United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF
H. CLELAND UNITED, STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
prisoner Keith Henderson (“Petitioner”) filed
this habeas corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Petitioner, who is proceeding pro se, was convicted
of first-degree premeditated murder, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.316(1)(a), and possession of a firearm during the
commission of a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b. He
raises five claims for habeas corpus relief related to the
alleged ineffectiveness of his trial and appellate counsel,
failure to preserve exculpatory evidence, and sufficiency of
the evidence. For the reasons explained in this order, these
claims lack merit, and the court will deny the petition.
convictions arise from the shooting death of sixteen-year-old
James Hudson in Detroit on July 21, 2010. The shooting
occurred near the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Leroy
Avenue in Detroit, during a melee involving dozens of people.
Cordaryl Massey, Petitioner's cousin, was originally
charged along with Petitioner for first-degree murder. Massey
testified pursuant to a plea agreement which allowed him to
plead guilty to manslaughter. Massey testified that on the
afternoon of July 21, 2010, he and his friend, Cornelius
Barnes, went to Barnes' aunt's house near the
intersection where the shooting occurred. When they arrived,
a large group of people was arguing in the street. About 20
minutes later, the argument escalated into a fight. Massey
described the scene this way: “Everybody was running
everywhere, throwing bricks, swinging poles and
fightin'.” (ECF No. 10-3, PageID 382.) Someone then
pulled out a shotgun and started shooting, and Massey ran
behind a house and called his cousin, Petitioner. Massey told
Petitioner “Come to Glenfield and Leroy. They over here
shootin' at me.” (Id. at 385.) Petitioner
replied that he was on his way. According to Massey,
Petitioner arrived about 10 minutes later and asked:
“Who shootin' at my cousin?” (Id. at
387.) Massey and a few other people pointed toward the crowd
and Petitioner began shooting. After firing shots into the
crowd, Petitioner fled the scene in his vehicle. Several
witnesses testified at trial and gave similar versions of
Hall was present at the time of the shooting and testified
that he saw a man with a gun exit a vehicle and ask
“who shootin' at my cousins”. (ECF No. 10-4,
PageID 545.) Ciera Brown testified that she saw Petitioner
jump out of a car carrying a gun, look around for a minute,
then start firing down the street toward a group of people.
Joshua Hudson, the victim's brother, testified that he
saw a green car stop and Petitioner exit the car. Hudson
stated that Petitioner started shooting in his direction and
that his brother, the victim, was struck by a bullet when the
two tried to run away.
did not testify in his own defense.
a jury trial in Wayne County Circuit Court, Petitioner was
convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and possession
of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The court
sentenced him to life in prison without parole for the
first-degree murder conviction and two years for the
filed an appeal of right in the Michigan Court of Appeals
raising a single claim based on the sufficiently of the
evidence used to sustain the first-degree premeditated murder
conviction. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed
Petitioner's convictions. People v. Henderson,
No. 309460, 2013 WL 1223206, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Mar. 26,
2013). Petitioner's application for leave to appeal was
denied by the Michigan Supreme Court. People v.
Henderson, 835 N.W.2d 583 (Mich. 2013).
then filed a motion for relief from judgment in the trial
court. He raised six claims in this motion: (i) ineffective
assistance of counsel in advising Petitioner to reject a plea
offer; (ii) ineffective assistance of counsel in failing to
object to the admission of evidence offered in violation of
the Confrontation Clause; (iii) failure of the police to
preserve known exculpatory evidence and ineffective
assistance of counsel in failing to file a motion to dismiss
on this basis; (iv) insufficiency of the evidence to support
the premeditation element of first-degree murder; (v)
imposition of improper court costs against Petitioner; and
(vi) ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. The trial
court denied each claim on the merits. (ECF No. 10-10.) The
Michigan Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal, as did the
Michigan Supreme Court. (ECF Nos. 10-11, 10-12.)
then filed the pending habeas petition which raises the
I. Ineffective assistance of counsel based on trial
counsel's advice that Petitioner should reject the
II. Ineffective assistance of counsel based on trial
counsel's failure to object to testimony referencing the
autopsy report offered in violation of the Confrontation
III. Violation of Petitioner's due process rights based
on the police's failure to preserve exculpatory evidence,
and ineffective assistance of counsel based on counsel's
failure to move for dismissal on this basis.
IV. Insufficiency of the evidence to sustain the conviction
for premeditated, first-degree murder.
V. Ineffective assistance of appellate in failing to raise
certain arguments on appeal.