The opinion of the court was delivered by: MATTHEW KENNELLY, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Following a bench trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County,
Marvin Greer was found guilty of first degree murder, possession
of a stolen motor vehicle, burglary, and escape. He was sentenced
to 25 years imprisonment for murder and to concurrent terms of
seven years on each of the other charges. This matter is before
the Court on Greer's petition for a writ of habeas corpus under
28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
denies Greer's petition.
The Court takes the following account from the decision of the
Illinois Appellate Court People v. Greer, No. 1-99-2505 (Ill.
App. Dec. 4, 2000). The Court presumes the facts set forth by the
Appellate Court to be correct for purposes of habeas corpus
review. Sumner v. Mata, 449 U.S. 539, 547 (1981);
28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1).
On December 23, 1996, Arthur Frierson was killed when Greer,
who was driving a stolen pickup truck and being pursued by
police, hit Frierson's car at the intersection of Hamlin and
Madison on the west side of Chicago. Greer was charged with first
degree murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated possession of a stolen motor vehicle,
possession of a stolen motor vehicle, burglary, aggravated
fleeing or attempt to elude a police officer, and escape.
At trial, the state introduced evidence showing that shortly
after 1 a.m. on the date in question, Chicago Police officers
Jeffrey Pawlak and William Bartkowicz were on routine patrol,
driving a marked vehicle westbound in the 3800 to 3900 block of
West Washington Street, where they saw Greer driving a pickup
truck headed eastbound directly toward them, even though they
were in the westbound lanes. The officers swerved to avoid being
hit by Greer, and as Greer passed them, Officer Pawlak saw the
brake lights go on. Then, as Pawlak made a u-turn to pull Greer
over, the brake lights went off and Greer accelerated. The
officers activated the rotating blue lights and flashing
headlights on their vehicle and pursued Greer.
Greer drove through a red light at the intersection of Hamlin
and Washington, turning southbound on Hamlin. The officers sped
up, and when they reached the same intersection, they saw Greer
go through the red light at Madison and hit a small car, driven
by Frierson, that was already in the intersection. Greer made no
attempt to slow down, stop, or avoid the car, and Pawlak never
saw the brake lights of the truck go on again. Greer's vehicle
continued forward after the crash. Greer rolled out of the
passenger side door and ran westbound near Monroe. Pawlak and his
partner chased Greer to a vacant lot and surrounded him. Greer
ignored their order to get down on the ground, and a struggle
ensued. The officers managed to place one handcuff on Greer
before he upended Pawlak and ran away. The officers radioed for
help and began a yard-to-yard search for Greer, but they were
unable to find him.
The officers returned to the scene of the crash, where they
observed that the opera window behind the driver's side of the
truck Greer was driving had been broken out and taped. The steering column had also been broken, and the driver's side
door lock had been removed. The officers also noticed that the
driver's side door of Frierson's car had been completely smashed
in. The driver's side seat was also completely broken, and
Frierson was still inside.
Chicago police officer Dimitrios Lamperis testified that around
3:20 a.m., he responded to a dispatch reporting a suspicious
person on the roof of a building at 3841 West Monroe Street; he
requested that the fire department offer assistance. Lamperis
used the fire department's ladder to climb to the roof of the
building, where he observed that the handle on the roof hatch had
been broken, and the hatch had been completely removed. Through
the opening, he saw Greer with a handcuff on his left wrist. When
Lamperis and his partner went through the opening, Greer ran
downstairs. After a floor-to-floor search of the building, the
officers found Greer in the basement. Greer resisted the
officers' attempts to restrain him. With the help of several
officers, Lamperis subdued Greer and put him in a squad car.
Pawlak and his partner identified Greer as the person who had
fled the crash scene earlier that morning. Lamperis testified
that the owner of the building did not give Greer permission to
Pawlak testified that he completed a case report and an alcohol
incident report. He observed that Greer was frightened, unable to
turn around, and had bloodshot eyes. Greer admitted to Pawlak
that he had been using cocaine continuously for four days prior
to the car crash. Pawlak acknowledged that he had issued Greer a
number of traffic citations as a result of the incident, but that
none of them were for fleeing or eluding police.
Chicago Police Detective Dennis Walsh, who investigated the
crash, testified that he saw no skid marks at or near the
intersection where the crash occurred. He also testified to his
familiarity with the area and estimated that it would have taken
Greer approximately 15 to 20 seconds to drive down Hamlin from Washington to Madison if he
were traveling at the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour.
The parties stipulated to the report of the Cook County medical
examiner which concluded that Frierson's death was caused by
multiple injuries resulting from the crash.
The trial court granted Greer's motion for a directed finding
of not guilty as to count two, felony murder based on burglary,
and count seven, aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a
police officer. At the conclusion of argument, the trial court
reviewed the evidence and found Greer guilty of first degree
murder, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, burglary, and
escape. The trial court determined that the prosecution had not
proven Greer guilty of the second count of felony murder based on
aggravated possession of a stolen motor vehicle or the count
alleging that underlying aggravated possession offense.
On direct appeal, Greer argued only the sufficiency of the
evidence to sustain his conviction of first degree murder. He
argued that there was insufficient proof that he was fleeing from
the police and thus he should have been ...