Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Barnes v. Brewer

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

July 26, 2019

IESHIA D. BARNES, Petitioner,
v.
SHAWN BREWER, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER (1) DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, (2) DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND (3) GRANTING PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          HON. ARTHUR J. TARNOW SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Ieshia D. Barnes (“Petitioner”) filed this habeas case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was convicted in the Oakland Circuit Court after a jury trial of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated - causing death, MICH. COMP. LAWS § 257.625(4), and after a no contest plea of three counts of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated - causing serious injury. MICH. COMP. LAWS § 257.625(5). Petitioner was sentenced to the maximum possible sentence for the causing death conviction of 10 to 15 years' imprisonment, and she was sentenced to concurrent terms of 2 to 5 years' imprisonment for the other convictions.

         The petition raises one claim: Petitioner's 10 to 15 year sentence is disproportionate to her crime, and her counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge the score of the sentencing guidelines.

         For the reasons stated below, the Court will deny the petition and deny a certificate of appealability. The Court will, however, grant Petitioner leave to appeal in forma pauperis should she chose to appeal this decision.

         I. Background

         The Michigan Court of Appeals summarized the facts surrounding Petitioner's offenses as follows:

Defendant, while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of around .155, operated a motor vehicle, barreled through a busy city intersection against a red light and around stopped traffic at an excessive rate of speed, and then slammed into a minivan, causing serious injuries to three of the minivan's occupants and the death of the minivan's driver's three-year old daughter.
*** Aside from the death of the three-year-old girl, who suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain that led to her death, the driver's two-year-old nephew suffered serious head, neck, and leg injuries, along with severe emotional anxiety and stress, as a result of the crash. In addition, the nephew's growth plates were damaged, which will physically affect him for the remainder of his life. The driver herself suffered two broken ribs, a pelvic fracture, and two fractured vertebrae; she had two screws placed in her pelvis and suffers continuing pain.

People v. Barnes, 2017 WL 2791049, at *1, 2 n 2 (Mich. Ct. App. June 27, 2017).

         At Petitioner's sentencing hearing, the parties acknowledged that the sentencing guidelines were only advisory. Dkt. 6-9, at 4. Defense counsel indicated that Offense Variable 17 should have been scored at 0 or 5 points instead of 10 points because in acquitting Petitioner of second-degree murder, there was no finding by the jury that Petitioner possessed a reckless disregard for life at the time of the offense. Id. at 4. The prosecutor noted that even with the correction, Petitioner would still be in the top bracket due to the scoring of the other variables. Id. at 5. The Court adjusted Offense Variable 17 down to 5 points. Id.

         Alysea Stilwell, the adult victim, spoke on behalf of her three-year-old daughter who was killed in the crash, and her two-year-old nephew, who she said suffered life-long injuries. She emphasized the irreversible and substantial harm caused to her family by Petitioner's conduct. Id. at 7-8. The prosecutor sought the maximum possible sentence of 10 to 15 years. Id. at 9.

         In imposing sentence, the trial court noted the severity of the harm caused by Petitioner, and the degree of Petitioner's recklessness. Id. at 12-14. The Court imposed the maximum possible 10 to 15 year sentence for the operating a vehicle while intoxicated - causing death conviction. Id. at 14.

         After sentencing, Petitioner filed a claim of appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals that raised one claim:

I. The judge's decision to disregard the guidelines range and impose the maximum possible punishment was disproportionate to the offender, whose criminal history consisted of just two misdemeanor convictions, and also to the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.