United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE AMENDED HABEAS
PETITION, DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING
LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL
J. TARNOW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a habeas case brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
Michigan prisoner Ezra Rodriguez was convicted of four counts
of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, armed robbery,
kidnapping, carjacking, and possession of a firearm during
the commission of a felony pursuant to a plea in the Wayne
County Circuit Court and was sentenced to concurrent terms of
23 to 35 years imprisonment and a consecutive term of two
years imprisonment on those convictions in 2016. In his pro
se habeas petition, as amended, he raises claims concerning
the validity of his sentences.
after the filing of a habeas petition, a federal district
court must undertake a preliminary review of the petition to
determine whether “it plainly appears from the face of
the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district
court.” Rule 4, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases;
see also 28 U.S.C. § 2243. If, after
preliminary consideration, the court determines that the
petitioner is not entitled to relief, the court must
summarily dismiss the petition. Id.; see also
Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970)
(district court has the duty to “screen out”
petitions that lack merit on their face). A federal district
court is authorized to summarily dismiss a habeas petition if
it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any
attached exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to
federal habeas relief. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S.
849, 856 (1994); Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436
(6th Cir. 1999); Rule 4, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases.
No. response to a habeas petition is necessary when the
petition is frivolous, obviously lacks merit, or where the
necessary facts can be determined from the petition itself
without consideration of a response from the State.
Allen, 424 F.2d at 141; Robinson v.
Jackson, 366 F.Supp.2d 524, 525 (E.D. Mich. 2005). After
undertaking the review required by Rule 4, the Court finds
that Petitioner is not entitled to relief on his sentencing
claims and his habeas petition must be denied.
Facts and Procedural History
convictions arise from his carjacking, kidnapping, armed
robbery, and sexual assault of a woman on April 8, 2015.
Following his plea and sentencing, Petitioner filed an
application for leave to appeal with the Michigan Court of
Appeals asserting that he is entitled to re-sentencing where
his sentences are disproportionately harsh and unreasonable
and a violation of his state and federal constitutional
rights. The Michigan Court of Appeals denied leave to appeal
for lack of merit in the grounds presented. People v.
Rodriguez, No. 339141 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 17, 2017)
(unpublished). Petitioner filed an application for leave to
appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court, which was denied in a
standard order. People v. Rodriguez, 501 Mich. 1062,
910 N.W.2d 293 (May 1, 2018).
subsequently instituted this federal action. In his habeas
petition, as amended, he raises the following claims: (1)
disproportionate sentencing, and (2) due process right to be
sentenced using accurate information.
Standard of Review
provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty
Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”), codified at 28 U.S.C.
§ 2241 et seq., govern this case because
Petitioner filed his petition after the AEDPA's effective
date. Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 336 (1997). The
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.
28 U.S.C. §2254(d) (1996). Additionally, a federal
habeas court must presume the correctness of state court
factual determinations. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).