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WILSON v. LANE

April 19, 1988

MIRIAM WILSON, NADINE SCHNURSTEIN, RONALD BARROW, GLORIA ABBEY-LYLES AND PATRICIA VADER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS NEXT FRIENDS ACTING ON BEHALF OF CHARLES WALKER, PETITIONERS,
v.
MICHAEL LANE, DIRECTOR OF THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT.



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

  MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

This case is before the Court on a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Petitioners, Miriam Wilson, Nadine Schnurstein, Ronald Barrow, Gloria Abbey-Lyles and Patricia Vader, bring this action individually, and as next-friends acting on behalf of Charles Walker, an Illinois death row inmate who is scheduled for execution by lethal injection on May 10, 1988.

This Court issued an Order requiring the petitioners to supplement their pleadings as to the issues of jurisdiction, standing and Walker's competency. The Court heard oral argument on those issues and took the matter under advisement to determine whether the petitioners have standing to bring this action. Walker has not joined in the petition, and in a letter to the Court has stated that he does not wish to have anyone acting on his behalf.*fn1

Charles Walker pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and one count of armed robbery in the Circuit Court for St. Clair County, Illinois. He requested that a jury be impaneled to determine whether he should receive the death penalty. After hearing evidence, the jury recommended the death penalty be imposed. People v. Walker, 109 Ill.2d 484, 94 Ill.Dec. 530, 532- 35, 488 N.E.2d 529, 531-34 (1985). Walker received a sentence of death on each of the murder counts and thirty years on the armed robbery count. The Illinois Supreme Court confirmed the conviction and the death sentence on December 20, 1985.

On December 27, 1985, Walker made a motion to terminate further proceedings. On February 6, 1986, the Illinois Supreme Court denied Walker's motion to terminate further proceedings, and denied Walker's appointed counsel's petition for rehearing.

Walker's counsel subsequently filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. Walker continued to oppose the action and refused to sign an affidavit in support of the motion to proceed in forma pauperis in his petition for writ of certiorari. Certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court on December 1, 1986. Walker v. Illinois, 479 U.S. 995, 107 S.Ct. 598, 93 L.Ed.2d 598 (1986), reh'g denied, 479 U.S. 1047, 107 S.Ct. 913, 93 L.Ed.2d 862 (1987).

On February 19, 1987, the Illinois Supreme Court, in response to a request, remanded the case to the Circuit Court of St. Clair County for a hearing to "determine whether Charles Walker (1) is mentally competent to waive further legal actions on his behalf; (2) has made a knowing and intelligent waiver of any such further legal actions; and (3) is fit to be executed." Counsel was appointed to represent Walker, and a hearing was held on June 24, 1987.

On September 28, 1987, the Illinois Supreme Court, having found the June 24 hearing to be inadequate, issued an order requiring a rehearing in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County. The court instructed:

  The rehearing shall be in accordance with Rees v.
  Peyton (1966), 384 U.S. 312, [86 S.Ct. 1505, 16
  L.Ed.2d 583], and Gilmore v. Utah (1976),
  429 U.S. 1012 [97 S.Ct. 436, 50 L.Ed.2d 632]. . . . The
  circuit court is further directed to consider all
  available evidence relevant to the court's findings
  of fact concerning the three questions raised for
  consideration.

The hearing was held in compliance with the Illinois Supreme Court's Order on November 20, 1987, and the St. Clair County Circuit Court made the following findings:

  1. Defendant is aware of the legal recourse available
  to him in attacking his conviction and death
  sentence, including state post-conviction relief
  [Ill.Rev.Stat., 1985, ch. 38, sec. 122-1 et seq.],
  federal habeas corpus relief (28 U.S.C. § 2254 et seq.]
  and executive clemency;
  2. Defendant is mentally competent to seek legal
  relief on his own behalf from the judgment imposed
  against him;
  3. Defendant has mental capacity to make a rational
  choice concerning the continuation or abandonment of
  further litigation attacking his conviction and
  sentence [Rees v. Payton, 384 U.S. 312, 314, 86 S.Ct.
  1505, 1506, 16 L.Ed.2d 583 (1966)];
  4. Defendant does not suffer from any physical
  condition which impairs his mental capacity to waive
  further proceedings;
  5. Defendant does not suffer from terminal lung
  disease;
  6. Defendant does not choose to be executed because
  he fears other inmates;
  7. Defendant has made a knowing and intelligent
  waiver of further legal action on his behalf
  [Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, 467-468, 58 S.Ct.
  1019, 1024-1025, 82 L.Ed. 1461 (1938)];
  8. Defendant has made a knowing and intelligent
  waiver of counsel for the purpose of further
  proceedings challenging the judgment against him
  [Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, 467-468, 58 S.Ct.
  1019, 1024-1025, 82 L.Ed. 1461 (1938)];
  9. Defendant understands the nature and purpose of
  the death sentence to be imposed against him
  [Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399, 106 S.Ct. 2595,
  2603, 91 L.Ed.2d 335 (1986); Ill.Rev.Stat., 1985, ch.
  38, sec. 1005-2-3];
  10. Defendant understands that the State intends to
  execute him by lethal injection as punishment for the
  crime of murder [Ill.Rev.Stat. 1985, ch. 38, sec.
  119-5];

11. Defendant is fit to be executed.

(Hudlin, J. Order of Nov. 20, 1987, as cited in Respondent's Reply Brief at pp. 8-9.)

On January 19, 1988, the Illinois Supreme Court, upon review of the record, found "that Charles Walker is mentally competent to waive further legal actions on his behalf; has made a knowing and intelligent waiver of any such further legal actions; and is fit to be executed." ...


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