United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Patricia Morris Mag. Judge
OPINION AND ORDER HOLDING IN ABEYANCE THE PETITION
FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS 
E. LEVY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Samuel Leshawn Jackson is incarcerated at the Baraga
Correctional Facility in Baraga, Michigan. Following a jury
trial in the Saginaw County Circuit Court, Petitioner was
convicted of two counts of assault with intent to murder,
Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.83, three counts of possession of
a firearm during the commission of a felony (felony-firearm),
Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b, and one count of carrying a
dangerous weapon with unlawful intent, Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 750.226. He was sentenced to 235 months to forty years
for assault with intent to murder, two years for each
felony-firearm conviction, and thirty months to five years
for carrying a dangerous weapon. Petitioner's conviction
was affirmed on appeal. People v. Jackson, No.
319398, 2015 WL 3648932 (Mich. Ct. App. June 11, 2015);
lv. den. 498 Mich. 951 (2015).
March 16, 2017,  Jackson filed a pro se petition
for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254. (ECF No. 1.) Jackson challenges his convictions on the
grounds that three aspects of his criminal trial violated his
federal constitutional rights to due process and to a fair
trial. (ECF No. 1, PageID.21.)
did not exhaust his claims because he did not raise them in
state court. Instead of dismissing the petition, the Court
stays the proceedings and holds the petition in abeyance to
permit Petitioner to return to state courts to properly
exhaust his claims. The Court will also administratively
close the case.
prisoner seeking federal habeas relief must first exhaust his
available state-court remedies before raising a claim in
federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)-(c); Baldwin v.
Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 27 (2004). The exhaustion
requirement allows “state courts an opportunity to act
on [a petitioner's] claims before [they] present those
claims to a federal court.” O'Sullivan v.
Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 842 (1999). Although exhaustion
is not a jurisdictional matter, “it is a threshold
question that must be resolved” before a federal court
can reach the merits of any claim contained in a habeas
petition. See Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 415
(6th Cir. 2009). A federal court may not reach the merits of
a habeas petition if even one claim has not been fully
exhausted. Id. “Therefore, each claim must be
reviewed by a federal court for exhaustion before any claim
may be reviewed on the merits.” Id. Federal
district courts must dismiss habeas petitions which contain
unexhausted claims. See Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S.
225, 227 (2004) (citing Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509
(1982)). A habeas petitioner has the burden of proving that
they have exhausted their state court remedies. Sitto v.
Bock, 207 F.Supp.2d 668, 675 (E.D. Mich. 2002) (citing
Rust v. Zent, 17 F.3d 1555, 160 (6th Cir. 1994)). A
federal court may itself raise the issue of exhaustion.
See Benoit v. Bock, 237 F.Supp.2d 804, 806 (E.D.
Mich. 2003) (citing Prather v. Rees, 822 F.2d 1418,
1422 (6th Cir. 1987)).
satisfy the exhaustion requirement, a habeas petitioner must
have presented each claim to the state courts as a federal
constitutional issue, not merely as an issue that arises
under state law. Hruby v. Wilson, 494 Fed. App'x
514, 517 (6th Cir. 2012) (internal citations omitted). To do
so, petitioners must cite to the United States Constitution,
federal decisions using constitutional analysis, or state
decisions employing constitutional analysis in similar fact
patterns. Fuller v. Winn, No. 18-13988, 2019 WL
4023788, *2 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 27, 2019) (citing Levine v.
Torvik, 986 F.2d 1506, 1516 (6th Cir. 1993)). It is not
enough that all the facts necessary to support the federal
claim were presented to the state court or that a somewhat
similar state law claim was made. Jalowiec v.
Bradshaw, 657 F.3d 293, 304 (6th Cir. 2011) (citing
Anderson v. Harless, 459 U.S. 4, 6 (1982)).
Petitioner's claims alleges a violation of his federal
constitutional rights. However, Jackson did not raise any of
his current federal constitutional arguments during his
state-court appeal. M.C.R. 7.212(C)(5) requires a statement
of the questions involved, with each issue for appeal
separately numbered. See Dando v. Yukins, 461 F.3d
791, 797 (6th Cir. 2006). While Jackson challenged the same
underlying incidents on direct appeal as he does in this
petition, Jackson's statement of questions and appellate
brief show that his state-court appeal raised only state law
claims and a single Sixth Amendment claim. Therefore, he has
not exhausted his current federal constitutional claims.
Failure to Permit Voir Dire
first claim challenges the trial court's refusal to allow
the defense to voir dire prospective jurors before
dismissal. In his habeas petition, he alleges that
“[he] was denied his state and federal constitutional
rights to due process of law where the trial court erred when
it excluded prospective jurors for cause without first
permitting the Defense the opportunity to voir dire
them.” (ECF No. 1, PageID.21.) On his direct appeal,
Jackson framed the issue only as a Sixth Amendment violation:
“whether defendant was deprived of his Sixth Amendment
constitutional right to an impartial jury drawn from a fair
cross section of the community by the trial court's
application of MCR 2.511(d)(1), challenging potential jurors
for cause.” (ECF No. 10-20, PageID.861.) As this
comparison makes clear, Petitioner is raising due process
arguments for the first time. Additionally, neither
Petitioner's appellate brief nor the Court of
Appeals' opinion mention due process. (ECF No. 10-20,
PageID.866-867; People v. Jackson, 2015 WL 3648932.)
Failure to Exclude ...