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Hudson v. Trierweiler

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

December 16, 2019

DARIUS DEWAYNE HUDSON, Petitioner,
v.
TONY TRIERWEILER, Warden, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS

          LAURIE J. MICHELSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Darius DeWayne Hudson pled guilty in state court to one count of armed robbery. He was sentenced as a third-time habitual felony offender to a minimum of 108 months in prison. Hudson sought leave to appeal; both state appellate courts denied leave.

         Hudson now turns to federal court for a writ of habeas corpus. Hudson's petition for the writ raises a single claim: that the trial court erred in scoring two offense variables in determining his sentence. As this claim does not warrant habeas relief, the Court will deny the petition.

         I.

         At Hudson's plea hearing, Hudson's counsel asked for a “Cobbs evaluation.” In People v. Cobbs, 505 N.W.2d 208 (Mich. 1993), the Michigan Supreme Court provided that a trial judge “may participate in the plea negotiation process by indicating the length of sentence that the judge, on the basis of a preliminary evaluation of the case, believes is appropriate for the charged offense.” People v. Chappell, 566 N.W.2d 42, 44 (Mich. Ct. App. 1997). “[A] defendant who pleads guilty or nolo contendere in reliance upon a judge's preliminary evaluation with regard to an appropriate sentence has an absolute right to withdraw the plea if the judge later determines that the sentence must exceed the preliminary evaluation.” Cobbs, 505 N.W.2d at 212.

         Hudson's counsel further stated that the applicable guideline range “starts as low as 81 months” but that an argument could be made that it started at 108 months. (ECF No. 9, PageID.117-118.) Counsel explained, “It all depends on the determination of how the scoring of various offense variables would actually be made by your Honor.” (Id.)

         At the plea hearing, the trial judge also questioned Hudson. As relevant to Hudson's petition, this exchange took place:

THE COURT: Okay, and there's been a plea agreement stated on the record saying that if you plead guilty to count one [armed robbery] that count two [felonious assault] will be rescinded, do you understand that?
MR. HUDSON: Yes, Ma'am.
THE COURT: Okay, and that the guidelines against you range anywhere at the bottom from 81 to 108?
MR. HUDSON: Yes, Ma'am.
THE COURT: And that this court will agree to a Cobbs plea to the bottom of the guidelines but that your lawyer wants to argue for less at the time of sentencing?
MR. HUDSON: Yes, Ma'am.

(ECF No. 9, PageID.122 (emphasis added).) Hudson denied that any other promises were made to him to induce his guilty plea. (ECF No. 9, PageID.123.) Ultimately, the trial court accepted ...


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