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UNITED STATES EX REL. CHATMAN v. LANE

November 4, 1983

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL. MELVIN CHATMAN, PETITIONER,
v.
MICHAEL LANE, DIRECTOR, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND JAMES THEIRIT, WARDEN, GRAHAM CORRECTIONAL CENTER, RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Melvin Chapman was charged with armed robbery in the Circuit Court of Cook County. After a jury trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. The Illinois Appellate Court, with one Justice dissenting, affirmed the conviction. People v. Chapman, 105 Ill. App.3d 276, 61 Ill.Dec. 156, 434 N.E.2d 309 (1st Dist. 1982). Leave to appeal was denied by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Chapman filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus claiming that the trial judge denied his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to present a "key defense witness" as a sanction for Chapman's "de minimus violation" of an Illinois discovery rule. On May 17, 1983, this Court ruled that Chapman had exhausted his state remedies as required by 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Presently before the Court are Chapman's and respondents' cross motions for summary judgment.*fn1 Jurisdiction is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons stated herein, Chapman's motion for summary judgment is denied and respondents' motion for summary judgment is granted.

I. FACTS

When the police arrived, Sherry described the man as having a goatee and straggly hair on his cheeks. In January of 1977, Sherry identified Chatman's picture from a police mug book. Two days after the photographic identification, Sherry identified Chatman in a lineup.

At trial, Sherry again identified Chatman as the same man who robbed her on December 23, 1976. On cross-examination, Sherry was questioned regarding a prior description she gave at a preliminary hearing which was apparently inconsistent with her testimony at trial. Specifically, defense counsel cross-examined Sherry as follows:

    MRS. HUBBARD [defense attorney]: Were you asked
  this question, and did you give this answer?
  "QUESTION: Did the individual have sideburns?"
  "ANSWER: No, he had a mustache and beard."
    Were you asked that question and did you give that
  answer?
    MS. SHERRY [complaining witness]: I am thinking
  about, — I really don't remember that.
    MRS. HUBBARD: "QUESTION: A full beard?" "ANSWER:
  Yes."
    Were you asked that question and did you give that
  answer?
    MS. SHERRY: I am thinking back. I really don't
  ...

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