 10
first objects to the magistrate judge's characterization
and resolution of his Habeas Issue VI regarding alleged
Confrontation Clause violations. Petitioner alleged three
Confrontation Clause violations in Habeas Issue VI: (1) a
crime scene specialist presented DNA evidence, instead of the
analyst who examined the DNA; (2) a subpoena analyst with
Sprint Nextel presented geographical cell site information,
rather than the engineer who prepared the report; and (3) a
detective testified about the Prey Smartphone application
that was referenced in a recorded jail phone call between
Petitioner and codefendant, Welch.
Court agrees that the magistrate judge focused on only the
first of the three alleged Confrontation Clause violations,
but that focus does not provide any relief to Petitioner. The
other two sub-parts of Habeas Issue VI are not cognizable on
federal habeas review-those two issues were raised in the
state courts as evidentiary issues rather than constitutional
issues. See Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67-68,
112 S.Ct. 475, 480 (1991).
to the first sub-part of Habeas Issue VI, which was addressed
in the R & R, the Court agrees with the magistrate judge
that even if the crime scene specialist's report of the
DNA test results was admitted in violation of the
Confrontation Clause, the admission of the evidence was
harmless error. The impact of the DNA evidence inside the
white gloves was a minimal part of the prosecution's case
compared with the other evidence linking Petitioner to the
robbery. Furthermore, the DNA evidence was cumulative. There
is no dispute that the white gloves were found in the car
that Petitioner was driving when he was arrested, so there
was already evidence that the gloves belonged to Petitioner.
Thus, the admission of the DNA evidence did not have a
“substantial and injurious effect or influence”
on the jury's verdict, and Petitioner is not entitled to
habeas relief. See Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S.
619, 638, 113 S.Ct. 1710, 1722 (1993).
argues that the magistrate judge abused his discretion in
accepting Respondent's untimely filed response to the
petition. On August 24, 2018, the magistrate judge entered an
order denying Petitioner's motion to exclude the response
because Respondent showed excusable neglect in that the
petition and order to respond were sent to the wrong
department of the Attorney General's Office. (ECF No.
12.) Had Petitioner wished to challenge the magistrate
judge's order, he could have filed a motion for
reconsideration or an appeal to this Court. But an objection
several months later is not the appropriate vehicle to review
the order. Moreover, the Court agrees with the magistrate
judge's conclusion that Respondent showed good cause for
not complying with the order to respond.
challenges the magistrate judge's conclusion that
Petitioner's motion to compel production of Rule 5
materials and for an extension of time to file his reply
brief (ECF No. 15) is moot. The Court agrees with the
Rule 5 materials were filed on August 31, 2018. It appears to
the Court-as it did to the magistrate judge-that Petitioner
did not receive the materials right away because of a prison
transfer on August 28, 2018 (id.), and that
Petitioner eventually received the materials because he cites
to portions of the trial transcripts in his reply brief. (ECF
No. 20.) Additionally, the reply brief was timely filed, so
the request for an extension is also moot.