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Watson v. Hulick

September 28, 2007

MICHAEL WATSON (B-41612), PETITIONER,
v.
DONALD HULICK,*FN1 WARDEN, MENARD CORRECTIONAL CENTER, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Joan H. Lefkow

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This is a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Michael Watson, who is presently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections. The petition [#1, #6] is denied.

On March 31, 1993, a jury in the Circuit Court of LaSalle County, Illinois in case number 92-CF-277 convicted petitioner Michael Watson ("Watson") of first degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and aggravated kidnapping. For these three crimes he was sentenced to consecutive sentences of natural life, 50 years, and 15 years, respectively.*fn2

I. Procedural History

A. Direct Appeal

Watson appealed his conviction to the Third District Appellate Court, raising three issues, two of which are relevant to this case:

1. His confession should have been suppressed by the trial court because it was induced by police promises of psychiatric treatment; and

2. The trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences based on the incorrect assumption that consecutive sentences were mandatory under 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/5-8-4(a).

The appellate court affirmed the trial court judgment in all respects on December 14, 1995. State Court Record, Dkt. No. 15, Ex. C. It found that Watson's confession was not involuntary and that the trial court correctly applied Illinois law in imposing consecutive sentences. Id. at 5, 8. Watson then filed a petition for leave to appeal in the Illinois Supreme Court, raising only the first of these issues. That petition was denied on April 3, 1996. State Court Record, Ex. E.

B. First Petition for Post-Conviction Relief

Watson filed his first petition for post-conviction relief pursuant to the Illinois post-conviction relief statute, 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/122 et seq., on May 31, 1996. He raised the following relevant issues:

1. His confession should have been suppressed because it was induced by police promises of psychiatric treatment instead of prison; and

2. His trial counsel had a conflict of interest and ineffectively argued Watson's motion to suppress.

Watson's petition was originally summarily dismissed by the trial court but was eventually considered on its merits by the Third District Appellate Court. On December 30, 1999, that court rejected Watson's due process argument and found his ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim to be waived. State Court Record, Ex. M, at 3, 6. Watson filed a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, raising only the ineffective assistance of counsel claim. That was denied on April 5, 2000. State Court Record, Ex. O.

C. Second Petition for Post-Conviction Relief

On October 4, 2000, Watson filed a successive petition for post-conviction relief. He raised the following two points:

1. The imposition of his extended and consecutive sentences violated his 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendment rights because the trial court was allowed to impose an extended sentence based on facts that were not alleged in the indictment, found by the jury, or proven beyond a reasonable doubt; and

2. The imposition of consecutive sentences violated his right to due process because it was unauthorized under ...


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