Robinson v. Jackson
ORDER Granting Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis; Dismissing Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Without Prejudice; Declining to Issue a Certificate of Appealability; Denying Leave to Appeal In Forma Pauperis Signed by District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. (CPin)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
CHRISTOPHER BERNARD ROBINSON,
CASE NO. 17-13366
HONORABLE VICTORIA A. ROBERTS
ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS,
DISMISSING THE PETITION WITHOUT PREJUDICE,
DECLINING TO ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY,
AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
This matter came before the Court on Christopher Bernard Robinson's pro se
petition for the writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Petitioner is a state
inmate at the Carson City Correctional Facility in Carson City, Michigan. He alleges that
he was wrongfully re-convicted on a charge of assaulting, resisting, or obstructing a
police officer and that he is in custody on an expired sentence.
Petitioner failed to exhaust state remedies for these claims, as required by 28
U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1). Accordingly, the Court will dismiss the petition without prejudice.
The petition and exhibits indicate that, in 1989, a state circuit court jury in
Washtenaw County, Michigan found Petitioner guilty of first-degree criminal sexual
conduct. See Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Ex. 2. On January 25, 1990, the state
trial judge sentenced Petitioner to prison for twelve to thirty years. Id. On September 4,
1990, Petitioner pleaded guilty in Ionia County, Michigan to assault on a prison
employee, and on October 29, 1990, an Ionia County circuit judge sentenced Petitioner
to prison for two to four years, consecutive to his previous sentence. Id., Ex. 3.
On April 20, 2004, the Michigan Parole Board released Petitioner on parole, but
on April 20, 2005, Petitioner returned to prison on a charge of violating the conditions of
parole by failing to register as a sex offender. According to Petitioner, his two state
sentences were then "stacked."
On May 18, 2011, the Parole Board once again released Petitioner on parole.
Petitioner remained on parole until April 23, 2013, when state officials charged him with
violating the conditions of parole by assaulting, resisting, and obstructing a police
officer. Petitioner pleaded guilty to violating the conditions of parole, see id., Ex. 4, and
on December 23, 2013, following a bench trial, a Washtenaw County circuit court judge
found Petitioner guilty of assaulting, resisting, and obstructing a police officer. Id., Ex. 5.
The trial judge sentenced Petitioner to a term of two to four years in prison for the crime.
On appeal from his conviction, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that
Petitioner did not knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waive his right to counsel
because the trial court failed to properly advise him of the risks of self-representation.
Accordingly, the Michigan Court of Appeals vacated Petitioner's conviction and
remanded his case to the trial court for further proceedings. Id., Ex. 6.
On remand, the trial court conducted another trial and once again found
Petitioner guilty of assaulting, resisting, and obstructing a police officer. On July 12,
2016, the trial court re-sentenced Petitioner to two to four years in prison with no
sentencing credit. On November 14, 2016, however, the trial court issued an amended
judgment of sentence that awarded Petitioner 917 days of sentencing credit.
Petitioner filed his habeas corpus petition on October 10, 2017. He claims that
the Washtenaw County circuit court's amended judgment of sentence was never
processed and that, even though state records indicate that he has three active
sentences, he served his sentences. He maintains that his warden holds him in
unlawful custody on expired sentences. He seeks release from state custody and a
transfer of custody to the United States Marshal.
Although Petitioner did not pay the filing fee or apply for leave to proceed without
prepayment of the filing fee, the Court grants him permission to proceed in forma
pauperis. The Court, nevertheless, may not grant the writ of habeas corpus unless
Petitioner is "in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United
States." 28 U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). In addition, the Court must dismiss the petition if it
plainly appears from the petition and any attached exhibits that the petitioner is not
entitled to relief. See Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United
States District Courts;1 Day v. McDonough, 547 U.S. 198, 207 (2006).
A preliminary question is whether Petitioner exhausted state remedies for his
claims, as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A), (c). The Supreme Court explained
this requirement in O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838 (1999), stating that
The Court may apply the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases to a petition which
was not filed under § 2254. See Rule 1(b).
[b]efore a federal court may grant habeas relief to a state prisoner, the
prisoner must exhaust his remedies in state court. In other words, the
state prisoner must give the state courts an opportunity to act on his
claims before he presents those claims to a federal court in a habeas
Id. at 842.
"Because the exhaustion doctrine is designed to give the state courts a full and
fair opportunity to resolve federal constitutional claims before those claims are
presented to the federal courts, . . . state prisoners must give the state courts one full
opportunity to resolve any constitutional issues by invoking one complete round of the
State’s established appellate review process." Id. at 845. Thus, to properly exhaust
state remedies, a habeas petitioner must fairly present the factual and legal basis for
each claim in the state court of appeals and in the state supreme court before seeking
federal habeas corpus relief. Wagner v. Smith, 581 F.3d 410, 414-15 (6th Cir. 2009).
The petitioner also bears the burden of showing that he exhausted state court remedies
for his claims. Rust v. Zent, 17 F.3d 155, 160 (6th Cir. 1994).
Petitioner claims he was wrongfully re-convicted and re-sentenced for assaulting,
resisting, or obstructing a police officer and that he is in custody on an expired
sentence. Although exhibits to the petition indicate Petitioner pursued some state
administrative remedies regarding the calculation of his sentences, he has not alleged
or otherwise shown that he presented his claims to the state trial court, the Michigan
Court of Appeals, and the Michigan Supreme Court. He has not carried his burden to
show that he exhausted state-court remedies. The Court, therefore, summarily
dismisses the petition without prejudice.
The Court declines to say whether a future petition would be barred by the
statute of limitations. The Court also declines to issue a certificate of appealability,
because reasonable jurists would not debate whether the Court's procedural ruling is
correct and whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional
right. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000). Finally, the Court declines to grant
permission to appeal this decision in forma pauperis because an appeal could not be
taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3).
S/Victoria A. Roberts
VICTORIA A. ROBERTS
Dated: April 16, 2018
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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