Buley v. Woods

Decision Date02 September 2014
Docket NumberCase No. 08-cv-13688
PartiesDWIGHT T. BULEY Petitioner, v. JEFFREY WOODS, Respondent.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan

Honorable Thomas L. Ludington


Petitioner Dwight T. Buley is currently confined at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan. Petitioner filed a pro se application for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner was convicted by a jury in the Oakland County Circuit Court of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Petitioner was sentenced as a second felony habitual offender to concurrent sentences of twenty-five to fifty years on the first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges and fifteen years to twenty-two years, six months on the second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges.

Petitioner alleges that (1) the trial court improperly admitted hearsay statements of the victim, (2) he was denied his right to present a defense when the judge refused to grant a continuance to secure the presence of an expert witness for the defense, (3) he was denied the effective assistance of trial and appellate counsel, (4) the trial court never acquired jurisdiction over his case because the district court failed to file a return in the circuit court after he wasbound over to circuit court following the preliminary examination, and (5) the prosecutor committed misconduct. Respondent has filed an answer to the petition, asserting that the claims are procedurally defaulted and/or lack merit. Because Petitioner's claims are either meritless or procedurally defaulted, the petition for a writ of habeas corpus will be denied.


The victim, T.V., 1 testified that Petitioner was her mother's boyfriend. Petitioner moved in with her mother when the victim was 10 or 11 years old. The victim testified that Petitioner first "sexually harassed" her when she was 11 or 12 years old in November of 2003. The victim testified that they were tickling each other when Petitioner suddenly moved the victim's underwear to the side and inserted his finger into her vagina. The victim testified that Petitioner also orally and vaginally penetrated her. (Tr. II, pp. 149-56). The victim testified that before this incident, she and Petitioner were "kind of nice" to each other. The victim acknowledged that Petitioner would get mad when she did not do her jobs around the house. Petitioner also bothered her, which prevented her from doing her homework, which in turn led to her receiving bad grades. The victim was also upset about the negative comments that Petitioner made about her father and the way he treated her mother. (Id., pp. 155, 180, 206). The victim testified that Petitioner committed other acts of sexual abuse on her between November of 2003 and February of 2005. (Id., p. 175).

In February of 2005, the victim returned from the 7-11 store. Petitioner came into her bedroom and started "grabbing her" and "playing around." The victim asked Petitioner to stop but he did not. Petitioner lifted up the victim's shirt and bra and began touching and kissing her breasts. Petitioner pulled down her pants and underwear and orally and vaginally penetrated thevictim. The victim feared that she had become pregnant from the assault, but this turned out not to be the case. (Id., pp. 156-59). In March or April of 2005, the victim told her friends Jamelia Peterson and Dorian Demarais about the sexual assaults. (Id., pp. 164-65).

On cross-examination, defense counsel questioned the victim about her failure to immediately disclose the sexual abuse to anyone. The victim admitted that she kept a diary but did not write about the sexual abuse in it. The victim admitted that although the first incidents occurred in 2003, she did not disclose them to her friends until 2005. The victim also admitted that she never told her father about the sexual abuse. (Id., pp. 191-93).

Dorian Demarais testified that during track practice, in April of 2005, the victim informed her that Petitioner had sexually molested her. The victim was upset and thought that she might be pregnant. Dorian urged the victim to tell her mother but the victim was afraid of her mother's reaction. The victim instead told a teacher about the assaults. (Id., pp. 263-67, 273).

In Spring of 2005, the victim's teacher at the time, Ms. Powe, noticed that the victim appeared "stressed" at school. Ms. Powe asked her what was wrong. The victim at first said that there were no problems at home, but the next day disclosed the sexual assaults to Ms. Powe, who took her to another teacher, Ms. Fleming. (Id., pp. 166-67).

Ms. Fleming testified that the victim was brought to her by Ms. Powe after the victim had informed Ms. Powe that her mother's boyfriend had been touching her inappropriately. Ms. Fleming called the victim's mother to set up a meeting with her. Ms. Fleming informed the victim's mother about the sexual abuse allegations, both over the telephone and at the subsequent meeting. The victim's mother was crying and seemed very remorseful at the meeting. She told Ms. Fleming that Petitioner had moved out of the home and that she had placed a lock on thevictim's door. Ms. Fleming admitted that she should have informed Protective Services about the sexual assault allegations. (Id., pp. 250-54).

The victim testified that after her mother had been called to the school, the victim herself informed her mother about the sexual abuse. The victim's mother wanted to either confront Petitioner or call the police, but the victim did not want to do so. The next day, instead of going to school, the victim and her mother went to a park to talk about what had occurred. The victim and her mother then went to Petitioner's mother's home and informed his mother about the sexual abuse. The victim and her mother bought locks for the victim's bedroom door to keep Petitioner out of her room during the night. (Id., pp. 169-71).

The victim's mother, Veronica Vanderbilt, testified that the victim was born in 1991 and before December 2005 was living with herself and Petitioner in Auburn Hills. Ms. Vanderbilt was still dating Petitioner at the time of the trial. Ms. Vanderbilt met with school officials after being contacted by Ms. Fleming but claimed that they only mentioned that the victim had indicated that Petitioner had been picking on her and that she was upset about Petitioner disciplining her. Ms. Vanderbilt claimed that she was never informed that the victim had accused Petitioner of molesting her. Ms. Vanderbilt claimed that she put a lock on her daughter's door for unrelated reasons. Ms. Vanderbilt claimed that the first time she learned about the sexual abuse allegations was from Protective Services in December of 2005. Ms. Vanderbilt also denied telling the victim to lie to Ms. Fleming and claim that Petitioner had left the home when he had not. Ms. Vanderbilt admitted that there was a neglect petition pending against her in family court. She also admitted that she did not cooperate with the police in the investigation. (Id., pp. 215-23, 230, 244-45).

The victim testified that around Thanksgiving or early December of 2005, Petitioner came into her room and tried to grab her breasts. (Id., pp. 172-74).

Ms. Lori Woodmore was another one of the victim's teachers. Ms. Woodmore testified that the victim was a good student. However, in December of 2005 the victim's behavior changed; she became very unhappy and was not getting her work done. On December 16, 2005, Ms. Woodmore asked the victim what was wrong and the victim began to cry. Although first denying that anything was wrong, the victim disclosed that her mother's boyfriend had touched her inappropriately. Ms. Woodmore dismissed the rest of the class and took the victim to the principal's office. Ms. Woodmore left the victim with the principal, Ms. Ewing. The victim was crying while speaking with the principal. Ms. Woodmore was called back to the principal's office and she remained while the victim disclosed what had occurred. Protective Services was then summoned. (Id., pp. 126-31).

Ms. Arlee Ewing, the school principal, also testified that the victim was a good student and not a disciplinary problem. Ms. Ewing testified that the victim was upset and crying when she was brought to her office by Ms. Woodmore. The victim was reluctant to talk about what had occurred but Ms. Ewing persisted in questioning her. The victim apologized for not being honest with Ms. Fleming, claiming that she had told Ms. Fleming at her mother's prompting that Petitioner was no longer in the home, although he was still present. Ms. Fleming was summoned and Ms. Ewing told her to file a Protective Services report. Ms. Ewing learned that the victim had previously informed Ms. Powe and Ms. Fleming about the sexual assaults, but that Protective Services had not been informed, as required by law. A Protective Services worker responded to the school. (Id., pp. 137-47).

Ms. Fleming testified that she was summoned to Ms. Ewing's office on December 16, 2005, and saw the victim crying. The victim apologized for lying to Ms. Fleming earlier, informing her that Petitioner was still living with her and still touching her inappropriately. (Id., pp. 254-57).

Chris DeBoer from Protective Services testified that in December of 2005, he received a referral alleging the victim had been sexually abused by her mother's live-in boyfriend. Mr. DeBoer went to the school and interviewed the victim, who told DeBoer about the inappropriate touching. While disclosing what had occurred, the victim was upset. (Id., pp. 302-03)

Detective Michael Thomas from the Auburn Hills Police Department testified that he was informed by Care House regarding the allegations and that Protective Services had initiated an...

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