United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
March 19, 2004.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ex rel. MARK S. KARRAS, SR., Petitioner,
BLAIR LEIBACH, Warden, Respondent
The opinion of the court was delivered by: RONALD GUZMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Petitioner Mark Karras ("Karras") is in the custody of Respondent
Warden of the Danville Correctional Center, Danville, Illinois. In 1999,
Karras was convicted of the offenses of aggravated criminal sexual
assault, criminal sexual assault, attempted robbery, and unlawful
restraint. Karras was sentenced to respective concurrent terms of fifteen
years and three years in prison. After filing several post-conviction
petitions, Karras now petitions this Court for a writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Respondent has moved to dismiss on the
grounds that each claim is either procedurally defaulted or without
merit. For the reasons stated below, the petition for writ of habeas
corpus is denied.
At about 5 a.m. on February 18, 1997, Karras and the complainant
engaged in sexual intercourse in a gangway near 73rd Street and East End
Avenue in Chicago. Complainant
maintained that she was forced to commit the sexual act while Karras
portrayed the complainant as a cocaine addict willing to commit an act of
prostitution to share his cocaine.
Complainant testified that she had just left her sister's residence at
7132 South East End and was walking toward a bus stop on 75th Street in
order to go home where she lived with her three children and her
grandmother in the Chatham area of Chicago. She saw Karras come out of a
building at 72nd Street and East End. She testified that they exchanged
greetings and as she continued walking, she noticed the petitioner
walking behind her. As she approached 73rd Street, Karras attacked and
tackled her, knocking her down into the snow and causing her clothing to
become wet on one side.
The complainant testified that Karras then pulled her into a gangway by
her throat. There, the petitioner stood behind her and forced her to
stand facing the against the wall. He asked her if she had any money and
when she said she didn't, Karras seemed angry. He told her that he had a
gun. He went through her jogging pants' pockets and removed several items
including a pack of cigarettes, rubber bands, and some coins. Next, the
complainant testified that Karras pulled down the jogging pants and had
sexual intercourse with her from behind for several minutes. Complainant
said she did not scream because she was shaking and did not know what to
do. She testified that after the rape, Karras seemed to calm down and
told her that he had children and asked complainant to be his girlfriend.
They began to walk around the area. After leaving the gangway, they saw a
woman by a garage on 73rd Street and Karras said he wanted to rob her.
Complainant said that the petitioner was not restraining her, but she did
not flee, fearing defendant would shoot her if she did. Complainant
denied that she was walking arm-in-arm with defendant, that she whispered
to him, or that she put her head next to his head.
As they continued to walk, complainant saw a brown van which she
believed might be
driven by a man whom she knew as Dan who delivered newspapers. She
said that she was determined to leave defendant and told him to get away
from her. She believed that the driver would possibly stop in order to
get to know her if she was not with another man. Karras then stepped away
from her, telling her to meet him at a local grocery store. Complainant
told the driver of the van that she had just been robbed. She also warned
a pedestrian that Karras had a gun and had just robbed her. The van
driver offered to take her home, but complainant wanted cigarettes so
they went to a gas station where the driver purchased some. Upon
complainant's request, the driver went back to the area where she had
encountered defendant. There, she saw police who had detained Karras by
the grocery store. Complainant told police that he had robbed and raped
her in a gangway. She was taken to a hospital where she was examined. She
said that she did not sustain any bruising or experience pain from being
tackled or dragged by defendant and none of her clothing was ripped.
Chicago police officer Alex Conway testified that he and his partner
went to a grocery store at 73rd Street and Ridgeland Avenue just after
the incident in question to investigate a report of a suspicious man.
There police saw Karras using an exterior pay telephone. While detaining
him, a van carrying complainant arrived, and she told the officers that
Karras had a gun and had just raped her. Police did not find a gun on
Karras testified that he had been at a "dope building" on East End
about 10:30 p.m. on February 17, 1997, when he saw complainant and a
female companion who asked if "rocks" were being sold. He did not buy any
cocaine at that time but returned at 5 a.m. the next day and bought some
cocaine. He then encountered complainant outside the "dope building." She
asked Karras if he had any cocaine, and when he said that he did, she
replied that she had just smoked a "primo joint" and wanted more,
suggesting that she and defendant have "sex for drugs." Karras,
at first, walked away with complainant following and offering to
perform fellatio. Finding complainant attractive, he asked complainant
where she wanted to go. She led Karras into a gangway where she produced
a broken cigarette and paper. Karras gave her one-half of his cocaine
which she mixed with the cigarette tobacco. They each smoked and
complainant asked Karras if he was "ready." She pulled down her pants
while he lowered his pants. When Karras could not attain an erection,
complainant manually stimulated him. She then turned away from Karras and
using her hands to brace herself against the building wall, she then
backed against him pinning him against the wrought iron fence in the
gangway in such a way that he could not even stand straight up. She then
gyrated against him until he ejaculated. Complainant then retrieved her
clothes, stating, "it was getting good." Karras got his clothing and, as
he did so, he heard change fall from his pocket. He managed to recover
fifty cents before he left the gangway. Karras denied that the gangway
shown in police photographs was the one where the sexual encounter
After a bench trial, the Honorable Bertina Lampkin found Karras guilty
on February 5, 1998, of aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal
sexual assault, attempted robbery, and unlawful restraint. On May 24,
1999, Karras was sentenced to respective concurrent terms of fifteen
years and three years in prison. Karras filed a pro se motion for new
trial, which the court denied. Karras filed a motion to reconsider his
sentence, which was denied on June 7, 1999. He then appealed to the
Illinois Appellate Court and raised two issues. First, he claimed that he
was not found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt because his testimony was
more credible than the
complainant's. Second, he contended that the trial court was biased
against him because it acted as a prosecutor, restricted the defense's
cross-examination, and incorrectly remembered testimony. While his direct
appeal was pending, Karras filed a pro se post-conviction petition, which
alleged that he was denied effective assistance of counsel. Karras
claimed, among other things, that the claimant's blood was not tested,
certain witnesses were not called, arguments were not presented on the
cross-examination of the claimant, and counsel did not discuss trial
strategy with him. The trial court denied this motion on June 2, 2000.
Karras' public defender filed a motion to withdraw as appointed counsel
on appeal pursuant to Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551, 555 (1987),
because he found no meritorious appellate issues. Karras responded to the
Finley motion by asking the appellate court to deny the public defender's
motion to withdraw. Karras claimed that his constitutional rights to due
process, effective assistance of counsel, and equal protection would be
violated by granting the motion to withdraw.
The Appellate Court consolidated Karras' direct appeal and his appeal
from the denial of his post-conviction petition. The Appellate Court
affirmed the trial court's decision and granted the public defender's
motion for leave to withdraw as counsel. The Appellate Court agreed that
Karras was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and determined that the
trial court was not biased. In granting the motion for leave to withdraw,
the Appellate Court agreed with the public defender that there were no
arguable bases for relief.
Karras then filed a petition for late leave to appeal with the Illinois
Supreme Court claiming that his constitutional rights to due process and
equal protection were violated by the trial court's bias. Karras contends
that the trial court showed bias by ignoring the rules concerning
impeachment of a witness and by finding the complainant's testimony more
believable. The Supreme Court denied Karras' petition.
On October 25, 2002, Karras filed the instant habeas corpus petition.
In his petition, Karras claims ineffective assistance of trial counsel,
trial court bias, prosecutorial misconduct, and that the state failed to
prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The review of Karras' petition for writ of habeas corpus is governed by
28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("section 2254") as amended by the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"). A federal habeas court's
role in reviewing state prisoner applications was modified by AEDPA to
prevent "retrials" and to ensure that state court convictions are given
effect to the extent possible under the law. Williams v. Taylor,
529 U.S. 362, 403-04 (2000). Federal courts may grant a writ of habeas
corpus if a person is held in custody under a state court judgment in
violation of the United States Constitution. Kavanagh v. Berge,
73 F.3d 733, 735 (7th Cir. 1996).
I. Procedural Default
Before the Court addresses the merits of the claims raised, it must
first determine whether Karras' claims are properly before the Court. A
habeas petitioner must exhaust all remedies available in state court and
avoid procedural default. Bocian v. Godinez, 101 F.3d 465, 468 (7th Cir.
1996), A petitioner's failure to exhaust all state remedies bars
consideration of the petition. Rodriguez v. Peters, 63 F.3d 546, 555 (7th
Cir. 1995). Failure to raise all claims during the course of the state
court proceedings bars consideration of those claims not raised. Id.
Each claim must be fully and fairly presented to the state courts,
giving those courts the
first opportunity to consider the claim. Rodriguez v. Scillia,
193 F.3d 913, 916 (7th Cir. 1999). "A petitioner presents his claims
fully `by pursuing all available avenues of relief provided by the state
before turning to the federal courts.'" Id. (quoting Kurzawa v. Jordan,
146 F.3d 435, 440 (7th Cir. 1998)). The Supreme Court explained that
"state prisoners must give the state courts one full opportunity to
resolve any constitutional issues by invoking one complete round of the
State's established appellate review process." O'Sullivan v. Boerckel,
526 U.S. 838, 845 (1999). In Illinois, "one complete round" is finished
once the petitioner has presented his claims either on direct appeal or
on post-conviction review at each stage of the appellate process, up
through and including the Illinois Supreme Court, Id. at 847-48.
A procedural default occurs when: (1) the petition fails to raise an
issue on direct or post-conviction review, or (2) the state court has
disposed of the claim on an independent and adequate state law grounds.
See Rodriguez, 63 F.3d at 555; see also Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722,
729 (1991). Procedural default may be excused if the petitioner can show
good cause for the default and actual prejudice resulting therefrom, or
demonstrate that the failure to consider the respective claim will result
in a fundamental miscarriage of justice. Coleman, 501 U.S. at 750.
To show cause as part of the cause-and-prejudice test, the court
usually considers whether the prisoner can show that some objective
factor external to the defense impeded defense counsel's efforts to
comply with the state's procedural rule. Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478,
488 (1986). To establish prejudice, the court considers whether the
petitioner has met his "burden of showing, not merely that the errors at
his trial created a possibility of prejudice but that they worked to his
actual and substantial disadvantage, infecting his entire trial with
error of constitutional dimensions." United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152,
170 (1982) (emphasis
in original); see Ouska v. Cahill-Masching, 246 F.3d 1036, 1050 (7th Cir.
A fundamental miscarriage of justice occurs when a constitutional
violation has probably led to the conviction of an individual who is
actually innocent. Thomas v. McCaughtry, 201 F.3d 995, 999 (7th Cir.
2000). Without new evidence of innocence, even a meritorious
constitutional claim is not enough, in and of itself, to permit a federal
court to reach the merits of a procedurally defaulted claim. Schlup v.
Delo, 513 U.S. 298, 316 (1995). To be credible, such a claim requires
petitioner to support his allegations by introducing new reliable evidence
"whether it be exculpatory scientific evidence, trustworthy eyewitness
accounts, or critical physical evidence" which was not presented at
trial. Id. The requisite probability is established by showing that "it
is more likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted him
in light of newly discovered evidence of innocence." Id. at 327 (internal
quotations omitted). This probability determination is a mixed question
of law and fact. United States ex rel. Bell v. Pierson, 267 F.3d 544, 552
(7th Cir. 2001).
The State contends that a number of Karras' claims are procedurally
defaulted. Petitioner's claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel
was raised in his petition for post-conviction relief. However,
Petitioner failed to raised this issue in his petition for leave to
appeal to the Supreme Court. As stated above, in order to preserve
properly issues of review and avoid procedural default, a petitioner must
give the state courts the opportunity to resolve constitutional issues by
"invoking one complete round of the State's established review process."
O'Sullivan, 526 U.S. at 845. This has been applied to petitioners who
fail to raise issues before the Illinois Supreme Court during the
post-conviction process. White v. Godinez, 192 F.3d 607, 608 (7th Cir.
1999). In his reply brief, Petitioner asserts that this claim is not
procedurally defaulted because he raised it in a second petition for leave
to appeal. Petitioner claims that he
was never informed that the consolidation of his direct appeal and
post-conviction appeal required him to consolidate both of his petitions
for leave to appeal. However, Petitioner did know that the cases were
consolidated on appeal, as he admits this in his petition for leave to
appeal. He claims that he could not have addressed this issue in the first
petition for leave to appeal because his counsel's motion to withdraw was
pending. Petitioner's rationale does not establish cause to excuse the
default. As mentioned above, sufficient cause to excuse default is an
"objective factor external to the defense" which precludes the petitioner
from pursuing his claims in state court. Murray, 477 U.S. at 488.
Ignorance of the law is not an "objective factor external to the defense"
that excuses a petitioner from neglecting to include his claims in his
first petition for leave to appeal. Id. The "failure to act or think like
a lawyer" is not considered cause for neglecting to assert a claim.
Henderson v. Cohn, 919 F.2d 1270, 1272 (7th Cir. 1990).
Petitioner further alleges in his reply brief that refusal to hear his
claims in his second petition for leave to appeal would result in a
fundamental miscarriage of justice. However, Petitioner does not explain
this assertion. He does not show that it is more likely than not that no
reasonable juror would have convicted him in light of new evidence, he
merely states this as the requirement of the standard. He likewise does
not introduce any new reliable evidence to show a fundamental miscarriage
of justice. Petitioner has waived his claim of alleged ineffective
assistance of trial counsel by not presenting this claim in his petition
for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court and by not showing
cause or prejudice or a fundamental miscarriage of justice; therefore,
this Court is barred from considering this claim.
Petitioner's claim of prosecutorial misconduct was not raised at any
level of the Illinois state courts, in his reply brief, Petitioner
contends that this issue was raised in his petition for post-conviction
relief. However, the only issue Petitioner raised in his post-conviction
was ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Again, Petitioner contends
that this issue was raised in his second petition for leave to appeal. As
discussed above, Petitioner's mistaken belief about consolidating his
petitions for leave to appeal is not sufficient to show cause and excuse
his default. Petitioner's failure to raise this claim at any level of the
Illinois state courts clearly results in the claim being procedurally
defaulted, and this Court will not consider this claim.
Petitioner's next claim, that the state failed to prove his guilt
beyond a reasonable doubt, was raised in the Appellate Court in his
direct appeal. The State contends that this claim is procedurally
defaulted because it was not raised in his petition for leave to appeal.
However, upon closer scrutiny of his petition for leave to appeal, it
appears that this claim was raised. Although this issue was not in
Petitioner's heading, it was raised within the petition. In the petition,
Petitioner claims that the trial court erred in finding the complainant's
version of the incident more credible than his because, according to
Petitioner, the complainant was impeached on the witness stand. Within
this argument, Petitioner discusses the requirement that the state prove
guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to avoid violating the Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment. His main contention is that the trial court
was wrong to believe the complainant's testimony over his. Petitioner
appears to be faulting both the trial court judge and the state in
failing to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Petitioner is blurring
the line between the trial court and the prosecution. Because he is
proceeding as a pro se litigant, the Court will give Petitioner the
benefit of the doubt and find that his claim that the State failed to
prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is not procedurally defaulted.
Petitioner's claim that the trial court was biased against him is not
procedurally defaulted because it was raised on appeal and in his
petition for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. Petitioner asserts
that the trial court acted improperly in acting as a prosecutor,
defense's cross examination, and incorrectly remembering the testimony.
II. Merits of Petition
A federal habeas corpus review of the state court's determinations is
limited. Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a petitioner must demonstrate that the
claim was adjudicated on the merits in state court and "(1) resulted in a
decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application
of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court
of the United States; or (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an
unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence
presented in the State court proceeding." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1), (2).
The "contrary to" provision pertains to questions of law which the
court reviews de novo. Schaff v. Snyder, 190 F.3d 513, 522 (7th Cir.
1999). The "unreasonable application" provision applies to mixed
questions of law and fact, to which the federal court grants deference to
reasonable state court decisions. Id. at 522-23. Under section
2254(d)(2), the "unreasonable determination of the facts" provision
relates to pure questions of fact. Hall v. Washington, 106 F.3d 742, 752
(7th Cir. 1997). Moreover, section 2254 instructs the reviewing federal
habeas court to presume that the state court's factual determinations are
correct unless petitioner can rebut the presumption by clear and
convincing evidence. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Schaff, 190 F.3d at 521.
Under the "contrary to" clause, a federal court is "free to express
independent opinion" on whether a state court has deviated from the
constitution on a legal question in contravention of United State Supreme
Court precedent. Lindh v. Murphy, 96 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 1996) (en
bane), rev'd on other grounds, 521 U.S. 320 (1997). This has been
interpreted to mean that a
federal habeas court may grant relief if the state court (1) arrives at a
conclusion opposite to that reached by the Supreme Court on a question of
law or (2) decides a case differently than the Supreme Court has decided
on a set of materially indistinguishable facts. Williams, 529 U.S. at
Under the "unreasonable application" provision, a federal habeas court
cannot express the same type of independent opinion allowed under the
"contrary to" clause. Lindh, 96 F.3d at 871. When determining whether the
state court's application of the law was "unreasonable," the federal
courts must "take into account the care with which the state court
considered the subject." Id. If the state court offers a "responsible,
thoughtful answer" after "a full opportunity to litigate" the issue, a
federal habeas court must accept that answer as "adequate to support the
judgment" even if it believes the state court decision is wrong. Id.
However, a federal court may grant relief if the state court identifies
the correct legal principle from among Supreme Court decisions, but
unreasonably applies that principle to the facts of the petitioner's
case. Williams, 529 U.S. at 412-13. When determining an unreasonable
application of clearly established federal law, an objective standard
should be employed. Id. at 409. Most importantly, for habeas corpus
review purposes, an unreasonable application of federal law is different
from an incorrect application of federal law. Id. at 410.
Two of petitioner's claims, that the state failed to prove guilt beyond
a reasonable doubt and that the trial court was biased, are not
procedurally defaulted and, thus, will be reviewed on their merits.
Because petitioner's claim regarding proof beyond a reasonable doubt
comes down to the argument that the trial court was wrong to believe the
complainant's testimony over his, this Court will consider the claims
First, petitioner asserts that he was not proven guilty beyond a
reasonable doubt. The
Supreme Court has held that "the Due Process Clause protects the accused
against conviction except upon proof beyond a reasonable doubt of every
fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged." In re
Winship, 397 U.S. 358, 364 (1970). A state court conviction will
withstand a due process attack on sufficiency of the evidence grounds if
the federal habeas corpus court determines, "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 (1979). The
standard of review recognizes the trier of fact's responsibility to
resolve reasonably conflicts in testimony, to weigh the evidence, and to
draw reasonable inferences from basic facts to ultimate facts. Id. at
The court is not at liberty to "make its own subjective determination
of guilt or innocence." Id. at 319 n.13. The habeas court does not
substitute its judgment for that of the finder of fact. United States v.
Jackson, 55 F.3d 1219, 1225 (6th Cir. 1995). The reviewing court also
does not reweigh the evidence or redetermine the credibility of the
witnesses whose demeanor has been observed by the finder of fact. See
Marshall v. Lonberger, 459 U.S. 422, 434 (1983); Kines v. Godinez,
7 F.3d 674, 678 (7th Cir. 1993). Determination of the credibility of a
witness is within the sole province of the finder of fact and is not
subject to review. United States v. Sounders, 886 F.2d 56, 60 (4th Cir.
A federal court exercising habeas jurisdiction must accord a
"presumption of correctness" to factual determinations of state courts so
long as the factual findings are fairly supported by the record. Sumner
v. Mata, 449 U.S. 539, 547 (1981). Since the sufficiency of evidence is a
mixed question of law and fact, "a writ of habeas corpus may be issued
for evidence insufficiency only if the state courts have unreasonably
applied the Jackson standard."
Gomez v. Acevedo, 106 F.3d 192, 199 (7th Cir. 1997), rev'd on other
grounds sub now. Gomez v. DeTella, 522 U.S. 801 (1997). If the state
courts provided a fair process and engaged in reasoned, good-faith
decision-making when applying the Jackson test, then a federal court
cannot second-guess their determination of sufficiency of evidence.
Gomez, 106 F.3d at 199; see Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319.
The state appellate court in this case used the proper standard when
evaluating Petitioner's claim regarding legally insufficient evidence.
The court set forth the evidence presented at trial against Petitioner.
Here, complainant testified that she had just left her
sister's residence in the early morning hours of a
winter day when she was attacked by defendant who
dragged her into a gangway and raped her.
Complainant's conduct thereafter is unusual in that
she accompanied defendant, whose anger had subsided,
until seeking assistance of the van driver. Her
conduct is explainable though because she thought he
had a gun, and there did not appear that assistance
was readily available at that time of day. The fact
that she told the van driver and bystander that she
had been robbed without mentioning the rape could have
been due to her embarrassment. As the trial court
noted, this case was decided on witness credibility,
and we do not find a basis to question that
People v. Karras, Nos. 1-99-2006 & 1-00-2530, at 12-13 (1st Dist. May
Therefore, the Illinois Appellate Court examined the evidence against
Petitioner and employed the proper Jackson standard in its analysis.
Moreover, the court's application of the Jackson standard was within the
bounds of reasonableness. As stated above, determination of the
credibility of a witness is within the sole province of the finder of
fact and is not subject to review. Saunders, 886 F.2d at 60. Therefore,
Petitioner's habeas claim based on legally insufficient evidence is
Petitioner's next interrelated ground in his petition for a writ of
habeas corpus is that the trial court was biased against him. Petitioner
asserts that the trial court acted improperly in
acting as a prosecutor, restricting the defense's cross examination, and
incorrectly remembering the testimony.
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees a
criminal defendant, as any litigant, the right to a fair trial in a fair
tribunal. In re Murchison, 349 U.S. 133, 136 (1955). The Supreme Court's
decision in Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 552 (1994), provides
the standard for deciding judicial bias claims and applies to habeas
corpus petitions. Ortiz v. Stewart, 149 F.3d 923, 939-40 (9th Cir.
1998). Liteky holds:
First, judicial rulings alone almost never constitute
a valid basis for a bias or partiality motion, . . .
Second, opinions formed by the judge on the basis of
facts introduced or events occurring in the course of
the current proceedings, or of prior proceedings, do
not constitute a basis for a bias or partiality motion
unless they display a deep-seated favoritism or
antagonism that would make fair judgment impossible.
Liteky, 510 U.S. at 555-56.
Furthermore, "[t]rial judges retain great discretion to impose
reasonable limits on the cross-examination of witnesses based on concerns
such as harassment, prejudice, confusion of the issues, the witness's
safety, and marginal relevancy." Norris v. Schotten, 146 F.3d 314, 329
(6th Cir. 1998) (citing Delaware v. Van Arsdall, 475 U.S. 673, 679
(1986)). The trial judge abuses this discretion when she allows some
cross-examination of a prosecution witness but does not permit defense
counsel to expose the jurors to facts from which they could appropriately
draw inferences relating to the reliability of the witness. Norris, 146
F.3d at 330 (citing Delaware v. Fensterer, 474 U.S. 15, 19 (1985)).
After reviewing the record, it is clear that the trial court did not
show bias against Karras. Nothing in the record reveals that the trial
court acted as a prosecutor in any way. Likewise, the record does not
support Petitioner's contention that the trial court
restricted the defense's cross examination. Also, the record does
not show that the trial court judge incorrectly remembered any testimony
during the trial.
Furthermore, Karras' claims for judicial bias have already been
considered and rejected by the Illinois Appellate Court. The Appellate
Court having rejected these contentions on the merits, this Court can
only grant Karras' petition if the court's determination was contrary
to, or an unreasonable application of, Supreme Court case law.
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); see Dean v. Cockrell, No. 3:01-CV-1102-H, 2003 WL
21467571, at *1 (N.D. Tex. June 23, 2003). The Appellate Court found no
basis to find that the trial judge was biased against Karras based on his
interpretation of the trial court's remarks or that the court misstated
any material evidence against him. The Appellate Court found that the
trial court did not limit Karras' ability to cross-examine the
complainant or present evidence in his defense and that the trial court
even delayed sentencing to give Karras the opportunity to present
evidence to challenge the complainant's version of what happened. Karras
has failed to show that the Appellate Court's decision was contrary to or
an unreasonable application of United States Supreme Court precedent.
Having reviewed the trial court record and the appellate court's
disposition of Karras' claim regarding trial court bias, Petitioner's
habeas claim on this ground is denied.