Fourth Amendment rights. Since I found that the confession was properly admitted, the confession is evidence to be considered in determining whether there was sufficient evidence to convict Mr. Smith of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.
The relevant inquiry for a federal habeas court reviewing a sufficiency of the evidence claim is "whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt." Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319, 61 L. Ed. 2d 560, 99 S. Ct. 2781 (1979). The appellate court applied this constitutional standard, and therefore, it did not apply law contrary to clearly established federal law.
Mr. Smith confessed to killing the two victims. He stated that he went to his mother-in-law's house and cut her throat twice with a razor he kept in his wallet. He then cut his grandmother-in-law's throat two times and left the victims lying on the floor between the hallway and the dining room. Next, he went to the basement to wash and dry his bloody clothes, but left his bloodstained underwear in the basement. He then poured gasoline in the dining room and ignited it.
The appellate court found that the physical evidence wholly corroborated Mr. Smith's confession. The victim's throats were slashed, there was blood in the hallway and in the basement by the washer and dryer. Further, the house smelled of gasoline and the defendant's underwear was recovered from the precise spot he indicated he left it. Thus, a rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Given the above facts, the appellate court's decision did not involve an unreasonable application of federal law. This claim is denied.
Illegally Constituted Court
Under this claim, Mr. Smith attacks the Illinois Supreme Court's denial of his leave to appeal his conviction. He argues that the Illinois Supreme Court is illegally constituted. The districts, from which the justices are elected, are not properly drawn; thus, all of the Illinois Supreme Court justices are white. While white defendants convicted of murder are released by the Illinois Supreme Court because the trial court failed to hold a fitness hearing, the same Supreme Court "turns a blind eye" to Mr. Smith's claim because he is black. This creates "an overwhelming presumption of racism." Pet'r's Reply at 13.
Mr. Smith has not presented any law to support his petition to invalidate the Illinois Supreme Court's denial of his leave to appeal. Nor has Mr. Smith presented any evidence that the Supreme Court is prejudiced against him because of his race. Mr. Smith merely makes a blanket statement that white defendants' convictions have been reversed while his conviction was affirmed on identical grounds. Thus, this claim is without merit and is dismissed.
For the foregoing reasons, Mr. Smith's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied.
Elaine E. Bucklo
United States District Judge
Dated: January 16, 1998
JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL CASE
Decision by Court. This action came to hearing before the Court. The issues have been heard and a decision has been rendered.
IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED the petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is denied and judgment is, therefore, entered in favor of defendant and against the petitioner.