Voshell v. Harry
OPINION and ORDER Dismissing 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus without Prejudice, Denying Certificate of Appealability, and Denying Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis on Appeal. Signed by District Judge Thomas L. Ludington. (Sian, M)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
DENNIS VOSHELL, #264768,
Case No. 16-cv-14514
Honorable Thomas L. Ludington
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
WITHOUT PREJUDICE, DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
AND DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS ON APPEAL
This is a habeas case filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner Dennis Voshell is a state
inmate currently incarcerated at the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights,
Michigan. Petitioner does not identify the claims raised or demonstrate that he has exhausted his
state court remedies. The petition, therefore, will be dismissed.
Upon the filing of a habeas corpus petition, the Court must promptly examine the petition
to determine “if it plainly appears from the face of the petition and any exhibits annexed to it that
the petitioner is not entitled to relief.” Rule 4, Rules Governing Section 2254 cases. If the Court
determines that the petitioner is not entitled to relief, the Court shall summarily dismiss the
petition. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994) (“Federal courts are authorized to
dismiss summarily any habeas petition that appears legally insufficient on its face”). A petition
may be summarily dismissed where the allegations are so “vague (or) conclusory” that they do
not “point to a real possibility of constitutional error.” Blackledge v. Allison, 431 U.S. 63, 76
(1977) (internal citations omitted). “[A] claim for relief in habeas corpus must include reference
to a specific federal constitutional guarantee, as well as a statement of the facts which entitle the
Petitioner to relief.”
Gray v. Netherland, 518 U.S. 152, 162-63 (1996) (internal citations
The pending habeas petition challenges convictions for domestic violence and aggravated
stalking, rendered in Roscommon County. The petition will be dismissed under Rule 4 on two
grounds. First, Petitioner fails to specify any specific grounds for relief. The form habeas
petition provides a section for a petitioner to identify the claims raised. Petitioner did not
complete that section of the form, nor did he otherwise identify the claims raised. See Pet. at 5.
The Court will not guess on what basis Petitioner challenges his convictions. The petition is
subject to summary dismissal on this basis.
Second, Petitioner fails to satisfy his burden of demonstrating exhaustion of state court
remedies. The doctrine of exhaustion of state remedies requires state prisoners to present their
claims to the state courts before raising their claims in a federal habeas corpus petition. See 28
U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A) and (c); Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 182 (2011). “Exhaustion
requires ‘fair presentation’ of the federal claim ‘to the state courts, including the state court of
appeals and the state supreme court.’” Williams v. Mitchell, 792 F.3d 606, 613 (6th Cir. 2015),
quoting Bray v. Andrews, 640 F.3d 731, 734-35 (6th Cir. 2011). The burden is on the petitioner
to prove exhaustion. Nali v. Phillips, 681 F.3d 837, 852 (6th Cir. 2012).
Petitioner neither alleges nor establishes that he has sought any review of his convictions
in the Michigan appellate courts. Petitioner must present his claims to the state courts in the first
Before Petitioner may appeal the Court’s decision, a certificate of appealability must
issue. See 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(a); Fed. R. App. P. 22(b). A certificate of appealability may
issue “only if the applicant has made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional
right.” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2). When a court denies relief on procedural grounds without
addressing the merits, a certificate of appealability should issue if it is shown that jurists of
reason would find it debatable whether the petitioner states a valid claim of the denial of a
constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the court was
correct in its procedural ruling. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484-85 (2000).
Petitioner is not entitled to a certificate of appealability because his request for habeas
relief is now moot. See McKinney-Bey v. Hawk-Sawyer, 69 F. App’x. 113 (4th Cir. 2003). Jurists
of reason would not find the Court’s procedural ruling debatable. Accordingly, a certificate of
appealability is not warranted in this case. Leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal will
also be denied, as any appeal would be frivolous. See Fed. R. App. P. 24(a).
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, ECF
No. 1, is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
It is further ORDERED that a certificate of appealability is DENIED.
It is further ORDERED that leave to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal is DENIED.
s/Thomas L. Ludington
THOMAS L. LUDINGTON
United States District Judge
Dated: January 13, 2017
PROOF OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that a copy of the foregoing order was served
upon each attorney or party of record herein by electronic means or first
class U.S. mail on January 13, 2017.
s/Michael A. Sian
MICHAEL A. SIAN, Case Manager
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