Charleston v. Woods, Case No. 4:16-12696

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
PartiesKEITH ROMOND CHARLESTON, Petitioner, v. JEFFREY WOODS, Respondent.
Docket NumberCase No. 4:16-12696
Decision Date09 January 2018

JEFFREY WOODS, Respondent.

Case No. 4:16-12696


January 9, 2018



Keith Charleston, ("petitioner"), confined at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan, seeks the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his pro se application, petitioner challenges his conviction for first-degree premeditated murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.316(1)(a), felon in possession of a firearm, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.224f, and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b. For the reasons stated below, the application for a writ of habeas corpus is DENIED WITH PREJUDICE.


Petitioner was convicted following a jury trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court. This Court recites verbatim the relevant facts regarding petitioner's conviction from the Michigan Court of Appeals' opinion affirming his conviction,

Page 2

which are presumed correct on habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). See Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 413 (6th Cir. 2009):

This case arises from the murder of Charles Wall in Detroit, Michigan.

We conclude sufficient evidence of premeditation and deliberation justified submitting the charge of first-degree premeditated murder to the jury and for the jury to convict defendant. Lawrence Helzer and defendant had a previous relationship: defendant regularly sold cocaine to Helzer. On the day of the shooting death, defendant and another man confronted Helzer regarding money Helzer allegedly owed defendant. Defendant and his companion assaulted Helzer, knocking him to the ground. Wall came out of the apartment and pulled defendant off Helzer; defendant and his companion began to hit Wall. Helzer retrieved a sword from his apartment, and he and Wall chased defendant and the man with him. Wall and Helzer then went back into their apartment building. Defendant later called Helzer and told him that if he did not come outside, he would never be able to go back inside again. Subsequently, Helzer looked out a window and saw defendant riding a bicycle. Defendant was holding what looked like a pistol. Helzer could not see defendant at the moment he heard the first of five gunshots. After the shooting, Helzer looked through the door of the apartment building and saw Wall lying on the ground outside. Helzer testified defendant was no longer present when he found Wall's body.

Karla Nash, who witnessed the shooting, testified the man who did it ran away. Nash saw two men standing outside but did not see anything in either man's hands. She testified that the man who fell to the ground had his hands to his side during the encounter.

According to defendant's statement to the police, defendant retrieved a gun from underneath logs. Defendant went back to the apartment and talked to Helzer on the telephone. Wall came out of the apartment building and started to walk toward defendant. Wall reached "in his back area," which made defendant think that Wall had something in his possession. Defendant shot Wall three or four times because he was defending himself.

People v. Charleston, No. 316771, 2015 WL 1119720, at * 1, 5 (Mich. Ct. App. Mar. 12, 2015).

Page 3

Petitioner's conviction was affirmed. Id., lv. Den. 498 Mich. 884, 869 N.W.2d 587 (2015). Petitioner seeks a writ of habeas corpus on the following grounds:

I. Petitioner's statement was unconstitutionally obtained as his intoxication and lack of sleep prevented a knowing and intelligent waiver of his Miranda rights, and the trial court erred in declining to suppress his statement.

II. Petitioner's conviction for premeditated murder must be reversed where (1) there was insufficient evidence of premeditation and deliberation; (2) the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

III. Petitioner's guaranteed federal and state constitutional rights were violated under the United States Constitution 6th and 14th Amendments; the Michigan Constitution of 1963, Article 1 § 17 and 20, when trial counsel was ineffective for (1) failing to do an adequate and thorough investigation; (2) failing to address the illegal warrantless entry into his mother's home to arrest petitioner on outstanding traffic tickets; and (3) failing to challenge the unreasonable delay in providing probable cause hearing where petitioner was arrested without a warrant on December 26, 2012, and wasn't arraigned until December 29, 2012.


28 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 proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim--

(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

Page 4

A decision of a state court is "contrary to" clearly established federal law if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of law or if the state court decides a case differently than the Supreme Court has on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000). An "unreasonable application" occurs when "a state court decision unreasonably applies the law of [the Supreme Court] to the facts of a prisoner's case." Id. at 409. A federal habeas court may not "issue the writ simply because that court concludes in its independent judgment that the relevant state-court decision applied clearly established federal law erroneously or incorrectly." Id. at 410-11. "[A] state court's determination that a claim lacks merit precludes federal habeas relief so long as 'fairminded jurists could disagree' on the correctness of the state court's decision." Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 101 (2011) (citing Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). Therefore, in order to obtain habeas relief in federal court, a state prisoner is required to show that the state court's rejection of his claim "was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement." Id.


A. The confession claim

Petitioner contends that the trial judge erred in denying his motion to suppress because he did not voluntarily speak with the police nor did he knowingly, intelligently, or voluntarily waive his Miranda rights. Petitioner claims that he did

Page 5

not knowingly, intelligently or voluntarily waive his Miranda rights and that his confession was involuntary because he was intoxicated on alcohol and marijuana and was sleep-deprived at the time he made his statement.

The Court notes that the Michigan Court of Appeals reviewed and rejected the portion of petitioner's claim that he did not knowingly and intelligently waive his Miranda rights for plain error because petitioner failed to preserve this issue in the trial court in that petitioner only argued in his motion to suppress that his statement was involuntary. People v. Charleston, 2015 WL 1119720, at * 1.

In Fleming v. Metrish, 556 F.3d 520, 532 (6th Cir. 2009), a panel of the Sixth Circuit held that the AEDPA deference applies to any underlying plain-error analysis of a procedurally defaulted claim. In a subsequent decision, the Sixth Circuit held that that plain-error review is not equivalent to adjudication on the merits, so as to trigger AEDPA deference. See Frazier v. Jenkins, 770 F. 3d 485, 496 n. 5 (6th Cir. 2014). The Sixth Circuit noted that "the approaches of Fleming and Frazier are in direct conflict." Trimble v. Bobby, 804 F.3d 767, 777 (6th Cir. 2015). When confronted by conflicting holdings of the Sixth Circuit, this Court must follow the earlier panel's holding until it is overruled by the United States Supreme Court or by the Sixth Circuit sitting en banc. See Darrah v. City of Oak Park, 255 F.3d 301, 310 (6th Cir. 2001). This Court believes that the AEDPA's deferential standard of review applies to the Miranda waiver portion of petitioner's claim even though this portion of the claim was reviewed only for plain error.1

Page 6

The Michigan Court of Appeals rejected petitioner's claim:

A Walker2 hearing was held on defendant's motion to suppress on February 22, 2013. Detroit Police Officer Derrick Maye testified that he interviewed defendant on December 26, 2012, at approximately 8:00 p.m. Defendant was not deprived of any food or water, and defendant had a carton of juice with him during the interview. Officer Maye explained that the Second Precinct where the interview occurred had scheduled feeding times. The scheduled feeding time on that day was 6:00 p.m. Defendant did not tell Officer Maye that he was hungry during the interview. Defendant was 29 years old at the time of the interview and had completed the ninth grade. Officer Maye provided defendant with a notice of constitutional rights form, read the form aloud to defendant, and gave defendant the opportunity to read it himself. Defendant did not slur his speech. Defendant did not appear to be drunk or tired. His eyes were not bloodshot. Defendant also did not appear confused or disoriented.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT