United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER (1) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, AND (2)
DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
GEORGE CARAM STEEH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Morrell, (“Petitioner”), confined at the Handlon
Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan, filed a pro
se petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction for one count
of armed robbery, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.529; four
counts of unlawful imprisonment, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.349b; one count of first-degree home invasion, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 750.110a(2); one count of larceny of a
firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.357b; one count of
larceny in a building, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.360; five
counts of felonious assault, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.82;
and thirteen counts of felony firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws
Court finds that the sentencing judge used factors that had
not been submitted to a jury in order to score several
offense variables under the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.
The Court grants the writ in part and remands the case to the
state court to conduct a re-sentencing of petitioner. The
petition is DENIED with respect to petitioner's remaining
pleaded nolo contendere in the Livingston County
Circuit Court and was sentenced to prison. Petitioner's
conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. People
v. Morrell, No. 330591 (Mich.Ct.App. Mar. 29, 2016);
lv. den. 500 Mich. 868 (2016).
filed a habeas petition. This Court granted petitioner's
motion to amend his petition to add additional claims and
then held the petition in abeyance so that petitioner could
return to the state courts to exhaust these additional
claims. Morrell v. McCullick, No. 17-CV-10961, 2017
WL 5499404 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 16, 2017).
filed a post-conviction motion for relief from judgment,
which was denied. People v. Morrell, No. 14-22304-FC
(Livingston Cty.Cir.Ct., Oct. 1, 2018). The Michigan
appellate courts denied petitioner leave to appeal.
People v. Morrell, No. 346171 (Mich.Ct.App. Apr. 3,
2019); lv. den. 931 N.W.2d 334 (Mich. 2019).
case has now been reopened to the Court's active docket.
Petitioner's various pleadings are voluminous, rambling
and difficult to understand. It appears, however, that
petitioner in his original and amended habeas petitions seeks
habeas relief on the following grounds:
I. Trial court violated constitutional due process by refusal
to allow plea withdrawal.
II. Petitioner's sentencing range was incorrectly scored.
III. Inaccurate and biased pre-sentencing report which
IV. Petitioner's confession was involuntary because he
was under the influence of drugs, was denied medical care,
and the police threatened to kill his wife and children.
V. Prosecutorial misconduct.
VI. The police and prosecutor brought false charges against
VII. Petitioner was forced by his trial counsel into pleading
VIII. Ineffective assistance of trial counsel, in that
counsel failed to locate evidence of petitioner's
IX. Trial counsel had a conflict of interest with petitioner
in that he was working in collusion with the prosecutor and
X. Ineffective assistance of appellate counsel.
XI. The Judge conspired with the police.
XII. Transcripts of the proceedings were altered or
Standard of Review
U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by The Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), imposes the
following standard of review for habeas cases:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court ...