United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
AND ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO VACATE ORDER,
, DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR EVIDENTIARY
HEARING, , AND DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO
RE-OPEN HABEAS PROCEEDING, 135], AND GRANTING
RESPONDENT'S MOTION FOR EXTENSION, 
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Philip Brown ("Petitioner") was convicted after a
jury trial in the Oakland Circuit Court of first-degree
murder and felonious assault, and he was sentenced to a
mandatory term of life imprisonment. ECF 23-18, PgID 1546-47.
After protracted appellate and post-conviction review
proceedings in the state courts, Petitioner's federal
habeas petition was denied by the Court on June 12, 2014. ECF
109. Petitioner appealed, and the Sixth Circuit affirmed.
Brown v. Curtin, 661 Fed.Appx. 398 (6th Cir. Nov. 4,
the Court are several motions filed by Petitioner that
essentially ask the Court to reopen this case so he can
relitigate and better support claims already rejected by the
Court and the Sixth Circuit. ECF 133, 134, 135. Respondent
was ordered to file a Response, but did so untimely. ECF 140.
Respondent also filed a motion for extension of time to file
a response brief. ECF 139. For the reasons stated below, the
Court will grant Respondent's motion to file its late
response, and it will deny all of Petitioner's motions.
the myriad of legal arguments presented by Petitioner in his
motions rests the substantial weight of the evidence
presented at trial demonstrating his guilt.
thorough account of the evidence presented at trial appears
in the Sixth Circuit's amended opinion affirming the
denial of the habeas petition. See Brown, 661
Fed.Appx. at 400-04. In brief summary, Petitioner's
conviction arises from his stabbing and shooting of Randy
Pardy. Petitioner did not contest at trial that he killed
Pardy, but he testified that he acted in self-defense.
Id. at 401. The evidence presented at trial
persuasively undermined that defense.
Weigold, Petitioner's roommate, was an eyewitness to the
homicide. Weigold testified that on the day of the incident
Pardy entered the apartment he shared with Petitioner without
knocking. Pardy and Weigold then went into Weigold's
room. Id. at 401
after Purdy left Weigold's room on his way out of the
apartment, Weigold heard him scream that he had been shot.
Weigold went out to investigate, and he saw Pardy leaning
against a wall with an arrow sticking out of his arm. Wiegold
then saw Petitioner run up to Pardy and jab at him with a
knife, and noticed that Petitioner had a trigger release for
his bow around his wrist. Id.
ran back through the kitchen towards the bathroom. As
Petitioner pursued him past Weigold, Weigold tried to stop
him, but he swung the knife at Weigold. At no time did
Weigold see Pardy armed with a knife or other weapon.
Id. Weigold ran outside and called 9-1-1.
Id. Petitioner followed a short time late and told
Wiegold not to say anything. Petitioner took off in his car
and fled the state. Id.
emergency responders arrived, they found Pardy lying on his
back on the bathroom floor. Id. at 402. Pardy had
two stab wounds to his abdomen, including one that pierced
his heart, killing him. Id. A deputy found a bow,
arrows, a quiver, and the trigger release outside near the
apartment. One piece of the arrow that wounded Pardy was
found in the garbage can in the bathroom, and the other
broken part was found discarded outside. Id.
testified that he acted in self-defense. Id. at 401.
He confirmed the fact that he and Pardy got into an
altercation when Pardy arrived at the apartment. But contrary
to Weigold's testimony, he claimed that Pardy grabbed a
knife off a shelf, causing him to fear for his life.
Id. at 402-03. Petitioner testified that he ran into
the utility room, grabbed his bow, and, without using the
trigger release, shot Pardy as he advanced towards him with
the knife. Id. at 403.
testified that Pardy dropped the knife after being shot with
the arrow. He claimed that when he saw Pardy reach down to
retrieve the knife, Petitioner picked it up first and stabbed
Pardy in the side. Id. While still armed with the
knife, Petitioner pursued an unarmed Pardy into the bathroom.
He then admitted to kicking open the door, but he denied
stabbing Pardy again. Id.
conceded that he had no justification for stabbing Pardy a
second time, nor for chasing him into the bathroom. Once in
the bathroom, Petitioner said he tried to pull the arrow out
of Pardy's arm, but it broke in half. Id. at
403. He admitted to then grabbing the bow, the trigger
release he denied using, and arrows, and then threw them over
a fence on the way to his car. Id. The evidence
proving Petitioner's guilt and disproving self-defense
was extremely strong.
numerous legal claims Petitioner raised in his state court
appeals, his federal habeas petition, the appeal of its
denial, and in the present motions are all based on three
factual predicates. First, the jury sent a note to the court
during its deliberations asking whether fingerprints were
found on the knife. Ultimately, the court instructed the
jury: "There were no fingerprints found on the
knife." ECF 135, PgID 4204. The record indicates that
the prosecutor and defense counsel stipulated to the answer
given by the trial court, though no fingerprint evidence
regarding the knife was admitted at trial. Brown,
661 Fed.Appx. at 409.
raises a number of legal claims related to the jury note. He
claims that he was denied his right to be present during a
critical stage. ECF 135, PgID 4227. He argues he was denied
his right to confrontation regarding the information in the
response. Id. at 4207. He asserts that he was denied
his right to a public trial because the answer to the note
was not given in open court. Id. at 4212. He asserts
that his counsel was ineffective for entering into the
stipulation and that his failure to object constituted the
complete denial of counsel. Id. at 4222-23. It is
difficult to tell if Petitioner attached additional legal
theories in relation to the note based on his briefing.
second factual predicate for Petitioner's claims involves
the fact that Weigold had a pending felony at the time of
trial. ECF 134, PgID 4141. Petitioner argues that he was
unable to cross-examine Wigold about these felonies to show
motive and bias, which deprived him of his Sixth Amendment
right to confront witnesses. Id; ECF 1, PgID 3.
final factual predicate is a relatively brief exchange during
Petitioner's cross-examination when the prosecutor asked
Petitioner whether he told a detective in jail that he
"acted in a violent manner." See ECF 135,
4220-22. Defense counsel objected, Petitioner denied he made
the statement, and no extrinsic evidence was offered to show
that he made such a statement. ECF 23-14, PgID 1376-1384.
Petitioner claims that his right against self-incrimination
was denied by the exchange. ECF 135, 4220.
motion for relief from judgment Petitioner takes these three
factual predicates and the legal claims surrounding them, and
in overlapping and rather abstruse arguments, asserts that
there were seven "defects" in the manner the Court
and the Sixth Circuit adjudicated his claims: (1) the courts
failed to apply current Supreme Court law with respect to his
claim that the response to the jury note violated his
confrontation rights, looked to the wrong state court
decision to adjudicate the claim, failed to address whether
Petitioner waived the claim, failed to order an evidentiary
hearing on trial counsel's affidavit claiming that he did
not stipulate to the response to the note, and failed to
address the prejudicial impact of the answer to the jury; (2)
the Sixth Circuit erred in failing to order a mandatory
evidentiary hearing to determine the prejudicial impact of
the response to the note; (3) the courts failed to adjudicate
the merits of his claim regarding his alleged statement about
acting in a violent manner; (4) the courts failed to
adjudicate his denial of counsel claims at a critical stage
and/or Strickland claims with a complete trial record; (5)