The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable David H. Coar
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Petitioner Darnell Clay's motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is before this Court.*fn1 For the following reasons, the motion is denied.
Petitioner was born in August 1980. On the afternoon of March 25, 1997, two victims were fatally shot by Petitioner during a minor altercation on a Chicago street. Petitioner was with a companion. About midnight of the same day, Petitioner and his aunt arrived at a district police station, and police took them to Area 3 Violent Crimes headquarters. Approximately 20 minutes after the arrival of Petitioner and his aunt at Area 3, Youth Officer Drochner met with both in an interview room. Drochner informed Petitioner of his Miranda rights and told Petitioner that he would be prosecuted as an adult if he was charged with first degree murder. Drochner also told Petitioner that he should ask if he needed anything. Petitioner's aunt gave Drochner the names of Petitioner's parents. Petitioner's mother lived in New York. Drochner tried to contact Petitioner's father about noontime on March 26, 1997.
About 1:15 a.m. on March 26, 2007, Detective Killacky spoke to Petitioner for five minutes in the presence of Drochner and Petitioner's aunt. Petitioner did not make any admissions at this time. Petitioner was then placed in a lineup, where he was identified by Jerry Myvett. Myvett was an eyewitness to the shootings, and had known Petitioner since they were children. About this point, Petitioner's aunt left Area 3 in order to attend to "some emergency business." After the lineup, Petitioner was placed alone in a locked interview room, but he was not handcuffed. At 4:55 a.m., Drochner, Killacky and an assistant State's Attorney entered the interview room. The latter advised defendant of his Miranda rights before speaking to petitioner for one-half hour. During this conversation, petitioner admitted that he shot the victims. Petitioner was then left alone in the locked interview room.
A court reporter was requested, and at approximately 7:30 a.m. Petitioner's companion gave a court-reported statement. Two hours later, petitioner gave a 17-page court-reported statement in which he confessed to the shootings in the presence of an assistant State's Attorney, Killacky and Drochner. Before giving the statement, Petitioner was again advised of his Miranda rights. In the statement, Petitioner said that while at Area 3 he had been treated "all right" and given a bag of potato chips and a soda. He was also allowed to use the washroom. Petitioner responded that he gave the statement freely and voluntarily, and no one had threatened or promised him anything. The statement was transcribed, and at 11:!5 a.m. Petitioner made corrections to the statement which he signed.
On July 1, 1998, following a bench trial, Petitioner was convicted of two murders and an unlawful use of a weapon by the Circuit Court of Cook County, and was sentenced to life years of imprisonment for the murders, and a three-year concurrent term for unlawful use of a weapon. Petitioner appealed his convictions and sentences to the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, where he raised for review the claim that his confession was involuntary because it was made under coercive circumstances. In an unpublished order dated June 23, 2000, the appellate court affirmed Petitioner's convictions and sentences.
Petitioner then filed a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, asking the Illinois Supreme Court to review "whether, where the police isolated juvenile Jermaine Jamieson for seven hours throughout the late night and early morning, frustrated his aunt's attempt to arrange the aid of an adult relative interested in his welfare, and gave him almost nothing to eat for nine hours, and where the youth officer showed no interest in his rights, Jamieson's confession was made under coercive circumstances rendering it involuntary." On October 4, 2000, the Supreme Court of Illinois denied the petition for leave to appeal.
On February 2, 2001, Petitioner filed a pro se post-conviction petition with the Circuit Court of Cook County. The petition alleged the following grounds of relief: (1) ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failure to interview or call Petitioner's aunt, Diahann Flowers; (2) petitioner's life sentence is unconstitutional based on Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348 (2000). On March 30, 2001, the circuit court dismissed the petition.
On October 26, 2001, the Assistant Public Defender who represented Petitioner on appeal filed a motion for leave to withdraw. Petitioner filed a pro se response on February 28, 2002, in which he alleged that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to interview or call as Petitioner's aunt as a witness. On March 29, 2002, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, granted counsel leave to withdraw and affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing petitioner's post-conviction petition.
On June 7, 2002, Petitioner filed a petition for leave to appeal from the affirmance of the denial of his first post-conviction petition. He claimed that the counsel appointed to represent him on appeal from the denial of post-conviction relief conducted a cursory review of the issues, and the legal principles relied upon by the post conviction court should not have been so rigidly applied on the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to call petitioner's aunt as a witness. On October 2, 2002, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the petition.
On November 20, 2001, before the appeal of his first post-conviction petition was decided, Petitioner filed a pro se motion under section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1401), seeking relief from his sentence. Petitioner argued that his natural life sentence under 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(a)(1)(c)(ii) was void because the public act which enacted the statute violated the single subject rule of the Illinois Constitution. The trial court treated the motion as a second post-conviction petition, and concluded that the issues raised by the Petitioner were non-meritorious. The petition was dismissed.
On March 12, 2002, Petitioner filed a notice of appeal from the dismissal of this second pro se post-conviction petition. On October 16, 2002, the assistant public defender who represented petitioner on appeal filed a motion for leave to withdraw as appellate counsel.
On February 13, 2003, Petitioner filed a pro se response to the motion to withdraw. Petitioner argued that his sentence was unconstitutional under 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(a)(1)(c)(ii), and that the trial judge abused his discretion in sentencing petitioner to natural life without parole since he was a juvenile at the time he committed the two murders, had no criminal history, and the court failed to consider rehabilitative potential. On April 24, 2003, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, granted ...