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Cain v. Gidley

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

July 19, 2019

LORI GIDLEY, Respondent,



         Petitioner Darryl Cain stole a car at gunpoint from Courtney Spires in Detroit in 2010. For his efforts, he was convicted of carjacking and related crimes and sent to prison for at least 20 years. Following his unsuccessful appeals through the state courts, he filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, alleging a variety of claims, 14 in all. None of the claims, however, supports issuance of the writ. The Court therefore will deny the petition.


         The Michigan Court of Appeals summarized the facts of the case on direct appeal as follows:

This case arises from a carjacking that occurred in Detroit on June 4, 2010. Courtney Spires was driving home in his mother's 1995 gold Saturn. When he stopped at a red light at the intersection of East Grand Boulevard and Mack, a van pulled up next to Spires on the driver's side of his vehicle. Spires could not see the driver of the van, but he testified that defendant appeared at his window, pointed a silver revolver at him, and told him to get out of the car. Defendant ordered Spires to take off his pants and boots and stole them, along with Spires's wallet and cell phone. Defendant then sat in the driver's seat of the Saturn, a woman got into the front passenger seat, and they drove away as the van followed. Shortly thereafter, Spires reported the crime to the police and described the perpetrators as a black male and a black female.
On June 7, 2010, at about 12:40 p.m., Sergeant Frank Carroll of the Detroit Police Department was driving in an unmarked car near 11908 Wayburn in Detroit. Carroll worked with a multijurisdictional task force focused on automobile theft in Detroit and other nearby communities, including Grosse Pointe. As he was driving past 11908 Wayburn, Carroll noticed a gold Saturn in the backyard of an apparently vacant home. Two black males, one of whom was defendant, were standing near the car's raised hood. Using binoculars, Carroll was able to see the car's license plate number. He called the license plate No. in to the Grosse Point e Park police dispatcher and discovered that the Saturn was a carjacked vehicle.
Carroll called other officers and, when they arrived, they walked into the backyard. At that time, Carroll saw a third man near the front of the Saturn. He also saw a gray Ford Explorer in the backyard, which he learned was also a stolen vehicle. In addition, Carroll saw tools in the yard, including a lug wrench that was attached to a wheel of the Ford Explorer. Carroll and his team placed defendant and the two other men, Denzel Walker and William Johnson, under arrest. The officers searched defendant and found a key for the Saturn and two bullets. They impounded and searched the van that had been used in the carjacking and found a wallet and several cell phones, including Spires's.
Carroll took defendant, Walker, and Johnson to the Grosse Pointe Park police station for processing. Carroll informed defendant of his rights, asked defendant questions, and wrote down defendant's responses. Defendant said that someone had told him about the stolen cars and he denied ever carjacking any. He said that he was taking parts off the Ford Explorer to scrap them. Defendant denied owning a handgun and said that he found the bullets that were in his pocket. He then refused to sign the statement.
On June 8, 2010, officers called Spires to tell him they had recovered his mother's car. Spires went to the Grosse Pointe Park police station to identify the perpetrator in a photographic lineup. Although defendant was in custody at the station, Carroll explained that the station did not have enough young black men or the facilities required to conduct a live lineup. To conduct the photographic lineup, Sergeant Cregg Hughes compiled six mug shots, one of defendant and five others of men of similar age, with similar complexions, facial hair, and haircuts. When Spires saw the photographs, he immediately identified defendant from the array.

People v. Cain, 299 Mich.App. 27, 33B35, 829 N.W.2d 37, 41B42 (2012).

         The jury found Cain guilty of carjacking, Mich. Comp Laws § 750.529a; unlawfully driving away an automobile (UDAA), Mich. Comp Laws § 750.413; two counts of receiving and concealing stolen property, Mich. Comp Laws § 750.535(7); felon in possession of a firearm, Mich. Comp Laws § 750.224f; and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony (felony firearm), Mich. Comp Laws § 750.227b.

         The court of appeals affirmed the convictions. The Michigan Supreme Court vacated “that part of the Court of Appeals opinion stating that a ‘completed larceny' is an element of unlawfully driving away a motor vehicle (UDAA), ” affirmed Cain's convictions for carjacking and UDAA, and denied the application for leave to appeal in all other respects. People v. Cain, 495 Mich. 874, 838 N.W.2d 150 (2013). The Supreme Court denied Cain's petition for a writ of certiorari. Cain v. Michigan, 572 U.S. 1069 (2014).

         Cain then filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which was held in abeyance so that he could return to the state courts to exhaust additional claims. Cain's post-conviction motion for relief from judgment was denied, People v. Cain, No. 10-006812-01-FC (Third Cir. Ct. May 26, 2015), and the Michigan appellate courts denied the petitioner leave to appeal. People v. Cain, No. 329210 (Mich. Ct. App. Nov. 13, 2015); lv. den. 500 Mich. 864, 885 N.W.2d 294 (2016). Cain then returned to this Court, the stay was lifted, and Cain filed an amended petition, which raises the following claims:

I. Prosecutorial misconduct.
II. Trial court misconduct.
III. Double jeopardy - carjacking and UDAA.
IV. Lack of probable cause to arrest.
V. Improper photographic lineup.
VI. Delayed arraignment past 48 hours.
VII. Brady violation.
VIII. Insufficient complaint and warrant.
IX. Abuse of discretion.
X. Double jeopardy felon in possession and felony firearm.
XI. Subject matter jurisdictional defect.
XII. Ineffective assistance of counsel - failure to challenge identification.
XIII. Ineffective assistance of counsel - failed to investigate potential witnesses.
XIV. Ineffective assistance of counsel - prosecutor misconduct and omittion [sic] of transcription.

         Amend. Pet. at 5-13, ECF No. 11, PageID.67-75.

         The warden filed an answer to the petition arguing that some of the claims are subject to the defense of procedural default. The “procedural default” argument is a reference to the rule that the petitioner did not preserve properly some of his claims in state court, and the state court's ruling on that basis is an adequate and independent ground for the denial of relief. Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750 (1991). The Court finds it unnecessary to address this procedural question. It is not a jurisdictional bar to review of the merits, Howard v. Bouchard, 405 F.3d 459, 476 (6th Cir. 2005), and “federal courts are not required to address a procedural-default issue before deciding against the petitioner on the merits, ” Hudson v. Jones, 351 F.3d 212, 215 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Lambrix v. Singletary, 520 U.S. 518, 525 (1997)). The procedural defense will not affect the outcome of this case, and it is more efficient to proceed directly to the merits.


         Certain provisions of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (Apr. 24, 1996), which govern this case, “circumscribe[d]” the standard of review federal courts must apply when considering an application for a writ of habeas corpus raising constitutional claims. See Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 520 (2003). A federal court may grant relief only if the state court's adjudication “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 if the adjudication ...

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