Jones v. People of the State of Michigan
OPINION AND ORDER transferring case to the USCA for the Sixth Circuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2244(b)(3)(A). Signed by District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith. (DPer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
RODRICK L. JONES,
Case No. 17-cv-10086
HON. MARK A. GOLDSMITH
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF
OPINION AND ORDER
TRANSFERRING CASE TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE
SIXTH CIRCUIT PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A)
Petitioner Rodrick L. Jones, confined at the Clinton County Jail in St. Johns, Michigan
while on parole supervision to the Michigan Department of Corrections, filed a pro se petition
for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Dkt. 1). Petitioner was convicted in the
Isabella County Circuit Court in case number 07-1926-FH of delivery of less than 50 grams of
cocaine, Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.7401(2)(a)(iv), for an offense which took place on September
2, 2007. Petitioner was convicted in the Isabella County Circuit Court in Case of first-degree
home invasion, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.110a; bribing, intimidating, or interfering with a
witness, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.122; and being a third habitual offender, Mich. Comp. Laws §
769.11, for an offense which took place on September 1, 2007. Petitioner’s habeas petition is a
successive challenge to both convictions. Therefore, the Court transfers this case to the United
States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b(3)(A) for a
determination of whether Petitioner should be permitted to file a successive habeas petition.
Petitioner previously filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, in which he challenged his
2007 conviction for delivery of less than 50 grams of cocaine, which was denied on the merits.
Jones v. McKee, No. 2:10-CV-11675 (E.D. Mich. July 26, 2011) (Cohn, J.). Petitioner also
previously filed a habeas petition challenging his conviction for first-degree home invasion,
bribing, intimidating, or interfering with a witness, and being a third habitual offender. The
petition was dismissed on the ground it was barred by the one-year statute of limitations
contained in 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1). Jones v. Curtin, No. 2:13-CV-11778 (E.D. Mich. Dec. 30,
2013) (Friedman, J.).
Petitioner’s current habeas petition is rambling and difficult to understand, but he
references both convictions in his habeas petition. It is unclear whether Petitioner seeks relief on
one or both convictions, but he appears to raise claims involving both convictions.
Before a second or successive habeas petition is filed in a federal district court, a habeas
petitioner shall move in the appropriate court of appeals for an order authorizing the district court
to consider the petition. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A); Stewart v. Martinez-Villareal, 523 U.S. 637,
641 (1998); In re Wilson, 142 F. 3d 939, 940 (6th Cir. 1998). Under the provisions of the
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), a federal district court does not have
jurisdiction to entertain a successive post-conviction motion or petition for writ of habeas corpus
in the absence of an order from the court of appeals authorizing the filing of such a successive
motion or petition. Ferrazza v. Tessmer, 36 F. Supp. 2d 965, 971 (E.D. Mich. 1999). Unless the
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has given its approval for the filing of a second or successive
petition, a district court in the Sixth Circuit must transfer the petition or motion to the Sixth
Circuit, no matter how meritorious the district court believes the claim to be. Id.; see also In Re
Sims, 111 F.3d 45, 47 (6th Cir. 1997). This requirement transfers to the court of appeals a
screening function that the district court previously would have performed. Felker v. Turpin,
518 U.S. 651, 664 (1996).
Petitioner previously filed a habeas petition with the federal courts challenging both
convictions. Petitioner’s prior habeas petition challenging his delivery of cocaine conviction was
denied on the merits. Petitioner’s prior habeas petition challenging his home invasion, bribing,
intimidating, or interfering with a witness, and habitual offender convictions was dismissed on
the ground that it was barred by the one-year statute of limitations contained in 28 U.S.C. §
2244(d(1). The dismissal of the petition by Judge Friedman for Petitioner’s failure to comply
with the AEDPA’s one-year statute of limitations is considered an adjudication on the merits that
renders the current petition “second or successive” for the purpose of § 2244(b), with respect to
this conviction. See In re Rains, 659 F.3d 1274, 1275 (10th Cir. 2011); In re Flowers, 595 F.3d
204, 205 (5th Cir. 2009) (per curiam); McNabb v. Yates, 576 F.3d 1028, 1029 (9th Cir. 2009);
Murray v. Greiner, 394 F.3d 78, 81 (2nd Cir. 2005); Altman v. Benik, 337 F.3d 764, 765 (7th
Cir. 2003) (per curiam); cf. In re Cook, 215 F.3d 606, 607-608 (6th Cir. 2000) (when petitioner’s
first habeas application was dismissed for procedural default arising from failure to exhaust state
remedies where the statute of limitations had run on those remedies, the dismissal was “on the
merits,” and the petitioner’s later habeas application was “second or successive,” for purposes of
Petitioner’s current habeas petition is successive, regardless of whether he
challenges one or both of these convictions.
Accordingly, the Clerk of Court is ordered to transfer the habeas petition to the United
States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit pursuant to Sims and 28 U.S.C. § 1631. See Galka
v. Caruso, 599 F. Supp. 2d 854, 857 (E.D. Mich. 2009). Although neither party raised the issue
of this being a second or successive petition, it is appropriate for this Court to consider the issue
sua sponte because subject matter jurisdiction goes to the power of the courts to render decisions
under Article III of the Constitution. See Williams v. Stegall, 945 F. Supp. 145, 146 (E.D. Mich.
1996). Because this appears to be a successive habeas petition, it would be error for this Court to
dismiss the petition as being time barred, rather than transfer it to the Sixth Circuit, because such
a timeliness inquiry would be premature prior to any determination by the Sixth Circuit whether
Petitioner should be given authorization pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A) to file a
successive habeas petition. See In Re McDonald, 514 F. 3d 539, 543-44 (6th Cir. 2008).
Petitioner has not obtained the appellate authorization to file a subsequent petition as
required by 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(3)(A). Accordingly, the Court orders the Clerk of the Court to
transfer this case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Dated: January 12, 2017
s/Mark A. Goldsmith
MARK A. GOLDSMITH
United States District Judge
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record and
any unrepresented parties via the Court's ECF System to their respective email or First Class
U.S. mail addresses disclosed on the Notice of Electronic Filing on January 12, 2017.
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