Yancey vs Woods
OPINION and ORDER denying 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and declining to issue a certificate of appealability. Signed by District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds. (CBet)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
CASE NO. 14-13838
HONORABLE NANCY G. EDMUNDS
OPINION AND ORDER
DENYING THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
AND DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
This matter has come before the Court on petitioner Mark Yancey’s habeas
corpus petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is challenging his state convictions
for first-degree, premeditated murder, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.316(1)(a), and
possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (“felony firearm”), Mich.
Comp. Laws § 750.227b.
He maintains that (1) there was insufficient evidence to
sustain his convictions, (2) he was denied a fair trial by the admission of hearsay, (3)
the prosecutor’s remarks deprived him of a fair trial, (4) he was denied the assistance of
counsel for several months, and (5) he was denied effective assistance of trial counsel.
Respondent Jeffrey Woods urges the Court to deny the petition on grounds that
Petitioner procedurally defaulted part of his third claim and the state courts’ decisions
were not contrary to federal law, unreasonable applications of federal law, or
unreasonable determinations of the facts.
The Court agrees that the state courts’
decisions were objectively reasonable. Therefore, Petitioner is not entitled to relief, and
the Court will deny the petition.
A. The Trial and Sentence
The charges against Petitioner were based on allegations that he shot and killed
a teenage boy in Detroit, Michigan on May 20, 2009. Petitioner and his co-defendant,
Duane Sain (“Sain”), were tried together, but before separate juries, in Wayne County
The victim’s mother, Paula Holliman, testified that her son was sixteen years old
when he was killed and that everyone loved him. Dr. Francisco Diaz performed the
autopsy on the victim and testified that the victim was shot in the back and on the right
knee. The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds, and the manner of death was
Detroit police officer Robert Skender was dispatched to the scene of the
shooting. He testified that, although there was a street light at the site, it was a little
darker than the area where he found the victim. After EMS took the victim to the
hospital, he secured the area.
Michael Porter testified that, about 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. on May 20, 2009, he and his
friends (Daniel Hines (“Hines”), someone named “C.J.”, and the victim) were “hanging
out” on Stout Street near Wadsworth Avenue. An argument broke out between the
Vaughn Street group, which included Petitioner and Sain, and the Stout Street group,
which included C.J. and Hines. The argument pertained to someone named “Jock” or
“Young Jock” who had stolen some drugs from C.J.’s friend. Everyone scattered when
someone other than the defendants fired a gun into the air.
Later that same day before 11:00 p.m., he (Porter), Hines, C.J., and the victim
walked back to the area of Stout and Wadsworth Streets. A burgundy Caprice car with
a black hood and a damaged front end drove up behind them. Hines said, “There they
go right there.” He (Porter) then turned and noticed that Sain was driving the car, and
Petitioner was seated on the passenger side of the car with a gun. He could see the
driver because the car drove slowly under a street light, which lit up the car. He heard
about ten gunshots come from the car, and, as he and his friends ran away, the victim
said that he was hit and fell down. Someone in the car then yelled “Black Point,” which
was the name of a gang associated with the boys from Vaughn Street.
After the shooting, some older people arrived and appeared to assist the victim.
He and Hines ran to his house where he told his mother and sister what had happened;
they called the 911 operator. Then he and Hines went to C.J.’s house, and all three of
them returned to where the victim had been shot. The police arrived, but he did not
speak with any officers at the scene, and the EMS crew took the victim away on a
stretcher. He learned the next day that the victim had died. On June 6, 2009, he spoke
with Sergeant Diaz and told him what had happened. He also viewed two photo lineups.
He identified Petitioner as the shooter and Sain as the driver of the car that drove by
him and his friends immediately before the shooting. He knew the defendants from the
neighborhood, and, at the time, he thought that Petitioner’s name was Monte.
Hines corroborated much of Porter’s testimony about the incidents that occurred
on May 20, 2009. He stated that Petitioner and Sain were his friends and that he saw
them during the argument on the afternoon of May 20, 2009. Later that night, he saw
someone shooting from the front passenger seat of a brown Caprice, which had a hood
of a different color. He had previously seen Sain driving the car, but he did not see who
was driving the car on May 20, 2009. He also did not see who was shooting from the
car, and he did not tell Sergeant Diaz that the car belonged to Sain.
Detroit police officer Eugene Fitzhugh testified that he responded to the homicide
scene and took photographs. He collected a baseball cap, a tee shirt, a cell phone, and
approximately sixteen casings, all of which were nine millimeter casings. He had to use
a flashlight because there was no street lighting and it was extremely dark there.
Sergeant Michael Martell of the Detroit Police Department also responded to the
scene. He told the evidence technician what to document, photograph, and collect.
There were some street lights on, but the area was not well lit.
Detective Lieutenant David Vroman of the Michigan State Police testified that he
examined seventeen fired cartridge casings and determined that ten of them came from
one gun and the other seven came from another gun. He also examined two fired
bullets, but he had no gun with which to compare the bullets, and one of the bullets
appeared to be unrelated to the case.
Sergeant Gary Diaz was the officer in charge of the case. He explained that he
learned about Porter and Hines from tips and from officers who worked in the area. He
interviewed Porter, who identified Petitioner and Sain in photographs and stated that
they were the individuals whom he saw during the shooting. Hines, on the other hand,
initially was uncooperative, but he “came clean” and told Diaz what he saw after Diaz
showed him Porter’s statement. Both Hines and Petitioner told him that the Caprice
they saw at the shooting was Sain’s car. He investigated other witnesses, including
someone named Monte, but he never learned the identity of “C.J.,” and he was unable
to determine who fired the gunshots on the afternoon of May 20, 2009. He also did not
recover a weapon.
Petitioner did not testify or present any witnesses. His defense was that there
were holes in the prosecution’s case. Defense counsel pointed out to the jury that the
lighting was poor at the scene of the shooting and that the only witness to implicate
Petitioner was Porter, who could not have seen Petitioner in the car at the time of the
shooting. Defense counsel also pointed out that Porter had identified Petitioner as
Monte during the pretrial proceedings and that Monte was someone else. Counsel
concluded her closing argument by stating that the prosecution had not met its burden
of proof and that, if the jurors doubted whether Petitioner pulled the trigger, the only
proper verdict was a “not guilty” verdict.
The trial court instructed the jury on second-degree murder as a lesser-included
offense of first-degree murder, but on March 3, 2010, Petitioner’s jury found him guilty,
as charged, of first-degree murder and felony firearm.1
On March 18, 2010, the trial
court sentenced Petitioner to a mandatory term of two years in prison for the felonyfirearm conviction and to a consecutive term of life imprisonment without the possibility
of parole for the murder conviction.
Sain was also found guilty of first-degree murder.
B. The Direct Appeal and Post-Conviction Proceedings
On direct appeal, Petitioner challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting
his murder conviction, the use of hearsay, the prosecutor’s conduct, the photographic
identification, and the verdict form. The Michigan Court of Appeals rejected Petitioner’s
arguments and affirmed his convictions. See People v. Yancey, No. 297815, 2011 WL
3518212 (Mich. Ct. App. Aug. 11, 2011.) The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to
appeal because it was not persuaded to review the issues. See People v. Yancey, 490
Mich. 974; 806 N.W.2d 738 (2011) (table).
In a subsequent motion for relief from judgment, Petitioner argued that he was
denied counsel for several months during the pretrial investigative stage and that trial
counsel deprived him of effective assistance. The trial court denied Petitioner’s motion
in a reasoned opinion. See People v. Yancey, No. 09-024170-02-FC (Wayne Cty. Cir.
Ct. July 9, 2013). The trial court also denied Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration.
See People v. Yancey, No. 09-024170-02-FC (Wayne Cty. Cir. Ct. Aug. 19, 2013).
Petitioner appealed the trial court’s decision, but both the Michigan Court of
Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal for failure to establish
entitlement to relief under Michigan Court Rule 6.508(D). See People v. Yancey, No.
319355 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 10, 2014); People v. Yancey, 496 Mich. 864; 849 N.W.2d
The Michigan Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s motion for
reconsideration on September 29, 2014. See People v. Yancey, 497 Mich. 872; 853
N.W.2d 375 (2014) (table).
C. The Habeas Petition and Responsive Pleading
On October 3, 2014, Petitioner filed his habeas corpus petition through counsel.
As noted above, he argues that (1) he was convicted on insufficient evidence, (2) he
was denied a fair trial by the admission of hearsay, (3) the prosecutor committed
misconduct, (4) he was denied the assistance of counsel for several months during the
pretrial stage, and (5) he was denied effective assistance of trial counsel. Respondent
argues, among other things, that the portion of Petitioner’s third claim which challenges
the prosecutor’s opening statement and her direct examination of the victim’s mother is
A procedural default is “a critical failure to comply with state procedural law.”
Trest v. Cain, 522 U.S. 87, 89 (1997). It “is not a jurisdictional matter,” id., and to obtain
habeas relief on procedurally defaulted claims, a petitioner “must establish cause and
prejudice for the defaults” and “also show that the claims are meritorious.” Babick v.
Berghuis, 620 F.3d 571, 576 (6th Cir. 2010) (internal citation omitted).
Petitioner’s claims lack merit for the reasons given below. And because “federal
courts are not required to address a procedural-default issue before deciding against
the petitioner on the merits,” Hudson v. Jones, 351 F.3d 212, 215 (6th Cir. 2003), the
Court “cut[s] to the merits here, since the cause-and-prejudice analysis adds nothing but
complexity to the case.” Babick, 620 F.3d at 576.
II. Standard of Review
“The statutory authority of federal courts to issue habeas corpus relief for
persons in state custody is provided by 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as amended by the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA).” Harrington v. Richter,
562 U.S. 86, 97 (2011). “AEDPA sharply limits the circumstances in which a federal
court may issue a writ of habeas corpus to a state prisoner whose claim was
‘adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings.’ ” Johnson v. Williams, 568 U.S.
289, __, 133 S.Ct. 1088, 1094 (2013) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)). The Court may
not grant a state prisoner’s application for the writ of habeas corpus unless the state
court’s adjudication of the prisoner’s claims on the merits
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
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).
Under the “contrary to” clause [of § 2254(d)(1)], a federal habeas court
may grant the writ 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. Under the “unreasonable application”
clause [of § 2254(d)(1)], a federal habeas court may grant the writ if the
state court identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the
Supreme] Court’s decisions but unreasonably applies that principle to the
facts of the prisoner’s case.
Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 412-13 (2000) (O’Connor, J., opinion of the Court for
Part II). “[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. Rather, that application must
also be unreasonable.” Id. at 411.
“AEDPA thus imposes a ‘highly deferential standard for evaluating state-court
rulings,’ Lindh v. Murphy, 521 U.S. 320, 333, n. 7 (1997), and ‘demands that state-court
decisions be given the benefit of the doubt,’ Woodford v. Visciotti, 537 U.S. 19, 24
(2002) (per curiam).”
Renico v. Lett, 559 U.S. 766, 773 (2010).
“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.”
Richter, 562 U.S. at 101 (quoting Yarborough v. Alvarado, 541 U.S. 652, 664 (2004)).
To obtain a writ of habeas corpus from a federal court, a state prisoner must show that
the state court’s ruling on his or her 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. at 103.
Further, “ ‘[i]n a proceeding instituted by an application for a writ of habeas
corpus by a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court, a
determination of a factual issue made by a State court shall be presumed to be correct,’
unless rebutted by ‘clear and convincing evidence.’ ” Holland v. Rivard, 800 F.3d 224,
242 (6th Cir. 2015) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1)), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 1384
(2016). Finally, “review under § 2254(d)(1) is limited to the record that was before the
state court that adjudicated the claim on the merits.” Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170,
A. The Sufficiency of the Evidence
The first habeas claim alleges that Petitioner was convicted on the basis of
insufficient evidence in violation of his right to due process. Petitioner contends that the
testimony of the main prosecution witness was totally inconsistent with his statement to
the police and that the investigating detective may have told the witness what to say
and whom to identify as the perpetrators of the crime. Petitioner further alleges that the
prosecutor failed to establish his intent.
The Michigan Court of Appeals adjudicated Petitioner’s claim on direct appeal
and opined that there was sufficient evidence from which a rational trier of fact could
conclude that Petitioner was the shooter and that he premeditated the shooting.
Petitioner maintains that the state court failed to provide a reasonable or thoughtful
analysis of the issue and, instead, used boilerplate language to resolve the issue.
1. Legal Framework
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution “protects the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond a
reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is
charged.” In re Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 364 (1970). Following Winship, the critical
inquiry on review of a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a criminal
whether the record evidence could reasonably support a finding of
guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But this inquiry does not require a
court to “ask itself whether it believes that the evidence at the trial
established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” Instead, the relevant
question is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have
found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable
doubt. This familiar standard gives full play to the responsibility of
the trier of fact fairly to resolve conflicts in the testimony, to weigh
the evidence, and to draw reasonable inferences from basic facts to
Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 318-19 (1979) (internal citations and footnote
omitted) (emphases in original).
The Supreme Court, moreover, has “never questioned the sufficiency of
circumstantial evidence in support of a criminal conviction, even though proof beyond a
reasonable doubt is required.” Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa, 539 U.S. 90, 100 (2003).
Circumstantial evidence in criminal cases is “intrinsically no different from testimonial
evidence,” Holland v. United States, 348 U.S. 121, 140 (1954), and the prosecution has
no affirmative duty to rule out every hypothesis except that of guilt, Jackson, 443 U.S. at
“Jackson claims face a high bar in federal habeas proceedings because they are
subject to two layers of judicial deference.” Coleman v. Johnson, 566 U.S. 650, __, 132
S. Ct. 2060, 2062 (2012) (per curiam). First, “ ‘it is the responsibility of the jury . . . to
decide what conclusions should be drawn from evidence admitted at trial.’ ” Id. (quoting
Cavazos v. Smith, 565 U.S. 1, 2 (2011) (per curiam)).
And second, on habeas review, “a federal court may not overturn a state
court decision rejecting a sufficiency of the evidence challenge simply
because the federal court disagrees with the state court. The federal court
instead may do so only if the state court decision was ‘objectively
Id. (quoting Smith, 565 U.S. at 2) (quoting Lett, 559 U.S. at 773).
Finally, the Jackson standard “must be applied with explicit reference to the
substantive elements of the criminal offense as defined by state law.” Jackson, 443
U.S. at 324 n.16. Petitioner disputes the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his firstdegree murder conviction. “To establish first-degree premeditated murder [in Michigan],
the prosecution must prove that the defendant intentionally killed the victim and the act
of killing was deliberate and premeditated.” People v. Haywood, 209 Mich. App. 217,
229; 530 N.W.2d 497, 503 (1995). “To premeditate is to think about beforehand; to
deliberate is to measure and evaluate the major facets of a choice or problem.” People
v. Morrin, 31 Mich. App. 301, 329; 187 N.W.2d 434, 449 (1971) (internal and end
footnotes omitted). “[P]remeditation and deliberation may be inferred from all the facts
and circumstances surrounding the incident,” Haywood, 209 Mich. App. at 229; 530
N.W.2d at 503, including the type of weapon used in the crime. People v. Berry, 198
Mich. App. 123, 128; 497 N.W.2d 202, 204 (1993).
The Michigan Court of Appeals summarized the evidence against co-defendant
Sain as follows:
Two eyewitnesses testified that defendants were part of a group that got
into an argument with [the victim] during the day on May 20, 2009. Later
that night, when it was dark outside, Porter saw a car, driven by Sain,
approach slowly before the passenger fired a gun out of the window.
Hines testified that the car also had its headlights off. At the time of the
shooting, Porter heard someone yell “black point,” which he identified as a
reference to the “gang” associated with defendants’ neighborhood.
Yancey, 2011 WL 3518121, at *4. The Court of Appeals observed that the evidence
against Petitioner was identical to the evidence against Sain, “except that Porter
identified [Petitioner] as the shooter, and two witnesses saw [Petitioner] at the
altercation earlier in the day.” Id.
The jury could have inferred from Porter and Hines’ testimony that Petitioner
deliberately shot and killed the victim and that he premeditated the murder after the
argument that occurred earlier in the day.
Petitioner merely speculates that the
eyewitnesses perjured themselves at trial. The record, in fact, belies the claim. Porter
testified that he was being truthful and that no one told him what to say in court. (3/1/10
Trial Tr., at 48.) He also testified that he knew the facts and did not feel pressured to
testify. (Id. at 54.)
Hines admitted that he initially lied to Sergeant Diaz when he denied knowing
anything about the shooting, but he said that Diaz did not pressure him into making a
statement and that he had been hesitant to talk because he was “AWOL from [his]
placement” at the time. Hines also admitted that he had not wanted to testify, but it
appears from the record that his reluctance to testify may have been because Petitioner
and Sain were his friends and he still lived in the neighborhood. (Id. at 109-12.)
A rational juror could have concluded from the evidence taken in the light most
favorable to the prosecution that Petitioner shot and killed the victim with premeditation
and deliberation. Thus, the evidence was sufficient to sustain Petitioner’s conviction for
premeditated murder, and the state court’s adjudication of Petitioner’s claim was not
contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, Jackson. Although Petitioner points out
that the state court did not cite Jackson in its decision, “a state court need not cite or
even be aware of [Supreme Court] cases” to avoid the pitfalls of § 2254(d). Richter, 562
U.S. at 98 (citing Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002) (per curiam)).
deference due the jury’s verdict and the state appellate court’s decision, the Court
concludes that Petitioner has no right to relief on the basis of his challenge to the
sufficiency of the evidence.
The second habeas claim alleges that the admission of hearsay at trial deprived
Petitioner of a fair trial. The alleged hearsay consisted of Sergeant Diaz’ testimony that
Hines had said he saw a Caprice at the time of the shooting and that it was Sain’s
Caprice. (3/2/10 Trial Tr., at 40, 42.) Petitioner argues that the testimony did not come
within an exception to the hearsay rule and that it was used as substantive evidence
against him, in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against
1. Clearly Established Federal Law
“To the extent that any testimony and comments violated Michigan’s rules of
evidence, such errors are not cognizable on federal habeas review.” Hall v. Vasbinder,
563 F.3d 222, 239 (6th Cir. 2009). A claim of improperly admitted evidence is no part of
a federal court’s habeas review of a state conviction because, “[i]n conducting habeas
review, a federal court is limited to deciding whether a conviction violated the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62,
Of course, Petitioner’s Sixth Amendment claim is cognizable on habeas review,
and pursuant to that Amendment, he had “the right . . . to be confronted with the
witnesses against him.” U.S. CONST. amend. VI. This clause “does not necessarily
prohibit the admission of hearsay statements against a criminal defendant, even though
the admission of such statements might be thought to violate the literal terms of the
Clause.” Idaho v. Wright, 497 U.S. 805, 813 (1990). Generally, testimonial statements
of individuals who are absent from trial are admissible if the declarant is unavailable and
the defendant had a prior opportunity to cross-examine him or her.
Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 59, 68 (2004). The term “testimonial” “applies at a minimum
to prior testimony at a preliminary hearing, before a grand jury, or at a former trial; and
to police interrogations.” Id. at 68.
Hines’ statement to Sergeant Diaz – that the Caprice involved in the shooting
belonged to Sain – was testimonial because the statement was made during a police
interrogation. But Hines testified at Petitioner’s trial, and “when the declarant appears
for cross-examination at trial, the Confrontation Clause places no constraints at all on
the use of his prior testimonial statements.”
Id. at 59 n.9.
In other words, the
Confrontation Clause “does not bar admission of a statement so long as the declarant is
present at trial to defend or explain it.” Id.
“The Clause also does not bar the use of testimonial statements for purposes
other than establishing the truth of the matter asserted,” id., and the prosecutor stated
that she was eliciting Sergeant Diaz’ testimony to impeach Hines’ prior testimony that
he did not tell Sergeant Diaz about the car belonging to Sain. (3/2/10 Trial Tr. at 41;
see also 3/1/10 Trial Tr. at 71-75 (Hines’ testimony that he did not tell Sergeant Diaz
that the car belonged to Sain)). The trial court agreed with the prosecutor’s argument
and ruled that the testimony was admissible for impeachment purposes. The court then
instructed the jurors not to consider the testimony for the truth of the matter asserted.
The court said that the jurors could consider the testimony only when deciding whether
they believed Sergeant Diaz’ testimony or Hines’ testimony. (3/2/10 Trial Tr. at 42.)
The Michigan Court of Appeals agreed that Sergeant Diaz’ testimony about
Hines’ out-of-court statement to him was not hearsay because it was offered for
impeachment purposes only and not to prove the truth of the matter asserted. The
Court of Appeals concluded that the hearsay rule was not applicable.
Petitioner argues that Hines’ statement clearly was hearsay and that it was
untrustworthy, unreliable, and extremely prejudicial. But the state court’s interpretation
of the Michigan Rules of Evidence binds this Court sitting in habeas corpus, Bradshaw
v. Richey, 546 U.S. 74, 76 (2005), and Petitioner’s reliance on the “indicia of reliability”
test of Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56, 66 (1980), is misplaced. The Supreme Court
eliminated that test in Crawford, at least so far as testimonial statements are concerned.
See Crawford, 541 U.S. at 68-69.
The Court concludes that Petitioner’s right of confrontation was not violated by
the admission of Sergeant Diaz’ testimony regarding what Hines told him. Furthermore,
the alleged error could not have had a “substantial and injurious effect or influence in
determining the jury’s verdict,” Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 623 (1993), and
was harmless because Porter also testified that the Caprice was Sain’s car. (2/25/10
Trial Tr., at 174.) Habeas relief is not warranted on Petitioner’s claim.
C. The Prosecutor’s Conduct
The third habeas claim alleges that the prosecutor’s comments during opening
statements and closing arguments deprived Petitioner of a fair trial. The Court must
review claims of prosecutorial misconduct deferentially on habeas review. Millender v.
Adams, 376 F.3d 520, 528 (6th Cir. 2004). “[T]he touchstone of due process analysis in
cases of alleged prosecutorial misconduct is the fairness of the trial, not the culpability
of the prosecutor.” Smith v. Phillips, 455 U.S. 209, 219 (1982).
“On habeas review, the standard to be applied to claims of prosecutorial
misconduct is whether the conduct was ‘so egregious so as to render the entire trial
fundamentally unfair.’ ” Pritchett v. Pitcher, 117 F.3d 959, 964 (6th Cir. 1997) (quoting
Cook v. Bordenkircher, 602 F.2d 117, 119 (6th Cir. 1979)).
“In deciding whether
prosecutorial misconduct mandates that habeas relief be granted, the Court must apply
the harmless error standard.” Id. (citing Eberhardt v. Bordenkircher, 605 F.2d 275 (6th
Cir. 1979)). As noted above, an error is harmless unless it had a “substantial and
injurious effect or influence in determining the jury’s verdict.” Brecht, 507 U.S. at 623.
For the reasons given below, the Court finds no merit in Petitioner’s claims about the
1. Generating Sympathy for the Victim
Petitioner alleges that the prosecutor improperly generated sympathy for the
victim. The prosecutor stated in her opening statement that the victim
was a sixteen-year-old child. His life was cut short. He was taken from
his loving parents, his sister, and his brother. His life ended in a violent
barrage of gunfire.
[He] was a good kid who [would] never realize his dream of becoming a
music producer. He died as a result of senseless violence.
(2/25/10 Trial Tr. at 115.)
The prosecutor also elicited testimony from the victim’s mother that the victim
“was a good person,” “very family-oriented,” and “loved by everyone.” Additionally, the
mother stated that the victim wanted to be a music producer and that he had a beautiful
relationship with his daughter. (Id. at 127.)
The Michigan Court of Appeals reviewed Petitioner’s claim for “plain error
affecting substantial rights” because Petitioner did not object to the prosecutor’s
statements or the mother’s testimony at trial. The Court of Appeals then determined
that, even though the statement and testimony were not relevant to any material fact,
they did not deprive Petitioner of a fair trial.
Prosecutors must “refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a
wrongful conviction.” Viereck v. United States, 318 U.S. 236, 248 (1943). They may
not incite the passions and prejudices of the jury by appealing to the jurors’ emotions,
rather than focusing on the relevant facts, issues, and evidence. Id. at 247-48; Johnson
v. Bell, 525 F.3d 466, 484 (6th Cir. 2008). But, as the Michigan Court of Appeals
pointed out on direct review, the prosecutor’s disputed statement and the mother’s
testimony about the victim were brief and isolated. Additionally, the trial court informed
the jurors that opening statements were not evidence, but were meant to help the jurors
understand how each side viewed the case. (2/25/10 Trial Tr., at 111.)
therefore concludes that Petitioner was not deprived of a fair trial by the prosecutor’s
opening remarks and the initial testimony about the victim.
Petitioner’s remaining claim about the prosecutor is that she vouched for the
credibility of Porter and Sergeant Diaz during closing arguments. The Michigan Court of
Appeals stated on review of this claim that the issue was preserved for appellate review,
but that the contested remarks were not improper and did not deprive Petitioner of a fair
a. Clearly Established Federal Law
When the issue is the prosecutor’s remarks during closing arguments, the
“clearly established Federal law” is the Supreme Court’s decision in Darden v.
Wainwright, 477 U.S. 168 (1986). Parker v. Matthews, 567 U.S. 37, __, 132 S. Ct.
2148, 2153 (2012) (per curiam). In Darden, the Supreme Court stated that
it “is not enough that the prosecutors’ remarks were undesirable or even
universally condemned.” Darden v. Wainwright, 699 F.2d [1031, 1036
(11th Cir. 1983)]. The relevant question is whether the prosecutors’
comments “so infected the trial with unfairness as to make the resulting
conviction a denial of due process.” Donnelly v. DeChristoforo, 416 U.S.
637, 94 S.Ct. 1868, 40 L.Ed.2d 431 (1974). Moreover, the appropriate
standard of review for such a claim on writ of habeas corpus is “the narrow
one of due process, and not the broad exercise of supervisory power.” Id.,
at 642, 94 S.Ct., at 1871.
Darden, 477 U.S. at 181; see also Leonard v. Warden, Ohio State Penitentiary, 846
F.3d 832, 852 (6th Cir. 2017) (noting that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Darden and
DeChristoforo establish that the relevant question on review of claims of prosecutorial
misconduct in closing arguments is whether the prosecutors’ comments infected the trial
with such unfairness as to make the resulting conviction a denial of due process). The
Court must “afford wide latitude to a prosecutor during closing argument, analyzing
disputed comments in the context of the trial as a whole and recognizing that
inappropriate comments alone do not justify reversal where the proceedings were
‘otherwise fair.’ ” United States v. Henry, 545 F.3d 367, 377 (6th Cir. 2008) (quoting
United States v. Young, 470 U.S. 1, 11 (1985)).
i. The Comment about Porter
The first instance of alleged vouching occurred when the prosecutor said,
What reason does Michael Porter have to lie about who committed this
crime? None at all. There’s no beef with Michael Porter and these
defendant[s;] he says he knows them from around the neighborhood.
What reason does he have to lie? He tells you initially that he doesn’t
even come forward because he does not want to be involved. He’s afraid
whether he wants to say it or not.
What reason does Mr. Porter have to lie?
Think about what reason Mr. Porter may have to lie.
(3/2/10 Trial Tr., at 119-20) (emphasis added)
“[I]t is improper for a prosecuting attorney in a criminal case to state his [or her]
personal opinion concerning the credibility of witnesses or the guilt of a defendant.”
United States v. Daniels, 528 F.2d 705, 709 (6th Cir. 1976). But it is not improper for a
prosecutor, in her role as an advocate, to “seek to restore, through argument rather
than [her] own personal assurance, the credibility of [her] chief
witness. That is a
permissible prosecutorial function.” United States v. Garcia, 758 F.3d 714, 723 (6th Cir.
2014). And arguing that a prosecution witness is credible because the witness had no
reason to lie is not improper if the prosecutor did not imply that she personally believed
the witness or knew of evidence which demonstrated the witness’s truthfulness, but was
not before the jury. United States v. Jackson, 473 F.3d 660, 672 (6th Cir. 2007). The
Sixth Circuit’s “cases have found improper vouching only where the disputed remark put
the spotlight on the prosecutor—the prosecutor’s personal beliefs, the prestige of her
office, . . . , her unique knowledge of the facts, etc.” Garcia, 758 F.3d at 724.
Here, the prosecutor did not express her personal belief in Porter’s credibility.
She also did not rely on the prestige of her office or on any unique knowledge of the
facts. Instead, she argued on the basis of the admissible evidence that Porter had no
motive to lie to the jury.
The remarks did not amount to vouching and were not
ii. The Comment about Sergeant Diaz’ Purpose
The next instance of alleged vouching occurred when the prosecutor said that
Sergeant Diaz’ purpose was “to state the truth.” The comment, in context, reads:
Counsel wants you to believe that Sergeant Diaz had it in for either Mr.
Sain or both of these defendant[s]. If Sergeant Diaz had it in for anyone
why further investigate?
Why except he gets a statement from Mr. Porter in June. Why hunt down
Mr. Hines? Why take a statement from Collin Yancey, Marcus Esters and
Why take a statement from those people if he’s got it out for these
individuals? Sergeant Diaz[’] purpose is to state the truth.
(3/2/10 Trial Tr., at 145) (emphasis added)
The prosecutor may have meant to say that Sergeant Diaz’ purpose was to seek
the truth. In any event, the comment appears to have been a response to a question
posed by Sain’s attorney on cross-examination of Diaz. Counsel asked Sergeant Diaz
whether he had “set in [his] heart that [Sain was] guilty” and whether that was why Sain
was on trial. (3/2/10 Trial Tr. at 62.) The prosecutor’s closing remark that Sergeant
Diaz’ purpose was to state the truth was a proper response to defense counsel’s
questioning of Diaz, which implied that Diaz had a preconceived notion of the
Even if the prosecutor’s remark improperly suggested that Sergeant Diaz testified
truthfully, counsel for Sain objected on the ground that the prosecutor was vouching for
the credibility of her witnesses. The trial court then instructed the jury to make its own
decision about the credibility of each witness. (Id. at 145-46.)
The trial court gave a similar instruction at the beginning and at the conclusion of
the trial. During the court’s preliminary instructions to the jury, the trial court stated that
it was the jurors’ responsibility to decide which witnesses to believe, how important they
thought the testimony was, and how much of what the witnesses said was believable.
The court stated that the jurors were not required to accept everything a witness said
and that they were free to believe all, none, or part of a person’s testimony. (2/25/10
Trial Tr. at 109, 112.)
At the close of the proofs, the trial court instructed the jurors that the lawyers’
statements and arguments were not evidence, but were meant to help the jurors
understand the evidence and each side’s legal theories. The court also instructed the
jurors to judge the testimony of police officers by the same standards used to evaluate
the testimony of other witnesses. (3/2/10 Trial Tr. at 150-52, 155.) In light of these
instructions, which the jurors are presumed to have followed, Richardson v. Marsh, 481
U.S. 200, 210 (1987); Stanford v. Parker, 266 F.3d 442, 459 (6th Cir. 2001), the
Michigan Court of Appeals reasonably concluded that the prosecutor’s comments did
not deprive Petitioner of a fair trial.
iii. The Comment about Witnesses who Identified the Caprice
The final comments in dispute concern witnesses who testified about ownership
of the car used in the shooting. This issue first arose when Sain’s attorney questioned
Sergeant Diaz regarding his determination that Sain owned the brown Caprice involved
in the shooting.
Sergeant Diaz stated in response to counsel’s questions that his
conclusion about ownership of the car was based on what Porter, Sain, and six or
seven other witnesses had said.
(3/2/10 Trial Tr. at 55.)
Later, in response to a
question by the prosecutor, Sergeant Diaz testified that he did not base his opinion as to
ownership of the car solely on what Porter and Hines had said.
(Id. at 87.)
comments in dispute occurred when the prosecutor stated during her rebuttal argument
that several people who provided statements to Sergeant Diaz and who identified Sain’s
car had no reason to lie. (Id. at 146.)
The Michigan Court of Appeals determined that the prosecutor’s comment was
permissible because it did not involve improper vouching. This Court agrees. The
prosecutor did not say that she personally believed the people whom Sergeant Diaz
interviewed, and she did not imply that she knew something about credibility which the
jury did not know. Therefore, stating that the witnesses who identified Sain’s car had no
reason to lie was not improper.
In conclusion, the prosecutor had “ ‘wide latitude’ during closing argument to
respond to the defense’s strategies, evidence and arguments.” Bedford v. Collins, 567
F.3d 225, 233 (6th Cir. 2009), and, her arguments did not amount to improper vouching.
Her remarks also did not infect the trial with such unfairness as to deprive Petitioner of
due process. The Court therefore declines to grant relief on Petitioner’s claim that the
prosecutor vouched for her witnesses.
D. The Absence of Counsel during a Pretrial Stage
The fourth habeas claim alleges that Petitioner was constructively deprived of
assistance of counsel for about two months before trial, specifically, from December of
2009 to February 17, 2010. Petitioner argues that this period was a critical stage of the
proceedings and, therefore, no showing of prejudice is required.
Petitioner first raised this claim in his motion for relief from judgment. The state
trial court rejected the claim because Petitioner was not completely denied counsel
during the pretrial investigation period and because his attorney had an adequate
amount of time to prepare for trial.
1. Clearly Established Federal Law
The Supreme Court has said that, “once the adversary judicial process has been
initiated, the Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the right to have counsel
present at all ‘critical’ stages of the criminal proceedings.” Montejo v. Louisiana, 556
U.S. 778, 786 (2009). In United States v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648 (1984), the Supreme
held that courts may presume that a defendant has suffered
unconstitutional prejudice if he ‘is denied counsel at a critical stage of his
trial.” 466 U.S., at 659, 104 S.Ct. 2039. And in Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685,
696, 122 S.Ct. 1843, 152 L.Ed.2d 914 (2002), [the Supreme Court]
characterized a “critical stage” as one that “held significant consequences
for the accused.”
Woods v. Donald, 135 S. Ct. 1372, 1375–76, 191 L. Ed. 2d 464 (2015).
“Pretrial proceedings are ‘critical,’ then, if the presence of counsel is essential ‘to
protect the fairness of the trial itself.’ ” United States v. Ash, 413 U.S. 300, 322 (1973)
(Stewart, J., concurring in the judgment) (quoting Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S.
218, 239 (1973)); see also Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 122 (1975) (stating that the
Supreme Court “has identified as ‘critical stages' those pretrial procedures that would
impair defense on the merits if the accused is required to proceed without counsel”);
Mitchell v. Mason, 325 F.3d 732, 743 (6th Cir. 2003) (stating that “[t]he pre-trial period
constitutes a ‘critical period’ because it encompasses counsel’s constitutionally imposed
duty to investigate the case”).
The state trial court summarized the facts leading to Petitioner’s claim as follows:
Defendant’s pre-trial investigation period, from his preliminary examination
to the first day of trial, lasted just under five months. Mr. [John]
McWilliams was assigned to represent Defendant. Mr. McWilliams
represented Defendant from the time of his preliminary exam through a
pre-trial conference over one month later, where Mr. McWilliams argued a
motion to quash. According to Mr. McWilliams, a few weeks after arguing
that motion he stopped representing Defendant. Then Defendant retained
Ms. [Tiffany] McEvans, who filed her first appearance two months after Mr.
McWilliams stopped representing Defendant, and one week before trial. . .
. [D]uring her first formal appearance on behalf of Defendant, Ms.
McEvans failed to correct the Court when the Court cited that she had
been on the case since December. Regardless of when she was hired,
Ms. [McEvans] represented Defendant for at least the last seven days of
his pre-trial investigation period. So, even assuming the facts in a light
most favorable to Defendant, . . . he was represented for the first two and
a half months, and the last seven days, of his pre-trial investigation period,
with a two month gap in between.
People v. Yancey, No. 09-024170-02-FC, Op. & Order, at 4 (Wayne Cty. Cir. Ct. July 9,
2013) (footnotes omitted). The trial court concluded that, because Petitioner was not
denied counsel for the entire pre-trial investigation period, and because his trial attorney
had an adequate amount of time to prepare for trial, he did not suffer any prejudice. (Id.
Petitioner contends that he never had an opportunity to inform Mr. McWilliams of
his witnesses or to otherwise assist in his defense. It was not a complicated case,
however, and Petitioner’s defense was that Porter had mistakenly identified him. He
was not denied counsel during the entire pretrial stage of the proceedings, and he
should have been able to assist in his defense during the two and a half months or more
that he was formally represented by counsel.
The Court concludes that the alleged lack of counsel for a few months before trial
did not have significant consequences for Petitioner. The absence of counsel did not
impair Petitioner’s defense or deprive him of a fair trial. In fact, he stated at trial that he
did not wish to testify or to call any witnesses. (3/2/10 Trial Tr., at 109.) As there was
not a complete absence of counsel during the pretrial stage, the presumption of
prejudice does not apply, and because Petitioner has not shown that he suffered actual
prejudice from the temporary lack of counsel, his claim lacks merit.
E. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
The fifth and final habeas claim alleges that Petitioner was denied effective
assistance of trial counsel. Petitioner claims that Ms. McEvans was not prepared to try
his case, that she failed to investigate or call numerous alibi witnesses, and that she
failed to inform the trial court that she had only seven days to investigate and prepare
The state trial court adjudicated this claim on the merits during post-conviction
proceedings. The trial court determined that trial counsel was prepared for trial, that
she had a sound strategy, and that her decision not to present an alibi defense was
strategic, not deficient performance.
1. Clearly Established Federal Law
The “clearly established Federal law” for Petitioner’s claim is Strickland v.
Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). Under Strickland, a defendant must demonstrate
“that counsel’s performance was deficient” and “that the deficient performance
prejudiced the defense.” Id. at 687. An attorney’s performance is deficient if “counsel’s
representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness.” Id. at 688. The
defendant must show “that counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not
functioning as the ‘counsel’ guaranteed the defendant by the Sixth Amendment.” Id. at
The prejudice prong of the Strickland test “requires showing that counsel’s errors
were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial whose result is reliable.”
Id. The defendant must demonstrate “a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s
unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.
reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the
outcome.” Id. at 694. “This does not require a showing that counsel’s actions ‘more
likely than not altered the outcome,’ ” but “[t]he likelihood of a different result must be
substantial, not just conceivable.” Richter, 562 U.S. at 111-12 (quoting Strickland, 466
U.S. at 693).
In a habeas case, moreover, review of an ineffective-assistance-of-
is “doubly deferential,” Cullen v. Pinholster, 563 U.S. 170, 190, 131 S.Ct.
1388, 179 L.Ed.2d 557 (2011), because counsel is “strongly presumed to
have rendered adequate assistance and made all significant decisions in
the exercise of reasonable professional judgment,” Burt v. Titlow, 571 U.S.
––––, ––––, 134 S.Ct. 10, 17, 187 L.Ed.2d 348 (2013) (quoting Strickland
v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 690, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984);
internal quotation marks omitted). In such circumstances, federal courts
are to afford “both the state court and the defense attorney the benefit of
the doubt.” Burt, supra, supra, at ––––, 134 S.Ct., at 13.
Woods v. Etherton, 136 S. Ct. 1149, 1151 (2016) (per curiam).
a. Preparation; Failure to Inform
Petitioner alleges that Ms. McEvans was not prepared for trial because she filed
an appearance in his behalf seven days before trial. While it is true that Ms. McEvans
filed an appearance on February 17, 2010, and that the trial commenced a week later
on February 24, 2010, the record indicates that she was prepared to try the case. She
appears to have been fully aware of the facts before February 17, 2010, because she
implied then that she had read the witness statements and the transcript of the
preliminary examination. (Special Pretrial/Motion Hr’g, at 7-8, Feb. 17, 2010.)
even though she moved to adjourn the trial, the reason for the motion was Petitioner’s
last-minute request for her to contact two additional potential witnesses. (Id. at 3-4.) At
trial, Ms. McEvans made an opening statement, cross-examined witnesses, made a
closing argument, and attempted to show that Porter was mistaken when he identified
Petitioner as the shooter, because he could not have seen Petitioner in the car.
Ms. McEvans states in an affidavit signed on February 29, 2012, that reasonable
time was needed to properly prepare for trial and that she had only seven days to
investigate and prepare for trial. But nowhere in the affidavit does she state that she
was unprepared. See Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Ex. C. And, as the trial court
pointed out on review of Petitioner’s claim, the transcript of trial indicates that Ms.
had a sound strategy[:] to attack the credibility of the one witness who
identified Defendant. Counsel made the jury aware of her intentions to
attack the witness’ credibility in her opening statement. She repeatedly
attempted to impeach that witness during cross-examination, regarding
the fact that the witness identified Defendant as someone name Monte.
Trial counsel further pursued this line of questioning with the officer in
charge as well. When cross examining other witnesses who were at the
scene, or investigating the scene, she sought to point out that the lighting
in the area was too dark for someone to identify her client. And, she drove
her point home one last time during her closing statement.
People v. Yancey, No. 09-024170-02-FC, Op. & Order, at 7 (Wayne Cty. Cir. Ct. July 9,
2013) (footnotes omitted). The trial court’s conclusion – that, at no point during the trial
did counsel appear unprepared – was objectively reasonable..
Petitioner contends that Ms. McEvans should have informed the trial judge that
she had only one week to investigate and to prepare the case for trial and that she was
unprepared. But the fact that Ms. McEvans had a short time to prepare for trial should
have been obvious to the trial court on February 17, 2010, when Ms. McEvans filed her
appearance and moved to postpone the trial date. And because she appears to have
been prepared,2 she was not ineffective for failing to tell the court that she was
b. Failure to Call Alibi Witnesses
Petitioner’s final claim about Ms. McEvans is that she failed to investigate
Petitioner’s alibi defense and call Petitioner’s alibi witnesses. Petitioner asserts that he
had six witnesses who could have established an alibi defense for him by testifying that
he was in a house with them when the shooting occurred.
“[T]he failure to call a known alibi witness generally would constitute ineffective
assistance of counsel.” Bigelow v. Williams, 367 F.3d 562, 570 (6th Cir. 2004); see also
Blackburn v. Foltz, 828 F.2d 1177, 1183 (6th Cir. 1987) (concluding that the failure to
investigate a known and potentially important alibi witness was outside the range of
professionally competent assistance). “But counsel's strategic decision not to mount an
all-out investigation can, in some circumstances, be supported by reasonable
professional judgment.” Stadler v. Berghuis, 483 F. App'x 173, 176 (6th Cir. 2012)
(citing Burger v. Kemp, 483 U.S. 776, 794–95 (1987)). “In any ineffectiveness case, a
particular decision not to investigate must be directly assessed for reasonableness in all
the circumstances, applying a heavy measure of deference to counsel’s judgments.”
Strickland, 466 U.S. at 691. The Court “must presume that decisions of what evidence
to present and whether to call or question witnesses are matters of trial strategy.”
She did not contest the court’s denial of her motion for an adjournment of the trial date
even though the court indicated that it would reconsider the issue if counsel brought
something else to the court’s attention before trial.
Cathron v. Jones, 77 F. App’x 835, 841 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Hutchison v. Bell, 303
F.3d 720, 749 (6th Cir. 2002)).
The record indicates that Ms. McEvans considered an alibi defense and filed a
notice of alibi, but then decided not to pursue the defense.
The question then is
whether Ms. McEvans was ineffective for failing to adequately investigate an alibi
defense and produce alibi witnesses at trial. Petitioner has attached to his habeas
petition affidavits from six individuals who attempt to show that Petitioner was at his
grandmother’s house at the time of the shooting. But even if the Court were to assume
that Ms. McEvans failed to fully investigate these six individuals, Sergeant Diaz testified
at trial that he interviewed four of the individuals (Collin Yancey, Ronald Pearson,
Marcus Ester, and Marcus Jackson), and when he tried to serve them with subpoenas,
he was unable to contact or serve them. He opined that they did not want to be notified.
(3/2/10, Trial Tr. at 45-46, 51-52.) Thus, any failure to fully investigate the male alibi
witnesses did not prejudice the defense.
Petitioner’s other two alibi witnesses (Beverly Thornton and Tracy Yancey)
apparently were related to him, and Ms. McEvans could have concluded that the
women would not have been credible alibi witnesses for that reason. In fact, Tracy
Yancey states in her affidavit that Petitioner’s trial attorney thought it would appear to
the jury that she was trying to cover up for Petitioner if she testified. (Pet. for Writ of
Habeas Corpus, Ex. E, page 12.)
Ms. McEvans appears to have made a strategic and reasonable decision
concerning the amount of investigation that was necessary and whether an alibi
defense was viable. Petitioner, in fact, stated at trial that he did not wish to testify or
present any witnesses (3/2/10 Trial Tr., at 109), and at his sentencing, he expressed
satisfaction with Ms. McEvans’ services. (3/18/10 Sentencing Tr., at 10). Therefore,
the trial court’s rejection of Petitioner’s claim was not contrary to, or an unreasonable
application of, Strickland, and Petitioner is not entitled to relief on his claim.
The state courts’ decisions were not contrary to federal law, unreasonable
applications of federal law, or unreasonable determinations of the facts. The decisions
also were not so lacking in justification that there was an error beyond any possibility for
fairminded disagreement. Accordingly, the habeas petition is denied.
V. Certificate of Appealability
“[A] prisoner seeking postconviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 has no
automatic right to appeal a district court’s denial or dismissal of the petition. Instead,
[the] petitioner must first seek and obtain a [certificate of appealability.]” Miller-El v.
Cockrell, 537 U.S. 322, 327 (2003). 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). “A petitioner satisfies this standard by demonstrating that jurists of
reason could disagree with the district court's resolution of his constitutional claims or
that jurists could conclude the issues presented are adequate to deserve
encouragement to proceed further.” Miller-El, 537 U.S. at 327.
Reasonable jurists could not debate the Court’s assessment of Petitioner’s
claims, nor conclude that the issues deserve encouragement to proceed further. The
Court therefore declines to issue a certificate of appealability.
s/ Nancy G. Edmunds
NANCY G. EDMUNDS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: June 1, 2017
CERTIFICATION OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing Order was served by electronic means or
U.S. Mail to Counsel of Record and/or Pro Se Parties on June 1, 2017.
s/ Carol J. Bethel
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