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Arnold v. Mackie

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

January 13, 2020

MONTE AARON ARNOLD, Petitioner,
v.
THOMAS MACKIE, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING THE PETITION FOR A WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Monte Aaron Arnold (“Petitioner”), through his attorney Raymond R. Burkett, has filed a habeas corpus petition challenging his state convictions for assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.84, third-degree fleeing and eluding, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.602a(3)(a), resisting and obstructing a police officer, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.81d(1), and uttering and publishing forged documents, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.249. The trial court sentenced Petitioner as a fourth habitual offender to prison for 9 to 20 years on the assault conviction, 4 1/2 to 10 years for the fleeing-and-eluding conviction, 3 1/2 to 10 years for the resisting-and-obstruction conviction, and 4 to 14 years for the uttering-and-publishing conviction.

         Petitioner filed his habeas corpus petition through counsel on April 27, 2017. He raises two claims regarding the sufficiency of the evidence and the great weight of the evidence supporting his assault conviction. He also contends that he is entitled to an evidentiary hearing. The State argues in an answer to the petition that the state courts reasonably rejected Petitioner's first claim, that Petitioner's second claim is not cognizable on habeas review and was reasonably decided by the state court, and that Petitioner is not entitled to an evidentiary hearing. For the reasons stated below, the petition for a writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Petitioner was convicted following a bench trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court. This Court recites verbatim the relevant facts relied upon by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which are presumed correct on habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). See e.g. Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009):

This case arises from an incident in which defendant rapidly accelerated his car toward Novi Police Detective Jeremy Stempien as defendant attempted to escape after being caught during a “buy and bust” sting operation associated with a task-force effort to crack down on car parts purchasing scams against auto dealerships. Detective Stempien, who was part of a group of officers that attempted to apprehend defendant, testified that defendant jumped into his automobile and attempted to drive away from the officers as they moved in to make an arrest. Detective Stempien, with weapon drawn, shouted commands for defendant to stop driving, but defendant persisted in a path that carried him over a curb, directly at Detective Stempien. Detective Stempien fired his gun at defendant because he believed that defendant was “trying to run [him] over” and “trying to kill [him].” Detective Stempien testified that he ultimately jumped out of the way in order to avoid being struck by defendant.

         People v. Arnold, No. 322146, 2015 WL 5570273, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 22, 2015).

         Petitioner's conviction was affirmed on appeal. Id., lv. den. 499 Mich. 916; 877 N.W.2d 727 (2016).

         In his petition, Petitioner seeks habeas relief on the following grounds:

I. The decision of the Michigan judiciary denying the Petitioner relief upon his claim of insufficiency of the evidence was contrary to clearly established federal law, as the Petitioner's right to due process of law as guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution was violated when the State failed to prove that the Petitioner acted with the requisite intent to commit the crime.
II. The decision of the Michigan judiciary denying the Petitioner relief in regards to the Petitioner's Claim that the conviction of assault with intent to do great bodily harm was against the great weight of the evidence was contrary to clearly established federal law, because the trial court relied on false testimony that was unsupported by the evidence and designed to protect Detective Stempien from prosecution for the alleged use of excessive force against Mr. Arnold.
III. Petitioner is entitled to an evidentiary hearing on these matters.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), as amended by The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), imposes the ...


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