United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER (1) DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS, (2) DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND
(3) GRANTING PERMISSION TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
J. TARNOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jimenez-Valdez (“Petitioner”) filed this habeas
case under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was convicted in
the Ingham Circuit Court after he pled guilty to two counts
of delivery/manufacture of between 50 to 449 grams of
cocaine. MICH. COMP. LAWS § 333.7401(2)(a)(iii)).
Petitioner was sentenced as a third-time habitual felony
offender to 204 months to 40 years imprisonment.
petition raises one claim: Petitioner is entitled to withdraw
his plea because the trial judge told his counsel prior to
the plea proceeding that he would impose a 99-month sentence.
For the reasons stated below, the Court will deny the
petition and deny a certificate of appealability. The Court
will, however, grant Petitioner leave to appeal in forma
pauperis should he chose to appeal this decision.
was originally charged with five felony narcotic offenses. On
September 6, 2017, Petitioner pled guilty pursuant to a plea
agreement to the offense indicated above. (ECF No.8-3,
PageID.5.) In exchange for his plea, the prosecutor agreed to
dismiss the remaining four charges and to reduce the
fourth-time habitual fourth offender charge. Id. at
the plea hearing, which was conducted with the assistance of
a Spanish-speaking translator, Petitioner's trial counsel
noted, “the court gave a preliminary indication, not a
Cobbs, that the court would be inclined to sentence
to the bottom of the range, which is 99 months in the
Michigan Department of Corrections.” Id. The
trial court replied, “Right. I made no
agreement.” Id. Trial counsel then again
indicated that there was no agreement as to Petitioner's
sentence. Id. The trial court further noted that it
would determine Petitioner's sentence during his
sentencing hearing, after the Court was fully informed.
Id. at 6. Petitioner confirmed that was his
understanding of the agreement as well, and he denied that
any other promises or threats were made to him and that it
was his own choice to plead guilty. Id. at 6, 10-11.
Petitioner's sentence, the court explained to Petitioner
that there had been no agreement:
The Court: There's a recommendation as to what your
sentence should be, and that is between 999 - - I'm
sorry, 99 months to 240 months on the minimum.
Petitioner (through Interpreter): Okay
The Court: I've had a discussion with counsel and your
attorney has made a case to me that should I sentence within
the minimum - - or on the minimum side of that 99 months and
maybe a bit higher but he's asked me to sentence you on
the low end rather than on the higher end of the 240 months,
but I've not made a promise to do that. I will decide
your case and what I do at the time of sentencing when
I'm fully informed. Do you understand that?
Petitioner (through Interpreter): Yes, yes.
The Court: And has anyone told you what else I will do at
Petitioner (through Interpreter): No, no. No, I don't
The Court: Because I don't know either. I don't know
enough about ...