Middlebrook v. Napel, No. 10-2172 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
In 2004 a jury convicted Middlebrook of assault with intent to murder, felony firearm possession, and unlawful driving away of a motor vehicle in connection with the shooting of his former girlfriend. On appeal, Middlebrook argued that he was denied a fair trial when the jury was exposed to extraneous influences and engaged in premature deliberations. The Michigan Court of Appeals determined that there were no extraneous influences; the Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. The district court denied federal habeas relief without addressing the issue of premature deliberations. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. The trial court conducted the necessary inquiry into the allegation of extraneous influences on the jury and the Supreme Court has not entertained a case involving premature deliberations. This is not a case where the state court unreasonably refused to extend a legal principle to a new context in which it should apply.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on December 6, 2012.