United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER (1) DENYING AMENDED PETITION FOR
WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, (2) DENYING A CERTIFICATE OF
APPEALABILITY, AND (3) GRANTING PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA
A. GOLDSMITH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Daniels (“Petitioner”), a Michigan prisoner,
filed this action under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was
convicted after a jury trial in the Wayne Circuit Court of
first-degree premeditated murder, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.316(1)(a), first-degree felony murder, Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 750.316(1)(b), armed robbery, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.529, assault with intent to rob while armed, Mich. Comp.
Laws § 750.89, and possession of a firearm during the
commission of a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b.
Petitioner was sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment for
the murder convictions and lesser terms for the other
amended petition raises eleven claims: (1) the trial court
erroneously denied Petitioner's motion for substitute
counsel made three weeks prior to trial, (2) the trial court
erred in failing to instruct the jury on the lesser offense
of voluntary manslaughter, (3) Petitioner was denied the
effective assistance of appellate counsel when his appellate
attorney failed to seek a remand hearing to expand the record
in support of his first claim, (4) Petitioner's right to
a public trial was violated when the courtroom was closed
during jury selection, (5) Petitioner's trial counsel was
ineffective for failing to object to the closure of the
courtroom, (6) the trial court engaged in prohibited ex parte
communication with the jury, (7) Petitioner was abandoned by
his trial and appellate counsel, (8) Petitioner was deprived
of his right to appeal by the loss of transcripts, (9) the
trial court erred in instructing the jury, (10) Petitioner
was denied his right to present a defense by his
counsel's failure to call rebuttal witnesses, and (11)
Petitioner's appellate counsel was ineffective for
failing to raise his state post-conviction review proceeding
claims on direct appeal.
Court will deny the petition because Petitioner's claims
are without merit or barred by his state court procedural
default. The Court will also deny Petitioner a certificate of
appealability and deny permission to appeal in forma
convictions stem from the shooting death of Allen Jenkins
that occurred outside a Coney Island Restaurant in Detroit on
January 10, 2010.
date Jenkins, Rod Wilson, and Kevin Estell drove together to
the MGM Grand Hotel. On their way back from the casino,
Estelle received a call from Lakisha Crowley. Crowley asked
to be driven home from a party. The men picked up Crowley and
another young woman, Jazmine Young. Jenkins dropped Estell at
his home, and then the four remaining individuals - Jenkins,
Wilson, Crowley, and Young - proceeded to drive to the Coney
Island Restaurant at the request of Crowley. Crowley wanted
Jenkins to pick up a third young woman who said she had been
sexually assaulted at the party.
testified that the incident occurred soon after Jenkins
parked his vehicle behind a green Taurus and a white Mercedes
Benz near the Coney Island. 7/27/2010 Tr., Ex. 11 to Rule 5
Filing, at 190-191, 218-220 (Dkt. 28-11); 7/28/2010 Tr., Ex.
12 to Rule 5 Filing, at 9-14; 8/2/2010 Tr., Ex. 14 to Rule 5
Filing, at 29-32 (Dkt. 28-14). Young and Crowley got out of
Jenkins' vehicle, and a group of men got out of the
Mercedes and approached Jenkins' vehicle. 7/28/2010 Tr.
at 15-16. According to Wilson, Petitioner's co-defendant
Martez Bickham opened the door and pointed a gun at
Wilson's stomach. Id. at 15-19, 22. Bickham
demanded Wilson and Jenkins' belongings. Petitioner came
to the other side of Jenkins' vehicle. Wilson saw
Petitioner hit Jenkins on the head with a pistol.
Id. at 21. Jenkins tried to drive away, but
Petitioner hit him in the head a couple of more times with
his gun, and then Petitioner started shooting. Id.
jumped out and ran behind the restaurant. Id. at 27;
8/2/2010 Tr. at 38-39. After he saw the Mercedes drive away
with the men, Wilson went into the restaurant and found
Jenkins on the floor bleeding from gunshot wounds to his
abdomen. Jenkins later died. 7/28/2010 Tr. at 27-28;
7/27/2010 Tr. at 65.
girls at the scene referred to the men from the Mercedes as
the “Brick Boys.” Based on this information,
Wilson's cousin showed him photographs from her Facebook
account, and Wilson identified the two assailants. 7/28/2010
Tr. at 31-36. At a subsequent photographic identification
procedure at the police station, Wilson indicated that he was
60-70% sure that Petitioner was the shooter. Id. at
36-46, 8/2/2010 Tr. at 115-120.
Tyson testified that she was in the Taurus when the incident
occurred. She had been at the party at a hotel with the Brick
Boys earlier on that date, and she identified the people on
surveillance videos taken from both the hotel and the Coney
Island. She identified Petitioner, whom she knew, as the man
who shot Jenkins. 7/28/2010 Tr. at 171-187. The videos from
the surveillance systems were played for the jury.
Crowley likewise testified regarding knowing the Brick Boys
and attending the party. She testified to riding in
Jenkins' vehicle to the Coney Island. She described the
altercation in the parking lot, and she also identified
Petitioner as the shooter. 8/2/2010 Tr. at 34-39.
on this evidence, Petitioner and his co-defendant were found
guilty of the charged offenses by separate juries.
sentencing, Petitioner was appointed appellate counsel who
filed a claim of appeal. Petitioner's brief on appeal
raised two claims:
Defendant-Appellant is entitled to a new trial where the
trial court denied him his request for new appointed counsel.
Defendant-Appellant is entitled to a new trial where the
trial court denied the requested jury instruction as to the
lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter.
Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's
convictions in an unpublished opinion. People v.
Daniels, No. 300354, 2012 WL 4840675 (Mich. Ct. App.
Oct. 11, 2012).
then filed an application for leave to Appeal in the Michigan
Supreme Court that raised the same two claims. Petitioner
also included a new third claim:
III. Appellant counsel was ineffective for failing to seek a
remand for a Ginther hearing to support Argument I
of his appellate brief.
Michigan Supreme Court denied the application for leave to
appeal by standard form order. People v. Daniels,
830 N.W.2d 771 (Mich. 2013).
then commenced the present action by filing a petition for
writ of habeas corpus raising the three claims that he
presented to the state courts on direct appeal. He also filed
a motion to stay the case so that he could return to the
state courts and exhaust his remedies with respect to an
additional set of claims. The Court granted the motion to
stay, and it ordered Petitioner to file a motion for relief
from judgment in the trial court within thirty days and then
to file a motion to reopen the case within thirty days of
exhausting his state court remedies.
timely filed a motion for relief from judgment in the trial
court, raising eight claims:
I. Defendant was deprived of his state and federal
constitutional rights to a public trial by excluding the
public from the courtroom during jury voir dire and not
taking reasonable measures to accommodate public attendance.
II. Defense counsel was constitutionally ineffective when he
failed to object to the closure of the courtroom to the
III. Defendant was deprived of his state and federal due
process rights where the trial judge engaged in ex parte
communications with the trier of facts without the presence
of defense counsel or Defendant at a critical stage.
IV. Defendant was deprived of his state and federal
constitutional rights of a defense to confront the charge of
first-degree murder where trial counsel completely abandoned
his client before trial and at trial because the relationship
between client and counsel had ...