Glaspie v. Rewerts, CIVIL 4:18-cv-12342

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
Writing for the CourtLINDA V. PARKER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
PartiesDRESHAWN M. GLASPIE, Petitioner, v. RANDEE REWERTS, [1] Respondent.
Docket NumberCIVIL 4:18-cv-12342
Decision Date14 September 2021

DRESHAWN M. GLASPIE, Petitioner,
v.

RANDEE REWERTS, [1] Respondent.

CIVIL No. 4:18-cv-12342

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

September 14, 2021


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

LINDA V. PARKER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

Petitioner Dreshawn M. Glaspie, currently confined at the Carson City Correctional Facility in Carson City, Michigan, filed a pro se application for the writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner challenges the following Michigan convictions: first-degree felony murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.316(1)(b); conspiracy to commit assault with intent to rob while armed, Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 750.89, 750.157a; and assault with intent to rob while armed, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.89.

For the reasons that follow, the Court is denying Petitioner habeas relief.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

On April 23, 2015, a Jackson County Circuit Court jury found Petitioner guilty of the above-listed offenses. People v. Dooley, No. 327942, 2016 WL 6127723, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 18, 2016). The state court sentenced Petitioner as a second habitual offender under Michigan Compiled Laws § 769.10 to prison terms of life without the possibility of parole for the murder conviction, and to parolable life terms for the remaining convictions. Id.

Petitioner was tried jointly before a single jury with co-defendant Jymario Dooley. The Michigan Court of Appeals summarized the facts and evidence introduced at trial as follows:

Defendants' convictions arise from the shooting death of Phillip Johnson, Jr., in the early morning hours of September 29, 2014, in Jackson, Michigan. At trial, Khalil Davenport and William Houston-both of whom testified pursuant to plea agreements that allowed them to plead guilty to unarmed robbery-described the events that led up to Johnson's death. Most significantly, Davenport and Houston testified that Glaspie asked them earlier in the evening if they wanted to rob Johnson, and that Houston called Dooley, who owned a gun, after Davenport, Houston, and Glaspie had developed a plan for the robbery and decided that they needed a gun to complete the deed. Later, Davenport, Houston, and Glaspie met up with Dooley, and all of the men agreed that Dooley would participate in the theft of a metal box where Johnson kept his marijuana
At some point after 1:30 a.m., Davenport went to Johnson's house in order to hang out with Johnson, learn if anyone else was at the home, and find out where the metal box was located. After Davenport exchanged several text messages with Glaspie, the remaining conspirators went to Johnson's house and waited outside. At approximately 3:00 a.m., Johnson indicated that he needed to work in the morning, and Davenport stated that he would go home Davenport walked to the door, with Johnson following him, and opened it. Outside stood Dooley and Glaspie, both wearing ski masks. Dooley was pointing a gun in Davenport's direction. Davenport and Johnson yelled in surprise Davenport dropped to the ground-moving out of the way so that Dooley and Glaspie could move past him into the house-and ran out of the residence. As he ran away from the scene, he heard one or two gunshots. Similarly, Houston, who had remained in the driveway during the incident, testified that he heard a gunshot ring out from the front of Johnson's house prompting him to run down the street.

Id.

On direct appeal, Petitioner raised three issues: (1) the trial court's denial of his motion for a mistrial violated his due process rights, after a witness testified he knew Petitioner had been on parole; (2) the evidence to convict him was insufficient because the testimony linking him to the shooting by other participants in the robbery was “self-serving”; and (3) the trial court erred by trying him jointly with co-defendant Dooley, or alternatively, trial counsel was ineffective for not moving for a separate trial or jury.

The court of appeals affirmed Petitioner's convictions. Dooley, 2016 WL 6127723, at *9. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. People v. Glaspie, 893 N.W.2d 625 (Mich. 2017). Petitioner thereafter filed a timely application for the writ of habeas corpus, raising the same three issues presented to the state appellate courts. (Pet., ECF No. 1 at Pg ID 16.)

II. Standard of Review

The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (“AEDPA”) sets forth the standard of review that federal courts must use when considering habeas petitions brought by prisoners challenging their state court convictions. AEDPA provides in relevant part:

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.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

“A state court's decision is ‘contrary to' . . . clearly established law if it ‘applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court cases]' or if it ‘confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the Supreme] Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from [that] precedent.'” Mitchell v. Esparza, 540 U.S. 12, 15-16 (2003) (per curiam) (quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000)); see also Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002). “[T]he ‘unreasonable application' prong of § 2254(d)(1) permits a federal habeas court to ‘grant the writ if the state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the Supreme] Court but unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of petitioner's case.” Wiggins v. Smith, 539 U.S. 510, 520 (2003) (quoting Williams, 529 U.S. at 413); see also Bell, 535 U.S. at 694. However, “[i]n order for a federal court to find a state court's application of [Supreme Court] precedent ‘unreasonable,' the state court's decision must have been more than incorrect or erroneous. The state court's application must have been ‘objectively unreasonable.'” Wiggins, 539 U.S. at 520-21 (citations omitted); see also Williams, 529 U.S. at 409. “AEDPA thus imposes a ‘highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court rulings,' and ‘demands that state-court decisions be given the benefit of the doubt.'” Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010) (quoting Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333, n.7 (1997) and Woodford v. Viscotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24 (2002) (per curiam)).

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) (quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)). The Supreme Court has emphasized “that even a strong case for relief does not mean the state court's contrary conclusion was unreasonable.” Id. (citing Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 75 (2003)). To obtain habeas relief in federal court, a state prisoner must show that the state court's rejection of a 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.; see also White v. Woodall, 572 U.S. 415, 419-20 (2014). Federal judges “are required to afford state courts due respect by overturning their decisions only when there could be no reasonable dispute that they were wrong.” Woods v. Donald, 575 U.S. 312, 316 (2015).

Pursuant to § 2254(d), “a habeas court must determine what arguments or theories supported or . . . could have supported, the state court's decision; and then it must ask whether it is possible fairminded jurists could disagree that those arguments or theories are inconsistent with the holding in a prior decision” of the Supreme Court. Harrington, 562 U.S. at 101. Because the requirements of clearly established law are to be determined solely by Supreme Court precedent, “circuit precedent does not constitute ‘clearly established Federal law as determined by the Supreme Court'” and it cannot provide the basis for federal habeas relief. Parker v. Matthews, 567 U.S. 37, 48-49 (2012) (per curiam) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1)); see also Lopez v. Smith, 574 U.S. 1 (2014) (per curiam). The decisions of lower federal courts, however, may be useful in assessing the reasonableness of the state court's resolution of an issue. Stewart v. Erwin, 503 F.3d 488, 493 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Williams v. Bowersox, 340 F.3d 667, 671 (8th Cir. 2003)); Dickens v. Jones, 203 F.Supp. 354, 359 (E.D. Mich. 2002).

Section 2254(d) “does not require a state court to give reasons before its decision can be deemed to have been adjudicated on the merits.” Harrington, 562 U.S. at 100 (internal quotation marks omitted). Nor does AEDPA “require citation of [Supreme Court] cases-indeed, it does not even require awareness of [Supreme Court] cases, so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the state-court decision contradicts them.” Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002); see also Mitchell, 540 U.S. at 16. Furthermore, “determining whether a state court's decision resulted from an unreasonable legal or factual conclusion does not require that there be an opinion from the state court explaining the state court's reasoning.” Harrington, 562 U.S. at 98. Where the state court's decisions provide no...

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