United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER (1) DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT
OF HABEAS CORPUS WITHOUT PREJUDICE (DKT. 1), (2) DENYING A
CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABLITY, AND (3) GRANTING LEAVE TO
PROCEED ON APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
A. GOLDSMITH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Wheeler, a prisoner currently in the custody of the Michigan
Department of Corrections, was granted authorization by the
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to file a successive habeas
corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See In re
Daniel W. Wheeler, No. 16-2527 (6th Cir. May 30, 2017).
The Sixth Circuit limited this authorization to
Petitioner's claim that his life sentence without parole
is unconstitutional in light of Miller v. Alabama,
567 U.S. 460 (2012). Id. at 3.
27, 2017, Petitioner filed a habeas corpus petition.
Respondent filed an answer in opposition, arguing that the
petition should be dismissed because Petitioner has not yet
exhausted his state court remedies and, alternatively, that
the Court should dismiss the petition based upon the
Younger abstention doctrine. Also before the Court
is Petitioner's motion for final judgment and/or motion
to amend (Dkt. 11). The Court holds that Petitioner has not
exhausted his state court remedies and dismisses the petition
1971, Petitioner was convicted by a Shiawassee County Circuit
Court jury of first-degree premeditated murder and sentenced
to life in prison without parole. See People v.
Wheeler, No. 126769, 1995 WL 18241408 (Mich. Ct. App.
Jan. 9, 1995). Petitioner states that he was seventeen years
old at the time of the crime.
did not file a direct appeal. See Wheeler v. Jones,
226 F.3d 656, 657 (6th Cir. 2000). In 1997, he filed a §
2254 petition raising four claims, including a challenge to
the trial court's jury instruction. Id. at 658.
The district court denied relief, but granted a certificate
of appealability on the jury-instruction claim. Id.
at 658-659. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the
district courts denial of habeas corpus relief. Id.
later sought authorization in the Sixth Circuit Court of
Appeals to file a second or successive habeas corpus petition
raising these claims: (1) the state circuit court did not
have jurisdiction over his case when there was no hearing in
the juvenile court to determine whether he should be tried as
an adult; (2) his trial counsel and the trial court failed to
notify him of his right to appeal his conviction; and (3) he
was sentenced to life without parole for a crime committed as
a juvenile. See In re Wheeler, No. 16-2527 at 1. The
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Petitioner's
motion for authorization to file a second or successive
§ 2254 petition only for his third claim - that his life
sentence without parole is unconstitutional in light of
Miller. Id. at 3.
then filed the pending petition raising the same three claims
for which he sought authorization to file a second or
successive habeas petition. The Sixth Circuit authorized the
filing of a successive petition only for Petitioner's
Miller-related claim. This Court lacks jurisdiction
over Petitioner's first two claims - that the state court
did not have jurisdiction over his case and that the trial
court and counsel failed to notify him of his right to appeal
the conviction. Burton v. Stewart, 549 U.S. 147, 153
(2007) (where a petitioner does not receive authorization to
file a successive habeas petition, a district court lacks
jurisdiction to entertain it). These claims are dismissed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”),
Pub. L. No. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214, imposes the following
standard of review for habeas cases:
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.
decision of a state court is “contrary to”
clearly established federal law if the state court arrives at
a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on
a question of law, or if the state court decides a case
differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially
indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529
U.S. 362, 405-406 (2000). An “unreasonable
application” occurs when “a state-court decision
unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the
facts of a prisoner's case.” Id. at 409. A
federal habeas court may not “issue the writ simply