Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

CARROLL v. DETELLA

October 31, 1997

RONNIE W. CARROLL, Petitioner,
v.
GEORGE E. DETELLA, Respondent.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BUCKLO

 Ronnie Carroll is serving a 55-year sentence in the Illinois prison system for armed robbery. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 2254, he petitions for writ of habeas corpus. For the following reasons, the petition is denied.

 I. STATE COURT PROCEEDINGS

 Direct Appeal & First Post-Conviction Petition

 On August 11, 1988, immediately after having been sentenced, Mr. Carroll moved to vacate his guilty plea and sentence. He argued, inter alia, that when he pleaded guilty, he was under the mistaken impression as to the possible length of his sentence, that the state violated criminal discovery rules by failing to turn over the victim's criminal record, and that the sentence was excessive. During the hearing on the motion, Mr. Carroll additionally argued that his co-defendant, Anthony Kendall, though sentenced for attempted murder in addition to armed robbery, was sentenced to only 35 years. The trial court denied the motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence.

 Mr. Carroll filed a direct appeal, arguing that the trial court improperly considered as an aggravating factor at sentencing the fact that Mr. Carroll received compensation for committing the offense ("'compensation' aggravating factor"). The appellate court affirmed, holding that Mr. Carroll waived the issue by not raising it in his motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence. People v. Carroll, 195 Ill. App. 3d 445, 552 N.E.2d 361, 142 Ill. Dec. 11 (1990). Mr. Carroll sought leave to appeal the affirmance to the Illinois Supreme Court, but leave was denied. People v. Carroll, 132 Ill. 2d 548, 555 N.E.2d 379, 144 Ill. Dec. 260 (1990).

 On September 21, 1989, while the direct appeal was still pending, Mr. Carroll filed a post-conviction petition ("first post-conviction petition"), arguing that his appellate counsel was ineffective because she failed to raise the following two issues: (1) the disparity between Mr. Carroll's 55-year and his co-defendant's 35-year sentences, and (2) the trial court's failure to appoint a different attorney for the purposes of Mr. Carroll's motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence, given the strained relationship between Mr. Carroll and his trial attorney. The trial court held a hearing and dismissed the first post-conviction petition.

 Mr. Carroll appealed the dismissal, arguing (1) that his appellate counsel was ineffective because she did not argue that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to raise the issue of the improper "compensation" aggravating factor in the motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence; (2) that his trial counsel was ineffective, having failed to function as an advocate at the hearing on the motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence; and (3) that since Mr. Carroll was only sentenced for one count of armed robbery, an amended mittimus had to be issued because the record presently reflected two counts of armed robbery and of armed violence each.

 In his brief, Mr. Carroll explained that his trial counsel's failure to act as an advocate during the hearing on the motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence consisted of the following: (1) failure to present any arguments besides those alleged in the motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence; (2) waiver of the "compensation" aggravating factor issue through failure to raise it in the motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence; and (3) failure to raise the need for an amended mittimus. Mr. Carroll also stated that his trial attorney did not comply with Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 604(d).

 On August 22, 1991, ruling on the dismissal of Mr. Carroll's first post-conviction petition, the appellate court agreed with Mr. Carroll that his trial counsel's failure to argue in the motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence that the trial court improperly relied on the "compensation" aggravating factor fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. *fn1" The court also held that the appellate counsel's failure to argue ineffectiveness of trial counsel fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. The court believed that appellate counsel could have anticipated that the appellate court would have deemed the issue waived. Therefore, appellate counsel should have raised the "compensation" aggravating factor issue in the context of the ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim. People v. Carroll, No. 88-CF-392, slip op. at 7-8 (Ill. App. Ct. Aug. 22, 1991). The appellate court concluded, however, that although the trial court should not have relied on "compensation" as an aggravating factor, the error was harmless because the trial court placed insignificant weight on this consideration. Id. at 8-9. The appellate court also rejected Mr. Carroll's argument that his trial counsel's presentation at the motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence hearing fell below an objective standard of reasonableness. Id. at 9. Finally, the appellate court ruled that an amended mittimus be issued as Mr. Carroll requested. Id.

 Mr. Carroll subsequently sought rehearing on the ground that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to comply with Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 604(d). Illinois courts have held that, if defense counsel fails to file a Rule 604(d) certificate, *fn2" the trial court's order denying a motion to vacate guilty plea is automatically reversible. E.g., People v. Dickerson, 212 Ill. App. 3d 168, 570 N.E.2d 902, 904, 156 Ill. Dec. 426 (1991). In a September 16, 1991 minute order, the appellate court denied rehearing, holding that Mr. Carroll waived the claim that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to comply with Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 604(d) because Mr. Carroll alluded to this issue, but did not develop it in his appellate brief.

 Second Post-Conviction Petition

 On May 23, 1990, while the appeal of his first post-conviction petition dismissal was still pending, proceeding pro se, Mr. Carroll filed another post-conviction petition ("second post-conviction petition"). He claimed that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to argue (1) that the state did not provide Mr. Carroll with crime laboratory results; (2) that the state did not provide Mr. Carroll with criminal histories of its witnesses, particularly the victim; (3) that the trial court relied on an inaccurate Presentence Investigation (PSI) report; (4) that the difference between Mr. Carroll's and his co-defendant's sentences was grossly disparate; (5) that the imposition of the 55-year sentence was not warranted by the trial court's findings; and (6) that Mr. Carroll's trial counsel was ineffective because he (a) misinformed Mr. Carroll about the length of the sentence he was potentially facing; (b) after alluding in the motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence to Mr. Carroll's mistaken impression as to the maximum sentence, failed to develop the issue at the hearing; (c) knowing that Mr. Carroll's wife was a source of evidence for the state, encouraged her to persuade Mr. Carroll to plead guilty and did not inform the state that Mrs. Carroll was lying to the grand jury; (d) prior to trial, revealed to the trial court aggravating and mitigating factors; (e) failed to investigate the case, to question witnesses, to file any pre-trial motions regarding illegally seized evidence, to put on witnesses suggested by Mr. Carroll, to read and correct the errors in the PSI report, or to contact Mr. Carroll's character witnesses to participate in the sentencing hearing; (f) failed to file a certificate pursuant to Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 604(d); and (g) failed to argue that the court improperly relied on "compensation" as an aggravating factor. The second post-conviction petition was dismissed. *fn3"

 Mr. Carroll sought leave to appeal the dismissal late pursuant to Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 606(c). The state objected, arguing that since Mr. Carroll's appeal of the dismissal of his first post-conviction petition was still pending, it was premature to decide whether a second post-conviction petition was necessary. On November 27, 1990, the appellate court denied leave to file late appeal of the dismissal of Mr. Carroll's second post-conviction petition.

 Third Post-Conviction Petition

 On September 1, 1992, Mr. Carroll filed another pro se post-conviction petition ("third post-conviction petition"). *fn4" He argued that (1) the attorney who assisted him in challenging the dismissal of his first post-conviction petition was ineffective for a variety of reasons; (2) that his indictment was defective because, in arriving at it, the grand jury heard testimony of Mr. Carroll's wife, in violation of the petitioner's marital privilege; (3) that the state violated criminal discovery rules by failing to provide Mr. Carroll with criminal histories of its witnesses and with crime laboratory results; (4) that Mr. Carroll's arrest was illegal; (5) that Mr. Carroll's guilty plea was involuntary because trial counsel misinformed the petitioner regarding the potential length of his sentence and did not file any pre-trial motions challenging Mr. Carroll's arrest; (6) that Mr. Carroll's motion for replacement of trial counsel was improperly denied; (7) that the court relied on erroneous information contained in the PSI report; (8) that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing (a) to challenge the criminal complaint as not being signed by the actual victim; (b) to investigate the case; (c) to contact Mr. Carroll's character witnesses of choice for the sentencing hearing; (d) to review the PSI report which contained numerous errors; (e) to cross-examine the complainant; (f) to withdraw from representation; (g) to advocate for Mr. Carroll during the motion to vacate guilty plea and sentence; (h) to file a certificate pursuant to Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 604(d); and (i) to argue (i.) that the indictment was defective due to the violation of the petitioner's marital privilege; (ii.) that the state violated criminal discovery rules by not providing Mr. Carroll with criminal histories of its witnesses; (iii.) that the evidence obtained as a result of Mr. Carroll's arrest should have been suppressed; and (iv.) that the court relied on improper aggravating factors in sentencing, i.e., "compensation" and the victim's handicap; and (9) that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to argue (a) that the indictment was defective due to the violation of the petitioner's marital privilege, and (b) that the state violated criminal discovery rules by not providing Mr. Carroll with criminal histories of its witnesses.

 Pursuant to the third post-conviction petition, counsel was appointed for Mr. Carroll. With his assistance, on February 26, 1993, Mr. Carroll filed a supplemental post-conviction petition. *fn5" He argued (1) that his plea was involuntary because trial counsel misinformed the petitioner regarding the potential length of his sentence; (2) that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing (a) to cross examine the complainant at the sentencing hearing, and (b) to argue (i.) that the court improperly relied on "compensation" and the victim's handicap as aggravating factors in sentencing, and (ii.) that the state violated criminal discovery by not providing Mr. Carroll with criminal history of the complainant; and (3) that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to argue (a) that trial counsel was ineffective for the above reasons; (b) that the court improperly relied on "compensation" and the victim's handicap as aggravating factors in sentencing; (c) that Mr. Carroll's and his co-defendant's sentences were disproportionate; and (d) that the court relied on an erroneous PSI report; and (4) the attorney who represented Mr. Carroll on appeal of the dismissal of his first post-conviction petition was ineffective for failing to argue that trial counsel was ineffective for not complying with Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 604(d).

 The trial court dismissed the third post-conviction petition, supplemented by the supplemental post-conviction petition, on the following three grounds: (1) that the petition was untimely and Mr. Carroll failed to allege sufficient facts to be excused from the operation of the statute of limitations; (2) that the issues had been waived because they were not, but could have been, raised in the prior post-conviction petitions; and (3) that the petition lacked claims of constitutional deprivation. Mr. Carroll appealed the dismissal. The appellate court considered ground (1), the threshold issue, and affirmed. Mr. Carroll sought leave to appeal the dismissal to the Illinois Supreme Court, but leave was denied. People v. Carroll, 158 Ill. 2d 555, 645 N.E.2d 1361, 206 Ill. Dec. 839 (1994).

 II. THE PRESENT PETITION


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.