United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E. D
November 20, 1981
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL. CLIFFORD KNIGHT, PETITIONER,
DENNIS WOLFF, WARDEN, AND WILLIAM G. SCOTT, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ILLINOIS, RESPONDENT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Aspen, District Judge:
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Petitioner Clifford Knight and co-defendant Johnny Veal
were tried by a jury sitting in the Circuit Court of Cook
County, Illinois, for the murders of two Chicago police
officers in July, 1970. They were found guilty, sentenced
to concurrent terms
of 100 to 199 years, respectively, and their convictions
were affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court in People v.
Veal, 58 Ill. App.3d 938, 16 Ill.Dec. 188, 374 N.E.2d 963 (1st
Dist. 1978). The Illinois Supreme Court denied leave to appeal,
and the United States Supreme Court denied the application for
a writ of certiorari, Veal v. Illinois, 441 U.S. 908, 99 S.Ct.
2001, 60 L.Ed.2d 378 (1979). Knight and Veal then filed
separate petitions for writs of habeas corpus in the United
States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Veal's petition (No. 80 C 0128) was assigned to this
Court, and Knight's petition (No. 80 C 0409) was assigned
to Judge John Powers Crowley. On February 25, 1981, Judge
Crowley denied Knight's petition in an opinion which
thoroughly dealt with each of the three arguments advanced
by Knight in support of his petition for a writ of habeas
corpus. Knight immediately filed a motion to vacate Judge
Crowley's dismissal of his petition or, in the alternative,
to stay the order pending the resolution of the issues
raised in Veal's petition then pending before this Court.
Judge Crowley took Knight's motion under advisement. On May
14, 1981, this Court granted summary judgment in favor of
Veal on the ground that the state court's refusal to allow
the testimony of Veal's alibi witnesses during his trial
violated his sixth and fourteenth amendment rights to
present witnesses in his behalf and to due process of law.
After Judge Crowley's resignation from the federal bench
in June, 1981, Knight's case was re-assigned to this Court.
This matter is now before the Court on Knight's motion to
vacate Judge Crowley's memorandum opinion and order dated
February 25, 1981, in light of this Court's grant of
summary judgment in favor of Veal on May 14, 1981.
The short response, indeed the only response, to Knight's
motion is that the ground upon which this Court granted
summary judgment in Veal's favor was not raised in Knight's
petition for habeas corpus relief before Judge Crowley.
Knight raised three arguments in support of his habeas
petition: that the prosecutor failed to disclose juvenile
charges that were pending against two key state witnesses;
that the prosecutor suppressed other evidence favorable to
the defense; and that the judge's conduct rendered the
trial fundamentally unfair. Judge Crowley resolved each of
these issues against Knight in the course of a thorough
seven-page memorandum opinion and order. Knight failed to
raise the issue upon which Veal ultimately prevailed,
namely, that the state court's refusal to allow the
testimony of Veal's alibi witnesses violated his sixth and
fourteenth amendment rights. Indeed, Knight could not have
raised this issue since he apparently was able to put on
his defense through occurrence witnesses while Veal did not
put on any defense at all.
Accordingly, Knight's motion to vacate or correct Judge
Crowley's opinion is denied. It is so ordered.
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