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March 15, 2004.

EUGENE McADORY,[fn1] Respondent

The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM J. HIBBLER, District Judge

*fn1 Lovett's petition named James Chrans, the former warden of the now defunct Joliet Correctional Center, as the respondent. Lovett is currently incarcerated at the Menard Correctional Center. See Rule 2(a) of the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus 28 U.S.C. § 2254 Cases. Accordingly, Eugene McAdory, the warden of that facility, is hereby substituted as the respondent. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 25 (d)(1).


Petitioner Henry Lovett's pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is before the Court. For the following reasons, Lovett's petition is DENIED.

 I. Background

  A. Facts

  The Court will presume that the state court's factual determinations are correct for the purposes of habeas review as Lovett has not provided clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Todd v. Schomig, 283 F.3d 842, 846 (7th Cir. 2002). The Court thus adopts the state court's recitation of the relevant facts.

  On April 26, 1992, Kristen Ponquinette's bound body was found floating in the Cal Saq River. The Illinois State Police investigated and learned that Ponquinette had been bound and beaten before she was taken to an abandoned railroad bridge over the Cal Saq River which was known as Page 2 the "Black Bridge." Several people, including Lovett, were at the bridge when Ponquinette was still alive.

  After Ponquinette's body was recovered, Officer James Turner questioned Lovett and others about their involvement in her death. Initially, Lovett denied any involvement. About 20 or 30 minutes later, he admitted that he was at the "Black Bridge" on the day of Ponquinette's death but stated that she was alive when he left. Lovett subsequently gave a handwritten confession to Assistant State's Attorney Michael Baumel. The statement said that Lovett was a member of the Blackstone gang. On April 26, 1992, he went with a fellow gang member to the "Black Bridge" to help with some "gang business." When they arrived, they saw several other gang members beating Ponquinette with bricks and a cane. Lovett and the others argued about the best way to kill her. Lovett said he expressed a desire to let Ponquinette go, but a fellow gang member told him she would go to the police and that "the same might happen" to him. Lovett helped drag a sewer cover to the edge of the bridge, Two other gang members tied the cover to Ponquinette and pushed her off the bridge into the river.

  B. Procedural History

  Following a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Lovett was convicted of first degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. He was subsequently sentenced to an extended prison term of 100 years for murder, to be served consecutively with a five-year term for aggravated kidnapping. Lovett appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court, which affirmed his conviction and sentence ("direct appeal").

  Lovett then filed a petition for leave to appeal ("PLA") with the Illinois Supreme Court. In his PLA, he raised three issues, all of which he also raised at the trial and appellate levels: (1) the Page 3 trial court erred when it granted the State's motion in limine to prohibit Lovett from questioning Officer Turner about the fact that Lovett initially denied being involved in the murder; (2) during closing arguments, the prosecutor improperly referred to Lovett's failure to testify at trial; and (3) the trial court erred when it refused to give a jury instruction on the defense of compulsion. The Illinois Supreme Court denied the PLA.

  Lovett subsequently filed a petition for state post-conviction relief. The Circuit Court denied the petition as untimely, frivolous, and patently meritless. Lovett appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court, which denied relief ("collateral appeal"). Lovett did not file a PLA. He then filed a timely § 2254 petition raising the three arguments presented to the Illinois Supreme Court on direct appeal plus the claim that his trial counsel was ineffective.

 II. Standard of Review

  Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, a petitioner is not entitled to a writ of habeas corpus unless the challenged state court decision is either "contrary to" or "an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1); Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 404-05 (2000). In Williams, the Supreme Court held that a state court's decision is "contrary to" clearly established Supreme Court law "if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by the Court on a question of law" or "if the ...

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