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Robinson v. Jackson

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

October 30, 2019

TRAHUAN ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
SHANE JACKSON, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS [1] AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY

          Stephen J. Murphy, III United States District Judge.

         On July 6, 2017, Petitioner Trahuan Robinson filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner challenges his convictions for two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, one count of first-degree home invasion, one count of felon in possession of a firearm, one count of injuring an animal, and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. ECF 9-39, PgID 1891. Petitioner raises two claims: (1) he was denied his right to a fair trial because the trial court improperly denied his request for self-defense and defense-of-others instructions; and (2) the trial court improperly allowed the prosecution to amend the information after the prosecution rested. The Court will address each claim below.

         BACKGROUND

         Petitioner's convictions arise from a dispute over a lost cell phone. On October 29, 2012, Petitioner's niece, Emily Hickey, attended a party at Blakeley Williams's home in Flint. People v. Robinson, No. 327268, 2016 WL 6992160, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Nov. 29, 2016). At some point, Hickey was kicked out, but she thought she left her phone in the home. Id. Police were called to the home but were unable to locate the phone. ECF 9-30, PgID 881; ECF 9-31, PgID 1011. The next afternoon, Hickey and her friend, Alanna Hamilton returned to the home with Hickey's father, Jajuan Robinson, and her uncle, Petitioner Trahuan Robinson. ECF 9-30, PgID 883. Jajuan Robinson[1] and Petitioner forced their way into the home and Jajuan Robinson began pistol-whipping Williams. ECF 9-30, PgID 886; ECF 9-31, PgID 1015. Petitioner pursued another man, Nigel Melton, into the kitchen. ECF 9-30, PgID 887-88. Melton released Williams' dog from the basement. ECF 9-31, PgID 1015. The dog bit Petitioner's arm, and Petitioner then shot the dog in the face and fired shots at Williams, Melton, and a third man, Avontez Boone, as they attempted to flee the home. ECF 9-30, PgID 888. Williams and Melton were both shot once. ECF 9-30, PgID 888; ECF 9-31, PgID 1018.

         Jajuan Robinson testified at his brother's trial pursuant to a plea agreement. He testified that, when he knocked on the front door of Williams' home, Williams answered the door carrying a gun. ECF 9-36, PgID 1495. Jajuan Robinson tackled Williams, wrestled the gun from him, and hit him with it twice. Id. at 1496. He fired his weapon once, but the bullet lodged in the wall. Id. at 1497-501. Jajuan Robinson believed that his brother brought a .40 or .45 caliber pistol with him to Williams' house. ECF 9-36, PgID 1534.

         The defense presented no witnesses.

         Petitioner was tried before a jury in Genesee County Circuit Court and was convicted of two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.83, one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.84, one count of first-degree home invasion, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.110a(2), one count of felon in possession of a firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.224f, one count of injuring an animal, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.50b, and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b. ECF 9-39, PgID 1891; People v. Robinson, No. 327268, 2016 WL 6992160, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Nov. 29, 2016). The trial court sentenced Petitioner as a third habitual offender to concurrent terms of 40 to 60 years' for each assault with intent to murder conviction, 114 months' to 20 years' for the assault with intent to do great bodily harm conviction, 14 months' to 15 years' for the injuring an animal conviction, and 2 to 10 years' for the felon-in-possession conviction. Robinson, 2016 WL 6992160, at *1. Petitioner was also sentenced to consecutive sentences of 117 months' to 20 years' for the home-invasion conviction, and 2 years' for the felony-firearm conviction. Id.

         Petitioner appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals challenging his convictions and sentences. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions, but remanded the case to the trial court for a sentencing hearing pursuant to People v. Lockridge, 498 Mich. 358 (2015). Robinson, 2016 WL 6992160, at *5. Petitioner sought leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court, which denied leave. People v. Robinson, 500 Mich. 1002 (2017). On remand, the state trial court declined to re-sentence. People v. Robinson, No. 13-034247-FC, (Genesee Co. Cir. Ct. July 24, 2018).

         Petitioner then filed the pending petition, ECF 1, and raised two grounds: (1) "the trial court erred and [Petitioner] was denied his constitutional right to a fair trial because the trial . . . court refused his request for instructions on self-defense of others;" and (2) "the trial court erred and Petitioner was denied a fair trial because the trial court allowed . . . the prosecutor to amend the Information after the prosecutor rested to change entirely the elements on which the home invasion was based." ECF 1, PgID 5, 7, 15.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), a state prisoner is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus only if he can show that the state court's adjudication of his claims-

(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 on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented ...

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