Griffin v. Metrish
ORDER denying 35 Motion for Relief from Former Judgment. Signed by District Judge Thomas L. Ludington. (SGam)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case Number 07-CV-14402
Honorable Thomas L. Ludington
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM FORMER JUDGMENT
A single shotgun blast to the chest killed Norris Brown. The State of Michigan charged
Petitioner Randale Griffin for the murder of Mr. Brown. The prosecution’s theory of the case
was that Petitioner and another man (identified only as “Chris”) planned to rob Mr. Brown, a
drug dealer, of his money and drugs. During the robbery, the prosecution contended, Petitioner
shot Mr. Brown.
In 1991, Petitioner was tried by a jury for the murder of Mr. Brown, as well as for the
possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Several persons were called to
testify. Mr. Brown’s neighbor, Linda Jones, testified that she was about seventy feet away at the
time of the shooting. She identified Petitioner as the shooter. A friend of Mr. Brown, Gary Holt,
testified that after the shooting he overheard Petitioner state that he planned to “do a stick up, but
could not get inside the house to do it. When [Mr. Davis] refused to lay down when ordered to,
[Petitioner] shot him.” Appellant’s Br. at 1–10, People v. Griffin, No. 141530 (Mich. Ct. App.),
quoted in Report & Recommendation 3, ECF 21. The testimony of these two witnesses is not
The testimony of three other witnesses, however, remains hotly contested by Petitioner.
First, there is the testimony of Petitioner’s girlfriend at the time of the shooting, Yvonne
Baldwin. At a preliminary examination, she testified that Petitioner “told her he had shot [Mr.
Davis], they went there to stick him up and took some money.” Id.
At trial, however, she
offered a different version of events, testifying that Petitioner “never said who shot the person or
how he got shot.” Id. After Ms. Baldwin made this inconsistent statement, the prosecution
sought to introduce her prior testimony. The trial judge cautioned Ms. Baldwin that she could be
charged with perjury for admitting to lying under oath. Ms. Baldwin responded by invoking her
Fifth Amendment right not to testify. Over Petitioner’s (continuing) objection, “the trial judge
allowed the prosecution to have Ms. Baldwin’s preliminary examination testimony read to the
jury.” Id. The testimony of two other witnesses, Shawn Daniels and Darius Turner, also remains
hotly contested by Petitioner.
Daniels, who did not witness the shooting, testified that he gave two statements to
the police. In the first, he did not implicate petitioner. In the second, he indicated
that he overheard petitioner say that he had “shot that guy.” However, Daniels
also testified that the only reason that he gave the second statement was because
he was threatened by the police that he would be charged as an accessory if he did
not give a statement. He also conceded that he was intoxicated by alcohol and
heroin both at the time he overheard petitioner make the statement and at the time
he gave his statement to the police. Daniels further testified that immediately
after petitioner said that he “shot that guy,” petitioner left the room and Chris
stated all the details; he conceded that it was possible that it could have been
Chris who stated that he shot the victim.
Turner testified that he picked up petitioner, Chris, and another man. Petitioner
handed Chris a shotgun, and they drove around for some time. Petitioner asked a
person on the street where they could get some drugs, and they drove to the
location given to them. Petitioner and Chris exited the car and disappeared down
an alley. Chris had the shotgun in his jogging pants. About 15 minutes later, the
two returned; petitioner was carrying the shotgun and Chris had money in his
hand, and Chris said “I got him.”
Griffin v. Howes, No. 07-14402, 2009 WL 1034889, at *21 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 17, 2009)
(paragraph break added).
The jury convicted Petitioner of second-degree murder and possession of a firearm during
the commission of a felony. Petitioner was sentenced to a term of parolable life imprisonment
for the murder conviction and a mandatory consecutive term of two years imprisonment for the
Following the convictions, both Daniels and Turner offered affidavits
representing that they offered perjured testimony against Petitioner at trial because of threats and
coercion by the prosecution. Nevertheless, the convictions and sentences were affirmed on
appeal, and Petitioner’s post-conviction motion for relief from judgment was denied.
In 2007, Petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus relief in this Court alleging, inter
alia, that post-conviction affidavits by Turner and Daniels demonstrate his innocence. ECF No.
1. Petitioner’s requested relief was denied. ECF No. 29.
Now before the Court is Petitioner’s motion titled “Rule 60d Independent Action, and
Motion for Relief from the Former Judgment.” ECF No. 35. Petitioner explains that his “motion
is based on a ‘fraud on the district courts’ by attorneys for the State of Michigan via the local
prosecutor’s [sic] office.” Pet’r’s Mot. ¶ 12. Contending that “the Wayne County Prosecutor
used perjured testimony at the trial to convict Petitioner,” Petitioner writes:
Ms. Baldwin admitted that she had perjured herself at the preliminary
examination, and she elected to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights [sic] not to
testify. Consequently, if Ms. Baldwin’s testimony was considered to be false,
why is it so difficult to determine that Turner and Daniels [sic] testimony was not
false [sic] after they admitted such in their affidavits. This is the blatant fraud
upon the courts. . . .
Consequently, this Court is called upon to revisit its former ruling on the claim
under the erroneous defect by adhering to the Michigan Court of Appeals posture,
which failed to address the perjured testimony, but rather, implemented the boiler
plate ruse of procedurally defaulted [sic] to deny relief.
Id. ¶¶ 10, 14. “The court’s opinion on this issue was fatally flawed,” Petitioner asserts, “because
no evidentiary hearing was conducted by the District Court to ascertain whether Mr. Turner or
Mr. Daniels actually falsified their testimony at trial.” Id. ¶ 7.
In substance, Petitioner’s motion is a motion for reconsideration — he requests that the
Court “revisit its former ruling” and reevaluate the impact of the testimony of Messrs. Turner
and Daniels on his conviction.
As a general matter, “the court will not grant motions for . . . reconsideration that merely
present the same issues ruled upon by the court.” E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(h). Likewise, motions for
reconsideration “must be filed within 14 days after entry of the judgment or order.”
Petitioner’s motion was filed in January 2012, more than two years after the opinion that he asks
that the Court “revisit.” Thus, it is not timely. Even if it were timely, it would nevertheless be
denied because it does not demonstrate a “palpable defect by which the court and the parties and
other persons entitled to be heard on the motion have been misled” or “show that correcting the
defect will result in a different disposition of the case.” Id.
As this Court previously explained regarding the testimony of Messrs. Turner and
Turner’s and Daniels’s representation that they offered perjured testimony at trial
lacks credibility and does not establish police-induced perjury. . . . Turner’s
assertion that he was coerced lacks credibility in light of the fact that he was
accompanied by counsel during his police interview. . . . Daniels’s affidavit does
not reveal new evidence because the substance of the testimony was presented to
Griffin, 2009 WL 1034889, at *7. As this passage illustrates, the Court did not assume that
Petitioner’s claim regarding the testimony of these gentlemen had been “procedurally defaulted.”
Rather, the Court carefully considered the evidence, including the affidavits of these gentlemen,
as well as Petitioner’s arguments, before concluding “the circumstances and substance of the
affidavits do not satisfy Petitioner’s burden. . . . Petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief for a
violation of the due process clause.” Id.
To illustrate, Mr. Turner’s affidavit asserts that his statement to the police “was
manufactured, coerced, and submitted under physical and mental duress” and that his trial
testimony was similarly “a product of threats [and] coercion from [the prosecution].” Both of
these assertions, however, are inconsistent with undisputed facts. Regarding the gentleman’s
statement to the police, the evidence shows that Mr. Turner was represented by counsel during
the police interview. Similarly, Mr. Turner’s trial testimony — that Chris, not Petitioner, said “I
got him” — is inconsistent with the assertion that the prosecution coerced Mr. Turner to testify
falsely against Petitioner. Petitioner does not explain how the prosecution coercing a witness to
testify that another man admitted to the crime Petitioner was charged with implicates Petitioner’s
due process rights. If anything, this testimony tends to exculpate, not inculpate, Petitioner.
Mr. Daniels’s affidavit likewise does not entitle Petitioner to the relief he seeks. It asserts
that at the time Mr. Daniels overheard Petitioner admitting to shooting the victim, “I was
intoxicated, and high on heroin” and that Mr. Daniels’s later statement to police was “submitted
under physical and mental duress.” As the Court previously noted, however, the substance of
these allegations was presented to the jury. On direct examination, Mr. Daniels acknowledged
that at the time he overheard Petitioner he had consumed “about a pint-and-a-half” of vodka,
“some 40 ounces” of beer, and “four, five packs” of heroin. On cross-examination, Mr. Daniels
testified that he had been threatened by the police and that he had later lied to the police. In sum,
Mr. Daniels’s affidavit does not reveal a fraud on this Court — rather, it reiterates much of the
testimony by Mr. Daniels at trial.
Finally, Petitioner misapprehends the significance of Ms. Baldwin’s testimony to the
Court’s prior ruling. He argues:
[H]ad the perjured testimony from Ms. Baldwin’s preliminary examination, read
into the records by the prosecution, not entered the trial, it is reasonable to
conclude that Petitioner had a reasonably likely chance of acquittal. This being
completely false testimony, the state perpetrated a fraud upon this court when
presenting this false evidence in its pleadings.
Pet’r’s Mot. ¶ 6. Contrary to Petitioner’s assertions, the Court was fully apprised of the context
of how Ms. Baldwin’s preliminary examination testimony came to be read to the jury. Not only
was the Court provided with the full transcripts of the trial, but also Petitioner’s own appellate
brief on this particular issue (which was, incidently, quoted at length in the Court’s order). And
in objecting to the magistrate’s report, Petitioner did not object to the admissibility of Ms.
Baldwin’s testimony. See Pet’r’s Objections 2–4, ECF No. 26. Consequently, as this was not at
issue before the Court, it did not influence the Court’s decision, much less “perpetrate a fraud”
on the Court.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the “Rule 60d Independent Action, and Motion for
Relief from the Former Judgment” (ECF No. 35) is DENIED WITH PREJUDICE.
s/Thomas L. Ludington
THOMAS L. LUDINGTON
United States District Judge
Dated: February 21, 2012
PROOF OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that a copy of the foregoing order was served
upon each attorney of record herein by electronic means and upon
Randle Griffin, #196968, at G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility,
3500 N. Elm Road, Jackson, MI 49201 by first class U.S. mail on
February 21, 2012.
s/Tracy A. Jacobs
TRACY A. JACOBS
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