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Bruckner v. Winn

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division

September 13, 2019

JAYE BRUCKNER, Petitioner,
v.
THOMAS WINN, Respondent.

          HONORABLE ROBERT J. JONKER JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MAARTEN VERMAAT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This is a habeas corpus action brought by a state prisoner under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner Jaye Bruckner is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections at the Saginaw County Correctional Facility (SRF) in Freeland, Saginaw County, Michigan. In 2016, Petitioner pleaded nolo contendere in the Chippewa County Circuit Court to first-degree criminal sexual conduct, in violation of Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.520b. On December 6, 2016, the court sentenced Petitioner as a habitual offender to 21 years and 8 months to 60 years in prison.

         After Petitioner was appointed appellate counsel, Petitioner asked the trial court for leave to withdraw his plea. The trial court denied his motion. Petitioner then sought leave to appeal his conviction to the Michigan Court of Appeals, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to withdraw the plea because Petitioner's plea was not knowing and voluntary; it was the product of ineffective assistance of counsel. The court of appeals summarily denied leave to appeal for lack of merit in the grounds presented. (Mich. Ct. App. Order, ECF No. 7-11, PageID.221.)

         Petitioner subsequently applied for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court. That court summarily denied leave to appeal on June 20, 2017, because it was not persuaded the questions presented should be reviewed by the court. (Mich. Order, ECF No. 7-12, PageID.273.)

         Petitioner filed a petition under § 2254 in this Court in March 2018, raising the following four grounds for relief:

I. Miranda Rights Violation[.]
II. Ineffective assi[s]tance of counsel[.]
III. 3 motions to compel[] discovery of original audio and motion to strike audio due to original destroyed[.]
IV. DHS and prosecutor failed to follow forensic Protocol.

(Pet., ECF No. 1, PageID.6, 7, 9, 10.)

         Respondent has filed an answer to the petition (ECF No. 6) arguing that the grounds should be denied because they have not been exhausted and/or they are meritless. Petitioner has filed a reply. (ECF No. 9.) Upon review and applying the standards of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (AEDPA), I find that the grounds are meritless. Accordingly, I recommend that the petition be denied.

         Discussion

         I. AEDPA standard

         This action is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-132, 110 Stat. 1214 (AEDPA). The AEDPA “prevents federal habeas ‘retrials'” and ensures that state court convictions are given effect to the extent possible under the law. Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 693-94 (2002). An application for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person who is incarcerated pursuant to a state conviction cannot be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in state court unless the adjudication: “(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; or (2) resulted in a decision that was based upon an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state court proceeding.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). This standard is “intentionally difficult to meet.” Woods v. Donald, 575 U.S. __, 135 S.Ct. 1372, 1376 (2015) (internal quotation omitted).

         A federal habeas court may issue the writ under the “contrary to” clause if the state court applies a rule different from the governing law set forth in the Supreme Court's cases, or if it decides a case differently than the Supreme Court has done on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Bell, 535 U.S. at 694 (citing Williams, 529 U.S. at 405-06). “To satisfy this high bar, a habeas petitioner is required to ‘show that the state court's ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.'” Woods, 135 S.Ct. at 1376 (quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 103 (2011)). In other words, “[w]here ...


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