English v. Berghuis, No. 16-2676 (6th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
In 2006, English was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct based on sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old acquaintance while she was asleep. The court sentenced English to 21-180 months’ imprisonment. English has been released. After the trial,“Juror A” revealed that her father had sexually abused her at age eight. English was granted a new trial. The Court of Appeals reversed, reinstating English’s conviction. The Michigan Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. A state court denied post-judgment relief. The Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court denied discretionary review, using routine language. English's federal habeas petition was dismissed. The Sixth Circuit concluded that deference to the state courts was improper because the district court failed to make the requisite determination that English’s federal claim had been adjudicated on the merits and applied de novo review. The court found that reasonable jurists could disagree on whether English was denied a fair trial. English made a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right. Juror A’s failure to disclose; the evidence that Juror A would have known that her past abuse was relevant at voir dire; and inconsistencies in her account at the evidentiary hearing, all indicate deliberate concealment, permitting an inference of bias.