Henden v. Smith
ORDER Denying 1 PETITION for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Denying Certificate of Appealability. Signed by District Judge Sean F. Cox. (JMcC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
KIRK BERNARD HENDEN,
Case Number: 2:17-11563
HONORABLE SEAN F. COX
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF
HABEAS CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
Petitioner Kirk Bernard Henden has filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner is incarcerated at the Ionia Maximum Correctional
Facility in Ionia, Michigan. He challenges his 2013 conviction in Manistee County Circuit
Court for assault of a prison employee. It is apparent from the face of the petition that habeas
relief is not warranted. Therefore, the Court summarily dismisses the petition.
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”). The habeas petition does not present grounds which may establish
the violation of a federal constitutional right. The petition will be dismissed.
Review of this case is governed by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
of 1996 (“AEDPA”). Under the AEDPA, a state prisoner is entitled to a writ of habeas
corpus only if he can show that the state court’s adjudication of his claims:
(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 decision of a state court is “contrary to” clearly established federal law 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. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405 (2000). An
“unreasonable application” occurs when “a state court decision unreasonably applies the law
of [the Supreme Court] to the facts of a prisoner’s case.” Id. at 408. “[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.” Id. at 411. “[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). To obtain habeas
relief in federal court, a state prisoner is required to show that the state court’s rejection of
his 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
Petitioner argues that the Manistee County Circuit Court lacked subject matter
jurisdiction over his case because the statute under which he was convicted lacked an
Enacting Clause or title, as required by the Michigan Constitution. This claim is not
cognizable on federal habeas review.
It is well established that “‘federal habeas corpus relief does not lie for errors of state
law.’” Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 67 (1991), (quoting Lewis v. Jeffers, 497 U.S. 764,
780 (1990)). The determination of whether a particular state court is vested with jurisdiction
under state law and is the proper venue to hear a criminal case is a “function of the state
courts, not the federal judiciary.” Wills v. Egeler, 532 F.2d 1058, 1059 (6th Cir. 1976); see
also Strunk v. Martin, 27 F. App’x 473, 475 (6th Cir. 2001). Petitioner’s claim that the
Michigan courts lacked jurisdiction over his criminal case rests only on alleged violations
of the Michigan Constitution. A habeas petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief based upon
an alleged violation of the Michigan Constitution. See Hudson v. Berghuis, 174 F. App’x
948, 952, n.1 (6th Cir. 2006). Federal due process does not require state officials to follow
their own procedural statutes and rules. Sweeton v. Brown, 27 F.3d 1162, 1165 (6th Cir.
1994). The petition fails to allege the violation of the Constitution and relief is denied.
For the reasons stated above, Petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus is
DISMISSED. Furthermore, reasonable jurists would 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 grant a certificate of appealability under 28 U.S.C. §
2253(c)(2). See Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). However, if Petitioner
chooses to appeal the Court’s decision, he may proceed in forma pauperis on appeal because
an appeal could be taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3).
Dated: June 12, 2017
s/Sean F. Cox
Sean F. Cox
U. S. District Judge
I hereby certify that on June 12, 2017, the foregoing document was served on counsel of
record via electronic means and upon Kirk Henden via First Class mail at the address below:
Kirk Henden 652050
IONIA MAXIMUM CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
1576 W. BLUEWATER HIGHWAY
IONIA, MI 48846
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