Henden v. Smith
OPINION and ORDER Denying 1 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Denying Certificate of Appealability, and Denying Leave to Appeal in Forma Pauperis. Signed by District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III. (DPar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 2:17-cv-11564
HONORABLE STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING
PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS, DENYING CERTIFICATE
OF APPEALABILITY, AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Petitioner Kirk Henden is incarcerated at the Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility in
Ionia, Michigan and filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254. A jury in the Wayne Circuit Court convicted Henden of first-degree criminal
sexual conduct, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.520b, and kidnapping, Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 750.349. He was sentenced to concurrent terms of 15 to 30 years imprisonment. The
petition raises two claims: (1) the trial court lacked jurisdiction to try Petitioner because the
criminal statutes do not contain an enacting clause, and (2) the trial court lacked jurisdiction
to try Petitioner because the criminal statutes do not contain a title. For the reasons stated
below, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is summarily denied. The Court will also deny
Petitioner a certificate of appealability and permission to appeal in forma pauperis.
Federal courts are authorized to summarily dismiss any habeas petition that appears
legally insufficient on its face. McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994); Rules
Governing § 2254 Cases, Rule 4, 28 U.S.C. foll. § 2254. After undertaking the review
required by Rule 4, the Court concludes that Petitioner’s habeas claims are meritless, and
the petition is subject to summary dismissal.
Petitioner argues that the Wayne County Circuit Court lacked subject matter
jurisdiction over his case because the criminal-sexual-conduct and kidnaping statutes
lacked an enacting clause and title, as required by Article IV, §§ 23 and 24 of the Michigan
Constitution. The argument is meritless.
The determination of whether a state court is vested with jurisdiction under state law
over a criminal case is a function of the state courts, not the federal courts. Wills v. Egeler,
532 F.2d 1058, 1059 (6th Cir. 1976). "[A] state court’s interpretation of state jurisdictional
issues conclusively establishes jurisdiction for purposes of federal habeas review." Strunk
v. Martin, 27 F. App'x 473, 475 (6th Cir. 2001). Petitioner's claim that the trial court lacked
jurisdiction to try his case raises an issue of state law only, because it questions the
interpretation of Michigan law. It is therefore not cognizable in federal habeas review. See
Toler v. McGinnis, 23 F. App'x 259, 266 (6th Cir. 2001).
Petitioner's related allegation that the Michigan Legislature violated Article IV of the
Michigan Constitution in enacting the criminal statute underlying his convictions also fails
to present a cognizable question on federal habeas review. 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); see also Doyle v. Scutt,
347 F. Supp. 2d 474, 485 (E.D. Mich. 2004). As one court noted: "the United States
Constitution does not require that codification of statutes include enacting clauses and titles
of the legislation." United States v. Ramanauskas, No. CRIM.04-04 PAM/RLE, 2005 WL
189708, at *2 (D. Minn. Jan. 21, 2005).
The Court will summarily deny the petition for a writ of habeas corpus and will also
deny a certificate of appealability. To obtain a certificate of appealability, a prisoner must
make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).
To demonstrate this denial, the applicant is required to show that reasonable jurists could
agree, or at least debate, whether the petition should have been resolved in a different
manner, or that the issues presented were adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed
further. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 483–84 (2000). When a district court rejects a
habeas petitioner's constitutional claims on the merits, the petitioner must demonstrate that
reasonable jurists would find the district court's assessment of the constitutional claims to
be debatable or wrong. Id. at 484. Rule 11 of the Rules Governing Section 2254
Proceedings requires that the Court "must issue or deny a certificate of appealability when
it enters a final order adverse to the applicant."
The Court will deny petitioner a certificate of appealability because reasonable jurists
would not find this Court's assessment of petitioner's claims to be debatable or wrong.
Johnson v. Smith, 219 F. Supp. 2d 871, 885 (E.D. Mich. 2002). The Court will also deny
petitioner leave to appeal in forma pauperis, because the appeal would be frivolous. Allen
v. Stovall, 156 F. Supp. 2d 791, 798 (E.D. Mich. 2001).
WHEREFORE, it is hereby ORDERED that the petition for a writ of habeas corpus
is SUMMARILY DENIED WITH PREJUDICE.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a certificate of appealability is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that leave to appeal in forma pauperis is DENIED.
s/Stephen J. Murphy, III
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III
United States District Judge
Dated: May 26, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the parties
and/or counsel of record on May 26, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
s/David P. Parker
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