United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
ORDER AND DECISION
R. ADAMS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter appears before the Court on Petitioner Elijah
Shepherd's objections to the Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation (“R & R”)
recommending dismissal of Shepherd's habeas corpus
action. Doc. 16. For the following reasons, Shepherd's
objections are OVERRULED, and the Court ADOPTS the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation and DISMISSES the
underlying habeas petition. Doc. 16.
& R adequately states the factual and procedural
background of this case. Shepherd has demonstrated no error
in that background, so the Court will not reiterate those
STANDARD OF REVIEW
party files written objections to a magistrate judge's
report and recommendation, a judge must perform a de novo
review of “those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is
made. A judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in
whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of
1996 (AEDPA) governs this Court's review of the
instant case. See Harpster v. Ohio, 128 F.3d 322,
326 (6th Cir. 1997). The relevant portion of the habeas
(d) An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the adjudication of the claim-(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)(1) and (2). As the Magistrate Judge
Clearly established federal law is to be determined by the
holdings of the United States Supreme Court. See Parker
v. Matthews, 132 S.Ct. 2148, 2012 WL 2076341, *6 (U.S.
Jun. 11, 2012); Renico v Lett, 559 U.S., 130 S.Ct.
1855, 1865-1866 (2010); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S.
362, 412 (2000); Ruimveld v. Birkett, 404 F.3d 1006,
1010 (6th Cir. 2005). However, an explicit statement by the
Supreme Court is not mandatory; rather, “the legal
principles and standards flowing from [Supreme Court]
precedent” also qualify as “clearly established
law.” Ruimveld, 404 F.3d at 1010 (quoting
Taylor v. Withrow, 288 F.3d 846, 852 (6th
Cir. 2002)) The Supreme Court has indicated, however, that
circuit precedent does not constitute “clearly
established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme
Court.” Parker, 2012 WL 2076341, *6; Howes
v. Walker, 132 S.Ct. 2741, 2012 WL 508160 (2012).
A state court's decision 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. at 413. By contrast, a state
court's decision involves an unreasonable application of
clearly established federal law “if the state court
identifies the correct governing legal principle from [the
Supreme] Court's decisions but unreasonably applies that
principle to the facts of the prisoner's case.”
Id. However, a federal district court may not find a
state court's decision unreasonable “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. Rather, a federal district court must determine
whether the state court's decision constituted an
objectively unreasonable application of federal law.
Id. at 410-12. “This standard generally
requires that federal courts defer to state-court
decisions.” Strickland v. Pitcher, 162
Fed.Appx. 511, 516 (6th Cir. 2006) (citing Herbert v.
Billy, 160 F.3d 1131, 1135 (6th Cir. 1998)).
In Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 131 S.Ct.
770, 178 L.Ed.2d 624 (2011), the Supreme Court held that as
long as “fairminded jurists could disagree on the
correctness of the state court's decision, ” relief
is precluded under the AEDPA. Id. at 786 (internal
quotation marks omitted). The Court admonished that a
reviewing court may not “treat[ ] the reasonableness
question as a test of its confidence in the result it would
reach under de novo review, ” and that
“even a strong case for relief does not mean the state
court's contrary conclusion was unreasonable.”
Id. at 785. The Court noted that Section 2254(d)
“reflects the view that habeas corpus is a guard
against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice
systems” and does not function as a “substitute
for ordinary error correction through appeal.”
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). Therefore, a
petitioner “must show that the state court's ruling
... was so lacking in justification that there was an error
well understood and comprehended ...