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King v. Lesatz

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

October 22, 2019

DANIEL LESATZ, Respondent.



         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 concludes that the petition must be dismissed because it fails to raise a meritorious federal claim.


         I. Factual allegations

         Petitioner Marcus Deshawn King is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections at the Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF) in Baraga County, Michigan. Petitioner pleaded guilty in the Wayne County Circuit Court to three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC-I). On September 27, 2017, the court sentenced Petitioner to concurrent prison terms of 16 to 40 years on each count.

         On June 6, 2019, Petitioner filed his habeas corpus petition raising one ground for relief. Petitioner claims he was denied credit for time served prior to the court's imposition of sentence. (Pet., ECF No. 1, PageID.6.) The trial court described the underlying circumstances:

In 2007, Mr. King had been identified, through DNA analysis, as a suspect in the 2001 criminal sexual conduct case at issue here. In 2007, Mr. King was already serving time in the Michigan Department of Corrections for five counts of criminal sexual conduct and one count of armed robbery. When Mr. King was released in approximately 2017, the People charged him with the 2001 crime. His trial counsel filed a motion to dismiss, based on a violation of his due process rights. This court denied the defendant's motion on September 5, 2017. Mr. King pled guilty on September 12, 2017, to three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. The court sentenced the defendant, pursuant to a sentencing agreement, to 16 to 40 years imprisonment.

(Wayne Cty. Cir. Ct. Op. and Order, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.19) (footnotes omitted).

         Petitioner, through his initial appellate counsel, moved to withdraw his plea claiming that his trial counsel was ineffective in arguing the motion to dismiss, which was based on prearrest delay. (Id., PageID.18.) After Petitioner's initial appellate counsel was replaced, substitute appellate counsel added to the motion a claim that Petitioner was entitled to credit for time served from 2007 until his 2017 release from incarceration. (Id., PageID.19.)

         The trial court judge rejected both claims. First, she concluded that Petitioner had waived his ineffective assistance of counsel claim relating to the motion to dismiss by way of his guilty plea. (Id., PageID.20.) Second, she determined that Mich. Comp. Laws § 769.11b permitted credit for time served only to the extent that time was served for the offense that is at issue when imposing sentence, i.e., the 2001 sexual assault. (Id., PageID.20-21.)

         The Michigan Court of Appeals denied Petitioner's application for leave to appeal, for lack of merit. People v. King, No. 345122 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 10, 2018) (available at, visited October 12, 2019). The Michigan Supreme Court denied Petitioner's application for leave to appeal on April 2, 2019. (Mich. Order, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.23.) Petitioner then filed this petition.

         II. 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).

         The AEDPA limits the source of law to cases decided by the United States Supreme Court. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). This Court may consider only the holdings, and not the dicta, of the Supreme Court. Williams v. Taylor,529 U.S. 362, 412 (2000); Bailey v. Mitchell,271 F.3d 652, 655 (6th Cir. 2001). In determining whether federal law is clearly established, the Court may not consider the decisions of lower federal courts. Lopez v. Smith, 574 U.S. 1, 4 (2014); Marshall v Rodgers, 569 U.S. 58, 64 (2013); Parker v Matthews, 567 U.S. 37, 48-49 (2012); Williams, 529 U.S. at 381-82; Miller v. Straub, 299 F.3d 570, 578-79 (6th Cir. 2002). Moreover, “clearly established Federal law” does not include decisions of the Supreme Court announced after the last adjudication of the merits in state court. Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34, 37-38 (2011). Thus, the inquiry is limited to an examination of the legal landscape ...

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