United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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
Micah Ishone Quinn is incarcerated with the Michigan
Department of Corrections at the Alger Correctional Facility
(LMF) in Munising, Alger County, Michigan. Following a jury
trial in the Muskegon County Circuit Court, Petitioner was
convicted of armed robbery, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.529,
unlawful imprisonment, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.349b, and
two counts of possessing a firearm during the commission of a
felony (felony firearm), Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b. On
February 23, 2015, the court sentenced Petitioner to
concurrent prison terms of 21 to 40 years on the
armed-robbery conviction and 10 to 15 years on the
unlawful-imprisonment conviction, to be served consecutively
to the two concurrent 2-year terms on the felony-firearm
18, 2019, Petitioner filed his habeas corpus petition. Under
Sixth Circuit precedent, the application is deemed filed when
handed to prison authorities for mailing to the federal
court. Cook v. Stegall, 295 F.3d 517, 521 (6th Cir.
2002). Petitioner placed his petition in the prison mailing
system on June 18, 2019. (Pet., ECF No. 1, PageID.9.)
petition raises three grounds for relief, as follows:
I. THE [PETITIONER] WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS AND A FAIR TRIAL
BY PETITIONER'S IDENTIFICATION BY THE COMPLAINING WITNESS
COURT AFTER THE COMPLAIN[ANT] VIEWED [PETITIONER'S]
PICTURE IN THE PAPER IDENTIFYING HIM AS A PERSON ARRESTED IN
CONNECTION WITH THIS CASE[.]
II. THE [PETITIONER] IS ENTITLED TO A NEW TRIAL AS HE WAS
DENIED EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL.
III. THE [PETITIONER] IS ENTITLED TO BE RESENTENCED BECAUSE
THE FACTS IN SUPPORT OF SOME OF HIS OFFENSE VARIABLE SCORES
WERE NOT FOUND BY THE JURY TO BE PROVEN BEYOND A REASONABLE
DOUBT, HE WAS SENTENCED PRIOR TO JULY 29, 2015, AND THE SIXTH
AMENDMENT VIOLATION ALTERED THE GUIDELINES RANGE.
(Pet., ECF No. 1, PageID.6-7.)
following statement of the facts underlying Petitioner's
conviction are taken from the opinion of the Michigan Court
This appeal arises out of the robbery of a pizza delivery
man, Roy Ferguson. As Ferguson was delivering an order to a
house in Muskegon, defendant and codefendant Taylin Alexander
Glenn followed Ferguson to the door, and defendant put a gun
to the back of Ferguson's head. Ferguson was ordered to
walk back to his car and to empty his pockets, which included
approximately $20, his cell phone, wallet, and keys.
Defendant took Ferguson's money and wallet and then
ordered Ferguson into the trunk of the car. Ferguson
complied. Unsure of what to do with Ferguson, Glenn and
defendant drove the car while Ferguson was locked in the
After stopping the car multiple times to physically assault
Ferguson, Glenn and defendant stopped the car a final time,
unlocked the trunk, and told Ferguson to count to 100 before
exiting the trunk. After counting to 100, Ferguson exited the
trunk and began walking to the nearest gas station to call
After a police investigation, defendant was arrested and
charged with armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, and two
counts of felony-firearm. A jury convicted defendant as
charged and this appeal ensued.
People v. Quinn, No. 326738, 2016 WL 3767491, at *1
(Mich. Ct. App. July 14, 2016).
does not dispute the court's summary of the facts.
Indeed, in the statement of facts set forth in his own
memorandum of law in support of the habeas petition,
Petitioner sets forth far more detail concerning the
incident. The victim testified that, during the incident,
which occurred on March 19, 2014, the perpetrators had him
strip down to his underwear and that, in addition to the
items listed by the court of appeals, they took his clothes,
his belt, his Domino's jacket, and a radio.
(Pet'r's Mem. of Law in Supp. of Pet., ECF No. 1-1,
PageID.21, 25-26.) Further, during one of the occasions on
which the perpetrators removed the victim from the trunk, the
perpetrators had the victim get on his knees and pray, while
they held a gun to his head. One of the perpetrators-not
Petitioner-pulled the trigger, but it just clicked. The
perpetrators then said, “[H]a ha got you.”
(Id. at 22, 26.) The victim was hit in the jaw with
the butt of the gun, and he then was hit in the teeth.
(Id.) Both men hit and kicked the victim.
(Id. at 22.) The victim suffered a broken nose, a
black eye, and broken teeth. (Id. at 26.)
to the victim, the man who pulled the trigger was holding a
black handgun, and the other man was holding a silver
revolver. The victim had not seen either man before.
(Id. at 22.) The witness saw the face of the man
with the silver gun for about 10 seconds, before being
ordered to look away. (Id.) The man with the silver
gun was the person who told the victim what to do and when to
do it. (Id.) Although both men wore hoodies and the
victim had only a limited opportunity to look at the
perpetrators directly, the victim identified the man with the
silver gun as Petitioner. (Id.)
incident occurred at night, on Tuesday, going into Wednesday.
On Friday, the victim viewed a photo lineup, but he was
unable to identify anyone. (Id.) Petitioner's
photograph was not in the photo lineup. (Id.)
Sometime after the photo lineup, but before the preliminary
examination, the victim was told that there were two
confessions in the case. (Id.) During the same
period, the victim saw an article in the newspaper, which
contained pictures of the two suspects. The victim thereafter
was able to identify the two men. (Id. at 22.)
March 27, 2019, Detective Peter Boterenbrood advised
Petitioner of his Miranda rights and conducted a
video-recorded interview. During the interview, Petitioner
admitted that he and his codefendant, Taylin Glenn, ordered
some pizza and took part in the armed robbery. Petitioner
admitted that he was the man with the silver pistol.
(Id. at 23.) In addition, Petitioner made admissions
to being involved with Glenn in an earlier robbery of Brian
Scott, at which time Scott's phone was stolen.
(Id. at 30-31.) During the investigation, police
officers traced the number from which the pizza order was
made and discovered that it was made from Scott's phone,
which had been stolen a week earlier. Police traced the
numbers called after the phone was stolen and identified
Petitioner's phone number. (Id.) They pinged the
number to track it, which led them to 1538 Hoyt Street.
Police conducted surveillance on the address, and Petitioner
was arrested. A search warrant was executed later that same
was offered a Cobbs plea agreement, with a sentence
evaluation of 21 years on the armed robbery, plus 2 years for
the felony firearm. Petitioner rejected the plea agreement at
the September 26, 2014, plea hearing. (Id. at 24.)
However, on September 30, 2014, the first day of trial,
Petitioner elected to accept the plea agreement and entered a
no-contest plea. The court accepted the plea. (Id.)
November 4, 2014, the scheduled date of sentencing,
Petitioner moved to withdraw his plea. He contended that he
was not guilty, that he had been high at the time he
confessed to the crime, and that he was covering for someone
else. The court allowed Petitioner to withdraw the plea and
also granted his request for a different court-appointed
attorney. (Id. at 25.)
began on January 20, 2015. The victim again identified
Petitioner as the man with the silver gun. On
cross-examination, the victim acknowledged that he had seen
Petitioner's picture in the paper and that, while he had
not remembered exactly what his assailant looked like, he
immediately recognized Petitioner from the picture. The
victim denied that the picture had influenced his
identification. (Id. at 27.)
testified at trial, denying that he had committed the
offense, but admitting that he had made admissions to the
police and had written an apology letter to the victim.
(Id. at 34.) Plaintiff contends that he was high at
the time of his statement and that he felt pressured to make
the statement. (Id.)
jury found Petitioner guilty of the charged offenses on
January 21, 2015. On February 23, 2015, Petitioner was
sentenced to the same terms of imprisonment received by his
codefendant. (Id. at 36.)
appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals, raising the same
three issues presented in his habeas petition. In an
unpublished opinion issued on July 14, 2016, the court of
appeals denied all appellate grounds and affirmed the
convictions. Petitioner sought leave to appeal to the
Michigan Supreme Court on the same three grounds. The supreme
court denied leave to appeal on May 1, 2018.
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).
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 as it would
have appeared to the Michigan state courts in light of
Supreme Court precedent at the time of the state-court
adjudication on the merits. Miller v. Stovall, 742
F.3d 642, 644 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing Greene, 565
U.S. at 38).
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 the
precise contours of the right remain unclear, state courts
enjoy broad discretion in their adjudication of a
prisoner's claims.” White v. Woodall, 572
U.S. 415, 424 (2014) (internal quotations omitted).
AEDPA requires heightened respect for state factual findings.
Herbert v. Billy, 160 F.3d 1131, 1134 (6th Cir.
1998). A determination of a factual issue made by a state
court is presumed to be correct, and the petitioner has the
burden of rebutting the presumption by clear and convincing
evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Davis v.
Lafler, 658 F.3d 525, 531 (6th Cir. 2011) (en banc);
Lancaster v. Adams, 324 F.3d 423, 429 (6th Cir.
2003); Bailey, 271 F.3d at 656. This presumption of
correctness is accorded to findings of state appellate
courts, as well as the trial court. See Sumner v.
Mata, 449 U.S. 539, 546 (1981); Smith v. Jago,
888 F.2d 399, 407 n.4 (6th Cir. 1989).