The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM J. HIBBLER, District Judge
*fn1 Ronald Williams has been transferred to Western Illinois
Correctional Center where Kevin L. Winters is the Warden. He is
thus the proper respondent in this habeas action. See Rule 2(a)
of the Rules Governing Habeas Corpus Cases under
28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Court hereby substitutes Kevin L. Winters as the
respondent. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 25(d)(1).
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Petitioner, Ronald Williams, a prisoner in state custody, filed
a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254. Williams raises ten claims, including ineffective
assistance of both trial and appellate counsel, abuse of
discretion by the trial court, and prosecutorial misconduct. For
the following reasons, Williams' request for relief under § 2254
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1), the state court's determination
of factual issues is presumed correct for the purposes of habeas
review, although a petitioner may rebut the presumption of
correctness through the provision of clear and convincing
evidence. Davis v. Litscher, 290 F.3d 943, 946 (7th Cir. 2002).
As Williams provides no such evidence, this Court will adopt the
underlying facts as set forth by the Illinois Appellate Court in
People v. Williams, No. 94-10282 (1st Dist. Dec. 24, 1997)
(unpublished order). In 1973, Ronald Williams met Mary Cross, and in 1977 they had a
daughter. In the late 1970's, Williams went to California,
abandoning Cross and his daughter. He did not return to Illinois
until approximately 1983. After his return, Williams and Cross
had a sporadic relationship, and Williams proposed to Cross in
December 1993. She declined, and the next month she told Williams
she did not want to see him anymore. On March 21, 1994, Williams
approached Cross as she was leaving her place of work, a bridal
salon in a downtown Chicago shopping district. He wanted to talk
to her, but she refused to speak with him. Williams then attacked
Cross with a hatchet he had concealed in a brown paper bag,
striking her repeatedly about the head. Cross testified that
Williams said he was going to kill her as he raised the weapon
over his head. Attempting to evade Williams, Cross ran into the
street screaming. Her screams drew the attention of several
others, who tried to intervene and restrain Williams. However,
Williams kept swinging the hatchet wildly at the crowd, and
managed to keep the would-be rescuers at bay, all the while
continuing to attack Cross. A German tourist snapped a photo of
Williams hacking at Cross. Williams then fled down Michigan
Avenue, chased by onlookers, who tackled Williams on a side
street and held him until the police arrived a few moments later.
Following a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County,
Williams was convicted of attempted first-degree murder. On April
12, 1995, the court sentenced him to the maximum extended term of
sixty years' imprisonment. In imposing the maximum extended
sentence, the court cited Williams' previous convictions, the
brutal and heinous nature of his crime, and the occurrence of the
crime in an area frequented by tourists.
On April 12, 1995, the trial court denied Williams' motion for
a new trial. Williams then appealed his conviction to the Illinois Appellate Court. In his
appeal, Williams raised six claims: (1) the trial court erred in
prohibiting defense counsel from impeaching a witness; (2) the
trial court erred in ruling Williams' prior convictions would be
admissible if he testified; (3) the prosecution's use of
inflammatory rhetoric and unsupported assertions deprived
Williams of a fair trial; (4) ineffective assistance of trial
counsel for conceding guilt and failing to object during closing
argument; (5) the prosecution failed to prove intent to kill
beyond a reasonable doubt; and (6) the trial court improperly
sentenced Williams to an extended term of sixty years. The
Illinois Appellate Court held that Williams had waived his first
two claims of trial court error and his claim of prosecutorial
misconduct. The court also found that none of these claims
merited review under the plain error doctrine, as the evidence
was not closely balanced and the alleged error did not deprive
Williams of a fair trial. The court addressed the remaining
claims on the merits, and found nothing to warrant remand to the
trial court. Accordingly, the appellate court affirmed Williams'
conviction on December 24, 1997. People v. Williams, No.
1-95-1616. On January 29, 1998, Williams filed a pro se
petition for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Illinois, in
which he raised the same six claims brought on direct appeal. The
Supreme Court denied his petition on April 1, 1998.
Williams next filed a pro se post-conviction petition,
pursuant to the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act, 725 ILCS
5/122-1. He raised sixteen claims in this petition, including
seven counts of ineffective assistance of trial counsel,*fn2
six counts of abuse of discretion by the trial court,*fn3 prosecutorial misconduct resulting in jury
tampering, conspiracy between prosecutors and police, and
ineffective assistance of appellate counsel for failing to
investigate Williams' claims. The Circuit Court of Cook County
dismissed the petition as "frivolous and patently without merit"
on April 14, 1998. After the petition was denied, the State
Appellate Defender moved to withdraw pursuant to Pennsylvania v.
Finley, 481 U.S. 551 (1987), stating that Williams had raised no
viable claims. In spite of Williams' objection, the Illinois
Appellate Court granted the motion. In its order, the court also
affirmed the judgment of the trial court, finding no issues of
arguable merit. Williams then petitioned the Illinois Supreme
Court for leave to appeal the dismissal, limiting his claims to
four counts of ineffective assistance of trial counsel*fn4
as well as ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. The
Supreme Court denied his petition on July 5, 2000.
On March 27, 2001, Williams filed a second pro se
post-conviction petition alleging the determination by the trial
court that the crime was exceptionally brutal and heinous and
indicative of wanton cruelty was not charged in the indictment
nor submitted to the jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Again, Williams' petition was denied as without merit. On July
14, 2003, Williams advised this Court that the remaining state
proceedings were concluded, and that his appeals had been denied.
Therefore, the Court granted Williams' request to proceed with
the instant habeas petition and lift the stay in this matter.
The statute governing this Court's analysis of Williams'
petition for writ of habeas corpus is the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
See also Hardaway v. Young, 302 F.3d 757, 761 (7th Cir. 2002).
The AEDPA provides that a petitioner is entitled to a writ of
habeas corpus if the state court ruling is "contrary to" or "an
unreasonable application of" clearly established federal law as
established by the Supreme Court. Williams v. Taylor,
529 U.S. 362, 404-05 (2000). In Williams, the Supreme Court held that a
state court decision may be "contrary to" federal precedent if
the state court reaches an opposite conclusion on a point of law,
or if the state court "confronts facts that are materially
indistinguishable from a relevant Supreme Court precedent and it
arrives at a result opposite to ours." Id. at 406.
Alternatively, an unreasonable application of federal law occurs
when a state court "identifies the correct governing principle
but unreasonably applies [it]" to the facts of the case. Id. at
413. The mere fact that the reviewing court may have decided
differently does not render a state court ruling unreasonable;
rather, the decision must lie "well outside the boundaries of
permissible differences of opinion." Hardaway, 302 F.3d at 762.
Additionally, in conducting habeas review, federal courts
should not reexamine state court determinations of state law
issues. Estelle v. McGuire, 502 U.S. 62, 68 (1991). The sole
question for the Court's consideration is whether the
petitioner's conviction violates the laws, treaties or
Constitution of the United States. Id. Therefore this Court
will not consider Williams' claims concerning state court error.
Williams raises ten grounds in his habeas petition. He alleges
that his constitutional rights were violated because: (1) the trial court refused to allow him
to impeach the victim's testimony; (2) the prosecution presented
insufficient evidence to establish requisite intent to kill; (3)
the trial court ruled that his criminal record would be
admissible if he took the witness stand; (4) the trial court
failed to prohibit the prosecution from using inflammatory
rhetoric, engaging in improper speculation, and calling the
jury's attention to Williams' lack of testimony; (5) Williams was
improperly and erroneously sentenced to an extended term of sixty
years; (6) his trial counsel was ineffective in fourteen
instances;*fn5 (7) his appellate counsel was ineffective for
failing to raise all of his trial counsel's deficiencies; (8) ...