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September 13, 2001


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur, Judge


On May 29, 2001 Derrick Hardaway ("Hardaway") filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus ("Petition") under 28 U.S.C. § 2254*fn1 to challenge his November 1, 1996 first-degree murder conviction on which he is currently serving a 45-year sentence. In accordance with Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts ("Section 2254 Rules"), this Court promptly reviewed the Petition and its attachments.

That threshold review prompted the issuance of a June 4 memorandum order because the Petition posed issues that could not be evaluated from that filing alone. That being so, this Court (1) ordered Warden Donald Young ("Respondent") to file a responsive pleading in accordance with Section 2254 Rule 4 and (2) appointed Thomas Geraghty, Esq. to act pro bono publico as Hardaway's counsel.*fn2 Then, after reviewing Respondent's Answer to the Petition and accompanying Exhibits (cited "Ex. ___"), this Court found that a reply memorandum was required. That is now in hand.

All of the filings to date have made it clear that the Petition is amenable to disposition on those papers, without the need for an evidentiary hearing (see Section 2254 Rule 8(a)). For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, Hardaway's Petition is granted.


Under Section 2254(e)(1) the state court's findings of fact are presumptively correct in any federal habeas proceeding. Accordingly, this opinion draws from the recitation of the facts in the Illinois Appellate Court's direct review of Hardaway's conviction, reported at 307 Ill. App.3d 592, 594-603, 718 N.E.2d 682, 685-91 (1st Dist. 1999). Because that opinion's factual recitation is understandably much more extensive and intermingles matters relevant to the current inquiry with facts bearing on Hardaway's trial and conviction, what follows is a distillation of the currently relevant facts rather than (as this Court has done in other habeas cases) a verbatim reproduction of the Appellate Court's statement.

At 8 a.m. on September 1, 1994 three Chicago police detectives went to Hardaway's home to question him (he was then 14 years old) and his brother Cragg (who was then age 16) in connection with the death of 11-year-old Robert Sandifer ("Sandifer") the night before. Encountering Hardaway's father, the detectives explained that they had information that his sons had been seen with Sandifer shortly before his murder. Hardaway's father woke him and brought him to the living room to talk with the detectives (Cragg was not then at home)

Hardaway agreed to accompany the detectives to the police station to help with the investigation. Although the detectives offered to give Hardaway's father a ride to the station along with Hardaway, the father declined in order to wait at home for his other son.*fn3 Before they left, the detectives gave Hardaway's father their card and phone number and told him the location of the police station. At that time the detectives did not read Hardaway his Miranda rights or tell him that he was a suspect.

Two detectives interviewed Hardaway shortly after he arrived at the police station at about 8:30 a.m. Hardaway was still not read his Miranda rights. In that interview Hardaway admitted he knew Sandifer but said that he had not seen Sandifer for three days. Detectives then interviewed Jimesia Cooper, a neighbor of Hardaway's, who said that Hardaway had left her house the night before in the company of Michael Griffin and Sandifer. Sandifer's body had been found an hour after Cooper said they had left her house.

At about 10:30 a.m. detectives questioned Hardaway for the second time. Hardaway repeated that he had not seen Sandifer for three days. Hardaway was then informed of his Miranda rights and advised that if he was charged in the case he could be transferred from juvenile court and tried and sentenced as an adult. After the detectives confronted Hardaway with Cooper's statements, Hardaway said that the previous night his brother Cragg had told him to go get Sandifer and that Cragg then drove off with Sandifer alone, leaving Hardaway and Griffin behind. At that point Hardaway was placed under arrest. Detectives neither notified Hardaway's parents that Hardaway was under arrest nor communicated with a youth officer.

Throughout the day detectives repeatedly went to the Hardaway home in search of Cragg Hardaway. While there detectives spoke with Hardaway's parents, who continued to remain at home waiting for their other son. Hardaway's parents phoned the police station twice (at noon and at 8 p.m.) to inquire about Hardaway.

Detectives first requested a youth officer for Hardaway at about 4 p.m., fully 9 hours after he had been taken into the station and 5-1/2 hours after his arrest. No youth officer was assigned at that time, however.

At 4:30 p.m. detectives began a third interview of Hardaway, though still with no youth officer present. Detective McCann again read Hardaway his Miranda rights and advised him that if he was charged he could be tried as an adult. McCann then told Hardaway that Griffin had contradicted Hardaway's story, and he took Hardaway to a room where he could see that Griffin was at the station. Hardaway then admitted (1) having gotten into the car with Sandifer and his brother Cragg and (2) that he had been present when Cragg shot Sandifer shortly thereafter.

At 7 p.m. Detective McCann interrogated Hardaway again, this time accompanied by Assistant State's Attorney Theresa Harney ("Harney"). For the first time Youth Officer Geraci ("Geraci") was also present. Harney explained to Hardaway that Geraci was a youth officer and that he was present "as an observer to assist [Hardaway] if he had any questions or any problems." Geraci asked Hardaway if there was anything he could assist him with, and Hardaway told him "no." Harney read Hardaway his Miranda rights and had Hardaway explain to her what his rights meant. Harney also told Hardaway that if he was charged in connection with the murder of Sandifer he could be tried and sentenced as an adult. Hardaway then repeated his 4:30 p.m. admissions. Geraci observed Hardaway and said later that the latter was not intimidated or abused in any way, but he made no effort to speak with Hardaway alone.

Finally, at 10:45 p.m. Hardaway (who had then been in custody over 14 hours and had been under arrest for the last 12 hours of that period) began to give a 22-page court-reported statement in the presence of McCann, Geraci and Harney. Hardaway gave a full confession to his participation in the murder, completing his statement at midnight.

Procedural History

On December 6, 1994 the Juvenile Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County granted the State's petition to prosecute Hardaway as an adult (Ex. A-16 at 25). Before trial Hardaway moved to quash his arrest, to suppress any evidence obtained as a result of the arrest and to suppress his inculpatory statements on the ground that they were involuntary. Denying those motions, the trial court found that the police had probable cause to arrest and that Hardaway's statements were voluntarily given under the totality of the circumstances. In the ensuing jury trial Hardaway was found guilty of the first-degree murder of Sandifer and sentenced to 45 years in prison. Hardaway's court-reported confession provided key evidence of his role in the crime.

After his jury trial and sentencing, Hardaway appealed his conviction to the Illinois Appellate Court. On September 10, 1999 his conviction was affirmed in the earlier-cited published opinion and an accompanying unpublished Rule 23 order (Ex. D).

Hardaway next filed a Petition for Leave To Appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court (Ex. E). Leave was denied in that court's Docket No. 88421 on May 31, 2000 in the typical one-sentence order (Ex. F, reported in table at 189 Ill.2d 668, 731 N.E.2d 767). That final disposition renders this May 29, 2001 Petition ...

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