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People v. Manrique

July 23, 2004

[5] PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ARMANDO MANRIQUE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



[6] Appeal from the Circuit Court for the 14th Judicial Circuit, Henry County, Illinois No. 95-CF-318-4. Honorable Jay Hanson Judge, Presiding.

[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McDADE

[8]  In this case from the circuit court of Henry County, the defendant appeals from the dismissal of a petition for post-conviction relief. The petition, which raised a claim of actual innocence, was summarily dismissed by the trial court as successive, untimely, and barred by res judicata. The defendant appeals and argues that it was improper for the trial court to dismiss the petition in the first stage of the post-conviction review process. For the following reasons, we reverse.

[9]  FACTS

[10]   The defendant, Armando Manrique, was a passenger in a motor home traveling on Interstate 80 on November 6, 1995. Also in the motor home were the driver, Andres Elken Montoya, and passengers Guillermo Carvajal, Miguel Londono, Iriada Sanchez and Niurca Torres. The vehicle was pulled over for speeding by the Illinois State Police. After issuing a written warning, the officer asked Montoya for permission to search the home, which was granted. During the subsequent search, the police found several black plastic storage bags containing bricks of cocaine. The cocaine was hidden in storage cabinets and under several bunk beds. The officers stated that it was impossible to determine what was in the bags without opening them and that they did not smell like cocaine.

[11]   Manrique denied any knowledge of the cocaine and stated that he had encountered his friend Montoya in Los Angeles and that Montoya had invited him on a road trip in the motor home.

[12]   Manrique was convicted in the circuit court of Henry County of controlled substance trafficking (720 ILCS 570/401.1 (West 2002)), unlawful possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (720 ILCS 520/401(a)(2)(D) (West 2002)), and possession of a controlled substance (720 ILCS 570/402(a)(2)(D) (West 2002)), and was sentenced to 56 years in prison.

[13]   On direct appeal, the defendant argued that it was error for the trial court to deny his pretrial motion seeking the suppression of the cocaine. People v. Manrique, (August 21, 1997) (Unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). The appeal was denied and the defendant's conviction was affirmed.

[14]   The defendant, in 1998, filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief in which he alleged ineffective assistance of counsel because of his attorney's failure to call Montoya as a witness at the suppression hearing and at trial to testify that the defendant did not know about the cocaine. The State filed a written response to the petition which contained an affidavit from the defendant's original attorney. The affidavit stated that defense counsel had attempted to call Montoya as a witness, but that Montoya's lawyer would not allow her client to testify and that he would have pled his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination if called as a witness.

[15]   At an evidentiary hearing on the petition, on January 18, 2001, the trial court found that the defendant did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to call Montoya, because Montoya was not available as a witness. The court denied the defendant relief.

[16]   On February 15, 2002, the defendant filed a second post-conviction petition alleging a claim of actual innocence. The petition contained affidavits from both the defendant and Montoya stating that Montoya was willing to testify that the defendant had no knowledge of the cocaine. The dismissal of that petition resulted in this appeal.

[17]   ANALYSIS

[18]   The key question is whether the trial court may summarily dismiss a successive, untimely post-conviction motion that raises issues that have been previously litigated. The parties have each cited a case in support of their position, People v. Morales, 339 Ill. App. 3d 554, 791 N.E.2d 1122 (2003), and People v. Smith, 341 Ill. App. 3d 530, 794 N.E.2d 367 (2003).

[19]   In Morales, the court stated in dicta that it would be improper for the court to summarily dismiss a successive post-conviction petition on the basis of untimeliness or res judicata. Morales, 339 Ill. App. 3d at 560-61, 791 N.E.2d at 1128. However, the court found that the trial judge had properly dismissed the petition for being patently without merit. Morales, 339 Ill. App. 3d at 561, 791 N.E.2d at 1128-29.

[20]   In Smith, the court found that the trial court properly dismissed a petition in the first stage of the process when the petition was successive and raised issues that could have been raised in the first petition. In so deciding, the court applied the "cause and prejudice "test" of People v. Britt-el, 206 Ill. 2d 331, 794 N.E.2d 204 (2002), which requires the defendant to show that an objective factor, external to the defense, impeded the defendant's ability to raise the claim in the first petition, and that the claimed ...


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