Strandberg #807970 v. Palmer
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 17 and denying 14 ; signed by District Judge Paul L. Maloney (Judge Paul L. Maloney, cmc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
SEAN LEE STRANDBERG, #807970,
Honorable Paul L. Maloney
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Sean Strandberg, a state prisoner, filed a petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. §
2254. The magistrate judge issued a report, recommending the petition be denied. (ECF
No. 17.) Strandberg filed objections. (ECF No. 18.)
After being served with a report and recommendation (R&R) issued by a magistrate
judge, a party has fourteen days to file written objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations. 28 U.S.C. ' 636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). A district court judge
reviews de novo the portions of the R&R to which objections have been filed. 28 U.S.C. '
636(b)(1); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b). Only those objections that are specific are entitled to a de
novo review under the statute. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986) (per
curiam) (holding the district court need not provide de novo review where the objections are
frivolous, conclusive or too general because the burden is on the parties to Apinpoint those
portions of the magistrate=s report that the district court must specifically consider@).
The Court has reviewed Strandberg’s objections. Generally, the discussion of the
relevant law in the R&R addresses Strandberg’s concerns.
1. Stay. Strandberg does not object to the recommendation that his motion to stay
2. Polygraph Evidence. Strandberg argues that the polygraph evidence introduced at
his trial could not be cured by an instruction to the jury. To be clear, at trial, a witness
testified that Strandberg “was offered a polygraph[.]” (ECF No. 12-6 PageID.734.) There
was no testimony about the results of a polygraph or even if Strandberg accepted or declined
Strandberg’s objection is overruled. The relevant law was summarized on pages 1214 of the R&R (PageID.1455–57). The state courts resolved this issue as a state law
evidentiary question. The opinions cited by Strandberg are not in conflict with the decision
reached by the state courts. None of the decisions cited by Strandberg address a set of facts
similar to what occurred at Strandberg’s trial.
3. Prosecutorial Misconduct.
A. Vouching. Strandberg does not object to the portion of the R&R that
addresses his claim that the prosecutor improperly vouched for or bolstered the victim’s
Strandberg generally complains that a detective
presented false testimony about what was said during Strandberg’s recorded interview.
Strandberg asserts the prosecutor then used the false testimony in closing, knowing the
testimony was false. In his objection, Strandberg does not identify the allegedly false
Strandberg’s objection is overruled. First, this issue was addressed in the state court
proceedings, where it was resolved in a manner consistent with clearly established federal
law. (R&R at 18 PageID.1461.) Second, Strandberg’s objection is too vague for the Court
to resolve. Even reading the petition, it is not clear about which of the prosecutor’s
statements Strandberg complains. The prosecutor did not refer to the recorded interview as
a confession; the prosecutor repeatedly stated the opposite, that the statements were not a
confession. (R&R at 18 PageID.1461, quoting ECF No. 12-6 PageID.865.)
C. Mischaracterizing the Victim’s Testimony. Strandberg complains that the
prosecutor mischaracterized the victim’s testimony. The dispute is over the phrase “bent
Strandberg’s objection is overruled.
The magistrate judge concluded that the
prosecutor’s argument was simply asking the jury to draw fair inferences from the testimony,
a conclusion wholly supported by the transcript. Defense counsel raised this issue in closing,
arguing that the victim’s testimony did not make sense. The prosecutor then responded to
defense counsel’s theory. The prosecutor did not mischaracterize the victim’s testimony,
which can be found at ECF No. 12-4 PageID.510.
4. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Strandberg acknowledges this claim relies on
his claim of prosecutorial misconduct. Because the Court finds that Strandberg has not
adequately established a claim for prosecutorial misconduct, Strandberg’s claim for
ineffective assistance of counsel must fail. Any objection on this issue is overruled.
The Court has reviewed the petition for the purpose of deciding whether to grant a
certificate of appealability. The magistrate judge recommended denying a certificate of
appealability, a recommendation to which Strandberg did not object. The Court agrees with
the recommendation. Reasonable jurists would not disagree with the manner in which
Strandberg’s claims were resolved.
For these reasons, the Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 17) is ADOPTED as
the Opinion of this Court. Strandberg’s motion to stay the proceedings (ECF No. 14) is
DENIED. A certificate of appealability is also DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Date: June 9, 2017
/s/ Paul L. Maloney
Paul L. Maloney
United States District Judge
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