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U.S. EX REL. BARROW v. WALLS

May 12, 2003

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL., RONALD BARROW (#N-52087), PETITIONER,
v.
JONATHAN R. WALLS, WARDEN, MENARD CORRECTIONAL CENTER, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, United States District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before this court is petitioner Ronald Barrow's renewed motion for discovery to Support his petition for writ of habeas corpus. For the following reasons, Barrow's motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

After a jury trial in the LaSalle County Circuit Court, Barrow was convicted of first degree murder, armed robbery, residential burglary, and burglary and was sentenced to death. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and death sentence on direct appeal and on appeal following the denial of his state post-conviction petition. See People v. Barrow, 133 Ill.2d 226 (1989) (Barrow I); People v. Barrow, 195 Ill.2d 506 (2001) (Barrow II). On June 3, 2002, Barrow filed his federal habeas corpus petition with this court. Barrow filed his first motion for discovery on July 23, 2002, which this court denied on December 16, 2002. Petitioner filed this second or renewed motion for discovery on April 17, 2003,

II. STANDARD FOR DISCOVERY IN HABEAS CASES

Because the liberal discovery rules of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to habeas proceedings, a petitioner is not entitled to discovery as a matter of course. Bracy v. Gramley, 520 U.S. 899, 904 (1997); Harris v. Nelson, 394 U.S. 286, 295 (1969). Rule 6 of the Rules Governing Section § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts provides, in pertinent part: "A party shall be entitled to invoke the processes of discovery available under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure if, and to the extent that, the judge in the exercise of his discretion and for good cause shown grants leave to do so, but not otherwise." Therefore, to obtain discovery under Rule 6, Barrow must: (1) identify the essential elements of his constitutional claims, that is, show that the underlying facts, if proven, constitute a constitutional violation; and (2) show good cause for the discovery. See Bracy, 520 US. at 908-09. Good cause exists "[w]here specific allegations before the court show reason to believe that the petitioner may, if the facts are fully developed, be able to demonstrate that he is . . . entitled to relief" Id. at 908-09 (citing Harris, 394 US, at 299).

III. DISCUSSION

In his renewed motion for discovery, Barrow attempts to fill in the gaps of his original discovery request while narrowing the documents he is requesting. Each of Barrow's discovery requests is discussed in detail below.

A. Criminal Record of Prosecution Witness Harold Wrona

First, Barrow argues that the criminal record of the prosecution's key witness, Harold Wrona, would support his ineffective assistance of counsel claims. Barrow, however, does not explain how Wrona's criminal record would support the conclusion that his counsel was deficient and counsel's deficient performance prejudiced him as required under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984). Therefore, Barrow has failed to identify the essential elements of his ineffective assistance of counsel claims. See Bracy, 520 US. at 908-09. Further, Barrow makes no attempt to argue that if certain facts were fully developed, he would be entitled to habeas relief based on his Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel. As such, Barrow has failed to established good cause for the discovery of Wrona's criminal record based on his ineffective assistance of counsel churns. See id.

Next, Barrow contends that Wrona's criminal record would support two other constitutional claims in his habeas petition — prosecutorial misconduct and an alleged Brady violation. Barrow supports his Brady claim with the argument that Wrona was a career criminal and the jury was entitled to hear of his criminal past. Barrow, however, does not explain why this information is material as required under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963). Furthermore, Barrow does not argue that had Wrona's criminal record been disclosed, there would be a reasonable probability that the result of his entire proceeding would have been different. See Strickler v. Greene, 527 U.S. 263, 289-90 (1999).

Barrow fails to make any argument as to why Wrona's criminal history would support his claim of prosecutorial misconduct and it is not this court's duty to raise and construct Barrow's argument for him. See Doherty v. City of Chicago, 75 F.3d 318, 324 (7th Cir. 1996) (not court's role to conduct research and construct litigant's legal arguments, especially when parties are represented by counsel); see also United States v. Amerson, 185 F.3d 676, 689 (7th Cir. 1999) (same).

B. Evidence of Multi-jurisdictional Deal

Barrow seeks the deposition testimony of Wrona and a State Trooper to support his assertion that Wrona had a deal to be released from jail in another Illinois county in exchange for his testimony at Barrow's trial in LaSalle County. The Illinois Supreme Court remanded this case for discovery on the issue of Wrona's alleged multi-jurisdictional deal based on People v. Olinger, 176 Ill.2d 326, 342-52 (1997) (capital defendant entitled to evidentiary hearing on post-conviction claim that critical prosecution witness received undisclosed multi-jurisdictional deal in exchange For testimony). See Barrow II, 195 Ill.2d at 531. On remand, the trial court allowed Barrow to take the depositions of three people — the ...


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