Crumley v. Jackson
OPINION AND ORDER (1) GRANTING THE MOTION TO STAY 3 , (2) HOLDING IN ABEYANCE THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS, AND (3) ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING THE CASE. Signed by District Judge Gershwin A. Drain. (TBan)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
MATTHEW ELIOTT CRUMLEY, #869965,
Case No. 17-cv-12497
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
STEPHANIE DAWKINS DAVIS
OPINION AND ORDER (1) GRANTING THE MOTION TO STAY ,
(2) HOLDING IN ABEYANCE THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS,
AND (3) ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSING THE CASE.
Matthew Eliott Crumley (“Petitioner”), confined at the Carson City
Correctional Facility in Carson City, Michigan, seeks the issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. In his pro se application, Petitioner
challenges his conviction for armed robbery, MICH. COMP. LAWS § 750.529; and
third degree fleeing and eluding a police officer, MICH. COMP. LAWS
§ 257.602a(3)(a). Dkt. No. 1, p. 1 (Pg. ID 1).
Petitioner has filed a motion to hold the petition in abeyance during the
pendency of his appeal from the denial of his re-sentencing in the state trial court
following a remand by the Michigan Court of Appeals. Dkt. No. 3. The Court
holds the petition in abeyance and stays the proceedings under the terms outlined
in this opinion. The Court administratively closes the case.
Petitioner was convicted by a jury in the Macomb County Circuit Court.
People v. Crumley, No. 325712, 2016 WL 3542340, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. June 28,
2016). Petitioner filed an appeal of right, raising claims that are included in his
current habeas petition. Id. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed his
conviction, but remanded the case to the Macomb County Circuit Court for the
judge to determine whether petitioner should be re-sentenced, in light of the
Michigan Supreme Court’s decision in People v. Lockridge, 870 N.W.2d 502, 521
(Mich. 2015), which held that Michigan’s Sentencing Guidelines scheme violates
the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. Id. Petitioner claims that his application
for leave to appeal was rejected as being untimely filed by the Michigan Supreme
Court. See Dkt. No. 1, p. 2 (Pg. ID 2); People v. Crumley, 880 N.W.2d 541 (Mich.
Petitioner claims that the trial court on remand denied his request to be resentenced. Dkt. No. 1, p. 7 (Pg. ID 7). Petitioner has filed an appeal from the denial
of his request to be re-sentenced with the Michigan Court of Appeals, which
remains pending with that court. Id.
On July 28, 2017, Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus.1
Petitioner seeks habeas relief on the four grounds that he raised before the
Michigan Court of Appeals on his appeal of right. Id. at 6–11.
Petitioner has filed a motion to stay the proceedings and hold the petition in
abeyance pending his appeal from the trial court’s denial of his request to be
resentenced. Dkt. No. 3.
A federal district court may exercise its discretion to hold in abeyance fully
exhausted federal habeas petitions pending the exhaustion of other claims in the
state courts. See Nowaczyk v. Warden, New Hampshire State Prison, 299 F.3d 69,
77–79 (1st Cir. 2002) (holding that district courts should “take seriously any
request for a stay.”); Bowling v. Haeberline, 246 F. App’x. 303, 306 (6th Cir.
2007) (a habeas court is entitled to delay a decision in a habeas petition that
contains only exhausted claims “when considerations of comity and judicial
economy would be served”) (quoting Nowaczyk, 299 F. 3d at 83); Anthony v.
Cambra, 236 F. 3d 568, 575 (9th Cir. 2000); Thomas v. Stoddard, 89 F. Supp. 3d
937, 943 (E.D. Mich. 2015).
Under the prison mailbox rule, this Court assumes that Petitioner filed his
habeas petition on July 28, 2017, the date that it was signed and dated. See Towns
v. U.S., 190 F. 3d 468, 469 (6th Cir. 1999).
In order for a federal court to justify departing from the “heavy obligation to
exercise jurisdiction,” there must be a compelling reason to choose a dismissal
over a stay. Nowaczyk, 299 F. 3d at 82 (quoting Colorado River Water
Conservation Dist. v. United States, 424 U.S. 800, 820 (1976)). See also Bowling,
246 F. App’x. at 306 (finding that the district court erred in dismissing petition
containing only exhausted claims, rather than exercise its jurisdiction, merely
because petitioner had independent proceeding pending in state court involving
The Court grants Petitioner’s motion to hold the petition in abeyance during
the pendency of Petitioner’s appeal from the denial of his request for re-sentencing.
In so doing, “the Court considers the consequences to the habeas petitioner if it
were to proceed to adjudicate the petition and find that relief is not warranted
before the state courts ruled on unexhausted claims. In that scenario, should the
petitioner subsequently seek habeas relief on the claims the state courts rejected, he
would have to clear the high hurdle of filing a second habeas petition.” Thomas, 89
F. Supp. 3d at 942 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2)). Further, “[i]f this Court were to
proceed in parallel” while Petitioner was pursuing his re-sentencing appeal, “there
is a risk of wasting judicial resources if the state court might grant relief on the
unexhausted claim.” Id. Respondent will not be prejudiced by a stay, whereas
Petitioner “could be prejudiced by having to simultaneously fight two proceedings
in separate courts and, as noted, if this Court were to rule before the state courts,
[Petitioner] would have the heavy burden of satisfying 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2)’s
second-or-successive-petition requirements” should he seek habeas relief on his
new claims. Thomas, 89 F. Supp. 3d at 943.
Where a district court determines that a stay is appropriate pending
exhaustion, the district court “should place reasonable time limits on a petitioner’s
trip to state court and back.” Rhines v. Weber, 544 U.S. 269, 278 (2005). Thus, this
Court imposes time limits within which Petitioner must proceed with his resentencing proceedings. See Palmer v. Carlton, 276 F. 3d 777, 781 (6th Cir. 2002).
The Court holds the petition in abeyance during the pendency of Petitioner’s
appeal from the denial of his re-sentencing in the state courts. This tolling is
conditioned upon Petitioner returning to federal court within sixty (60) days after
the completion of any re-sentencing appeal in the Michigan appellate courts.2 See
Hargrove v. Brigano, 300 F. 3d 717, 721 (6th Cir. 2002).
Where an appellate court in Michigan has remanded a case for some limited
purpose following a defendant’s appeal as of right in a criminal case, a second
appeal as of right—limited to the scope of remand—lies from that decision on
remand. See People v. Kincade, 522 N.W. 2d 880, 882 (Mich. 1994); People v.
Jones, 231 N.W.2d 649, 650 (Mich. 1975).
Accordingly, the Court hereby GRANTS Petitioner’s motion to stay and
hold his habeas petition in abeyance. Dkt. No. 3.
The case is held in abeyance pending the completion of Petitioner’s resentencing appeal in the state courts. Within sixty (60) days after the conclusion of
Petitioner’s appeal, Petitioner may move to amend his habeas petition to add his
new claims. Otherwise, Petitioner must inform the Court that he will proceed with
the petition as is. To avoid administrative difficulties, the Court orders the Clerk of
Court to close this case for statistical purposes only. Nothing in this order shall be
considered a disposition of Petitioner’s petition. See Thomas, 89 F. Supp. 3d at
IT IS SO ORDERED.
August 3, 2017
/s/Gershwin A Drain
HON. GERSHWIN A. DRAIN
United States District Court Judge
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