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Edwards v. Ryker

April 25, 2007

DUANE EDWARDS, PETITIONER,
v.
LEE RYKER, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: United States District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Duane Edwards has brought a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a writ of habeas corpus. Edwards is currently in the custody of the State of Illinois Department of Corrections, incarcerated at the Lawrence Correctional Center. For the reasons stated herein, I deny his petition.

I.

In 2000, petitioner was convicted by a jury of home invasion, unlawful restraint, one count of criminal sexual assault, and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. The victim was Dorothy Edwards, petitioner's wife. The events underlying this case occurred on May 3, 1999. At the time, petitioner and his wife were separated and Dorothy had a restraining order against petitioner. On that date, the parties had a court date in their pending divorce case.

At trial, Dorothy was the State's main witness. She testified that on May 3 she was at home and on the telephone with her friend Jerris Walker, as she prepared for work which she started at 2:45 p.m. While still on the telephone she heard a noise and saw petitioner in the apartment. She screamed for Walker to call the police and said "please don't hurt me." Petitioner then "bear hugged" her, grabbed and tossed away the telephone, and put the point of a knife on her back. Petitioner then made Dorothy call Walker back and say "everything is okay." Dorothy complied and petitioner then forced her out to the car.

Once outside, Dorothy screamed for help and grabbed the knife from petitioner's hand and threw it across the street. Petitioner still forced Dorothy into the car, where she said he hit her as they drove away and as she cried. Petitioner told Dorothy they were both going to die that day. A neighbor witnessed the struggle outside and called the police.

Petitioner drove the car to a field. He told Dorothy to take out her dentures and remove her shoes which he then threw out the window. Petitioner then unzipped his pants and ordered Dorothy to perform oral sex on him. He forced her mouth onto his penis as she continued to cry. When he stopped she tried looking around for help. Petitioner then hit her again, because he thought she was trying to signal a nearby parked truck, and drove the car to a more desolate location. Dorothy believed they drove about a mile and a half or two miles. Petitioner stopped the car again and forced Dorothy to take off her clothes and have vaginal intercourse.

Petitioner did not take off his clothes. After intercourse, petitioner drove the car to a park.

Dorothy next testified that at the park, petitioner carried her to a spot under a tree and put his suit jacket on the ground for her to sit on. They talked about their situation and Dorothy told petitioner she was not going to tell anyone about what had happened that day. Although there were people around she did not try to get help because she felt she had gained his confidence and did not want to upset him. Dorothy estimated their conversation lasted for approximately 20 minutes, during which she told him that she loved him.

While at the park, Dorothy's face began to swell so they left to get ice. Petitioner drove to a convenience store, which was two blocks from a police station, where he got out of the car to check for ice while Dorothy remained in the car. There was no ice at that particular convenience store, so petitioner returned to the car and drove to a second convenience store, where he again exited the car and left Dorothy unaccompanied. In both instances, Dorothy remained in the car and did not try to get help. She testified she was afraid of angering him again and that he was watching her while inside. At the second convenience store, petitioner returned to the car with ice and a soft drink for Dorothy. She used the ice on her face and they returned to the park. Afterwards, petitioner insisted on taking her home.

Once they returned to Dorothy's home, petitioner parked the car in front of the apartment and went inside with her. Once inside, Dorothy took some kind of anxiety medication. Dorothy testified that while they were inside the apartment her fiancé, Robert Walker, called, which angered petitioner. He took the telephone, spoke to the fiancé briefly and then hung up. Petitioner then said, "I don't care about your boyfriend as long as I'm able to fuck you" (Tr. at 184) and made Dorothy go upstairs to the bedroom. Dorothy started crying again. Once upstairs, petitioner forced Dorothy to undress and have sexual intercourse with him. That is when the police arrived.

The police initially rang the doorbell, but there was no response, so they began to pound on the door. This got petitioner's attention, so he peeked outside the window and saw police. He then told the victim to get dressed and answer the door and that he would hide in the basement. She got dressed, went downstairs and answered the door as petitioner hid in the basement.

Dorothy opened the door slightly, but did not say anything. Police officer Edward Johnson sensed something was amiss, however, and ordered her to step onto the porch. When she did so, petitioner came out of the basement and locked the door behind her. Officer Johnson asked Dorothy if petitioner was still inside. Dorothy nodded. More police arrived on the scene and were able to convince the defendant to turn himself in without further incident.

Dorothy then went to the hospital where she was examined. Swabs of fluid were taken from her mouth, vagina, and rectum. The lab results revealed the presence of semen on the vaginal and rectal swabs, but not on the oral swabs. Photographs of her face were also taken. The only injuries documented were the swelling on the sides of her face.

On cross examination, Dorothy testified that petitioner did not punch her at the time he forced her to perform oral sex. (Tr. at 208). The only injury she claimed to have received at that time was that her "heart was really broken." (Tr. at 207.) Dorothy added that "[h]e did punch me when we were parked on the side of the road because he thought I was signaling someone." (Tr. at 208.) When asked whether petitioner performed oral sex on her, Dorothy answered that she did not remember. (Tr. at 225.) Dorothy also testified that at the time they had intercourse in the car, he did not use any force other than putting his penis in her vagina. She added that he had also ripped her jewelry off, and that she was already afraid because "he had beat [her] halfway through the trip." (Tr. at 209.) When asked if petitioner used any force other than the actual penetration when they returned to the apartment, she again testified that he did not use additional force, but that "he had already beat [her] down." (Tr. at 211.)

Dorothy's neighbor, Gilbert Palmer, also testified at trial. He claimed to have seen petitioner "slam" Dorothy against the car and strike her while inside the car before driving away. He called the police. On cross examination, Palmer was confronted with the police report in which he did not state that he observed petitioner strike Dorothy. Palmer responded the police must have omitted it. The State also called Walker, who corroborated that she heard Dorothy scream for help over the telephone when petitioner first entered Dorothy's apartment.

With regards to Dorothy's injuries, the State called a crime scene technician, who described the swelling on the sides of Dorothy's face, which she said was predominantly on the left side of her face. Suzanne Casseto, the staff nurse who attended to Dorothy at the emergency room, also testified she observed swelling on the left side of Dorothy's face, but no further injuries. Detective Les O'Connor also testified he observed a black eye on Dorothy. A DNA expert also testified that the DNA in the semen from the vaginal and anal swabs matched petitioner's.

The defense's only witness was Detective O'Connor. Detective O'Connor testified he interviewed Palmer and that Palmer did not tell him he observed petitioner strike Dorothy inside the car. (Tr. at 328-29.) The other evidence presented by the defense was that May 3, 1999 was a Monday.*fn1

The jury found defendant guilty of home invasion, unlawful restraint, one count of criminal sexual assault (involving vaginal intercourse), and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault (involving vaginal intercourse). Petitioner was found not guilty of two additional counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault (involving oral penetration) and one count of criminal sexual assault (involving oral penetration). The trial court later merged all three sexual assault convictions into one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault, as these arose from the same act. The trial court sentenced petitioner to 20 years imprisonment for home invasion, 20 years imprisonment for aggravated criminal sexual assault, and 3 years imprisonment for unlawful restraint. The trial court ordered the two 20-year terms to run consecutively to ...


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