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Macksey v. Macauley

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

October 15, 2019

BRIAN MACKSEY, Petitioner,
v.
MATT MACAULEY, Respondent.

          OPINION

          Janet T. Neff, United States District Judge.

         This is a habeas corpus action brought by a state prisoner under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Promptly after the filing of a petition for habeas corpus, the Court must undertake a preliminary review of the petition to determine whether “it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the district court.” Rule 4, Rules Governing § 2254 Cases; see 28 U.S.C. § 2243. If so, the petition must be summarily dismissed. Rule 4; see Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970) (district court has the duty to “screen out” petitions that lack merit on their face). A dismissal under Rule 4 includes those petitions which raise legally frivolous claims, as well as those containing factual allegations that are palpably incredible or false. Carson v. Burke, 178 F.3d 434, 436-37 (6th Cir. 1999). After undertaking the review required by Rule 4, the Court will order Petitioner to demonstrate that he meets the requirements for a stay of his exhausted claims while he exhausts his previously unexhausted claims.

         Discussion

         I. Background

         Petitioner Brian Macksey is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility (IBC) in Ionia County, Michigan. Following a trial in the Kent County Circuit Court, a jury convicted Petitioner of one count first-degree, and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a person under the age of 13 years old. On June 21, 2016, the trial court sentenced him to concurrent terms of 25 to 45 years for the first-degree CSC conviction, and 5 to 15 years for each of the second-degree CSC convictions.

         Petitioner timely filed his habeas corpus petition in July 2019. The petition raises the following grounds for relief:

I. [Petitioner] was denied due process and his right to a fair trial when the trial court excluded evidence which would impeach his accuser. This exclusion barred [Petitioner's] ability to present a complete defense.
II. [Petitioner] was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel when counsel failed to object to the exclusion of the impeachment evidence. The state court's application resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented.

(Pet., ECF No. 1, PageID.3.)

         II. Exhaustion of State Court Remedies

         Before the Court may grant habeas relief to a state prisoner, the prisoner must exhaust remedies available in the state courts. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1); O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999). Exhaustion requires a petitioner to “fairly present” federal claims so that state courts have a “fair opportunity” to apply controlling legal principles to the facts bearing upon a petitioner's constitutional claim. O'Sullivan, at 844, 848; see also Picard v. Connor, 404 U.S. 270, 275-77 (1971); Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365 (1995); Anderson v. Harless, 459 U.S. 4, 6 (1982). To fulfill the exhaustion requirement, a petitioner must have fairly presented his federal claims to all levels of the state appellate system, including the state's highest court. O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 845; Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 414 (6th Cir. 2009); Hafley v. Sowders, 902 F.2d 480, 483 (6th Cir. 1990). The district court can and must raise the exhaustion issue sua sponte when it clearly appears that habeas claims have not been presented to the state courts. See Prather v. Rees, 822 F.2d 1418, 1422 (6th Cir. 1987); Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 138-39 (6th Cir. 1970).

         Petitioner bears the burden of showing exhaustion. See Rust v. Zent, 17 F.3d 155, 160 (6th Cir. 1994). Petitioner alleges that he raised the following issues on appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court:

[Petitioner] was denied his right to a fair trial and due process of law under U.S. Const. AM. XIV and Const. 1963, art. 1 ยง 20 by the trial court's exclusion of evidence which would impeach his accuser. Alternatively, [Petitioner] was denied his right to effective assistance of counsel under U.S. Const. Ams. VI, XIV, and Const. 1963, art. ...

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