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United States ex rel Quezada v. Uchtman

November 16, 2006

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL. RICKEY QUEZADA, PETITIONER,
v.
ALAN UCHTMAN, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Petitioner Rickey Lee Quezada's ("Quezada") petition for writ of habeas corpus. For the reasons stated below, we deny Quezada's petition for writ of habeas corpus.

BACKGROUND

Following a jury trial in Kane County Circuit Court, Illinois, Quezada was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to forty-five years in prison.

Quezada filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. Quezada then appealed his conviction to the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District ("Illinois Appellate Court") and on November 27, 2002, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed Quezada's conviction. Quezada then filed a petition for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Illinois, which was denied on February 5, 2003. On July 31, 2003, Quezada filed a post-conviction petition in Kane County Circuit Court. After an evidentiary hearing and arguments from counsel, the court denied post-conviction relief on March 15, 2004. Quezada filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus ("Petition") on February 13, 2006.

LEGAL STANDARD

A district court may entertain a habeas corpus petition from a "person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the grounds that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a writ of habeas corpus will not be granted unless "the applicant has exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State; . . . or there is an absence of available State corrective process; or . . . circumstances exist that render such process ineffective to protect the rights of the applicant." 28 U.S.C.A. § 2254 (b)(1). A habeas corpus petition shall also not be granted: on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court . . . unless the adjudication of the claim . . . (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). A decision by a state court is deemed to be "'contrary to' [the U.S. Supreme Court's] clearly established precedents if it 'applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [the Court's] cases' or if it 'confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of [the] Court and nevertheless arrives at a result different from our precedent.'" Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002)(quoting Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405-06 (2000)). A state court need not cite to Supreme Court cases in its decision, "so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the" state court's decision contradicts such precedent. Id.

DISCUSSION

In his petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Quezada asserts the following claims: (1) his confession was involuntary and he did not knowingly and intelligently waive his Miranda rights (Claim 1), (2) Quezada's counsel was ineffective because counsel failed to request that portions of Quezada's taped statement where he exercised his right to remain silent be edited from the tape and redacted from the transcripts (Claim 2), (3) Quezada's trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance because evidence offered at a suppression hearing did not support the contention that Quezada did not knowingly and voluntarily waive his Miranda rights and that Quezada's testimony would have provided support (Claim 3), (4) Quezada's counsel was ineffective because counsel did not adequately discuss the trial strategy with Quezada and counsel did not prepare a defense before trial and then asserted the affirmative defense of self-defense after the trial had begun (Claim 4), (5) Quezada's trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance because the affirmative defense of self-defense was not the correct trial strategy (Claim 5), and (6) he was denied Due Process of law when the trial court considered a misdemeanor conviction of Quezada as aggravation pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/5-3-3.2A (Claim 6).

Before a state prisoner can petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the federal courts, the petitioner "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. Boerkel, 526 U.S. 838, 845 (1999). This means that the petitioner must properly assert each claim at each and every level in the state court system, either on direct appeal of his conviction or in post-conviction proceedings. Id. at 848-49; see also Resnover v. Pearson, 965 F.2d 1453, 1458 (7th Cir. 1992)(stating that "[p]rocedural default . . . occurs when a claim could have been but was not presented to the state court and cannot, at the time that the federal court reviews the habeas petition, be presented to the state court" and that "[i]ssues which were never raised in the state courts are the proper subject of procedural default in this collateral review under § 2254"). Therefore, a petitioner must pursue appellate right "to the highest state court to preserve federal review." Grigsby v. Cotton, 456 F.3d 727, 732 (7th Cir. 2006).

A federal court can review procedurally defaulted claims, however, if a petitioner "shows cause for failure to raise them at the appropriate time and actual prejudice which resulted from such failure," or if the refusal to review would result in a "fundamental miscarriage of justice." Rodriguez v. Scillia, 193 F.3d 913, 917 (7th Cir. 1999). A petitioner can establish cause by "showing that some type of external impediment prevented the petitioner from presenting his federal claim to the state courts." Lewis v. Sternes, 390 F.3d 1019, 1026 (7th Cir. 2004). To establish prejudice, a petitioner must show that the violation of his federal rights "worked to his actual and substantial disadvantage, infecting his entire trial with error of constitutional dimensions." Id. (quoting United States v. Frady, 456 U.S. 152, 170 (1982). A miscarriage of justice exists "where 'a constitutional violation has probably resulted in the conviction of one who is actually innocent'" and the petitioner can "show that it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted him," but for the alleged constitutional violation. Rodriguez, 193 F.3d at 917(quoting Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 495-96 (1986)).

I. Involuntary Confession and Knowing & Intelligent Waiver of Rights (Claim 1)

Quezada argues in Claim 1 that statements made by him during custodial interrogation failed to comply with his Miranda rights. Quezada also challenges the Illinois Supreme Court's finding that he knowingly and intelligently waived his rights, thus making his confession voluntary. Quezada argues that his confession was involuntary and he did not knowingly and intelligently waive his Miranda rights. On direct appeal of his conviction to the Illinois Appellate Court, Quezada argued that "[t]he trial court erred in failing to grant defendant's motion to suppress his statements where, under the totality of the circumstances, the fifteen-year-old defendant's confession was involuntary and the waiver of his rights was not knowingly and intelligently made." (G. Ex. B 27). After the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed Quezada's conviction, Quezada filed a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court and argued that "the appellate court erred when it failed to hold that the trial court improperly denied defendant's motion to suppress statements there: 1) under the totality of the circumstances, the fifteen-year-old defendant's confession was involuntary and 2) the waiver of defendant's rights was not knowingly and intelligently made." (G. Ex. E 2). Thus, ...


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