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United States ex rel Coleman v. Hulick

August 28, 2008

UNITED STATES EX REL. MAURICE COLEMAN (#A-25160), PETITIONER,
v.
DON HULICK, WARDEN, MENARD CORRECTIONAL CENTER,*FN1 RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is Petitioner Maurice Coleman's petition for a writ of habeas corpus and supplemental habeas petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1).*fn2 For the following reasons, the Court denies Coleman's habeas petition. The Court also denies Coleman's request for an evidentiary hearing pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2).

BACKGROUND

Coleman does not present clear and convincing evidence challenging the statement of facts set forth in the Illinois Appellate Court's opinions affirming the judgments of the Circuit Court of Cook County, and thus the Court presumes those facts are correct for purposes of its habeas review. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); see also Virsnieks v. Smith, 521 F.3d 707, 714 (7th Cir. 2008). Therefore, the Court adopts the underlying facts as set forth by the Illinois Appellate Court. See People v. Coleman, No. 1-95-4039 (Ill.App.Ct. July 31, 1998); People v. Coleman, 179 Ill.App.3d 410, 128 Ill.Dec. 401, 534 N.E.2d 583 (Ill.App.Ct. 1989). The Court begins with a recounting of the facts as determined by the Illinois Appellate Court. See Easley v. Frey, 433 F.3d 969, 970 (7th Cir. 2006).

I. Factual Background

The testimony at Coleman's trial reveals that on Sunday, August 2, 1981 at about 5:00 p.m., the victim, Terrell Jackson, was at his home on the south side of Chicago, Illinois where he had fallen asleep on the floor while watching television in a second-floor bedroom. Jackson's younger brother, Arlander Adamson, was watching television in the first-floor living room and Jackson's stepdaughter, Gwen Thomas, was in another second-floor bedroom with her baby.

On that same day, two men burst through the rear door of Jackson's residence. The men put their guns to Adamson's head and ordered Adamson to tell them who else was in the house. Adamson then told them that his brother, his niece, and her baby were upstairs. The two men also asked Adamson if there were any drugs or money in the house. One of the men suggested that they should kill Adamson, but the other man disagreed. The two men then bound and gagged Adamson and forced him to accompany them upstairs.

Adamson indicated to the two men that his niece and her baby were in the room where the door was closed. The men, along with Adamson, went down the hallway to Jackson's room and the men then ordered Adamson to lie on the floor. They told Jackson to get up and asked him, "Where is the s--t at?" As Jackson awakened, the men fired six shots into Jackson's body. One of the men took Jackson's jewelry and money and the other looked through various drawers in the room while asking, "Where's the s--t?"

One of the men then left the room and went to Thomas' room, and with a gun in his hand, told Thomas to come with him. He then directed Thomas to Jackson's room. Thomas saw Jackson and Adamson lying on the floor. One of the men then told Thomas that if she did not tell them where "it" was, the two men would kill them. Thomas asked Jackson what the men wanted and where "it" was. Jackson said that he did not have anything and that he did not want to die. The two men nevertheless ransacked the room, went into the closets and under the mattress, and pulled out drawers. One of the men put something in his pocket. They also tied up Thomas and made her lie face down on the floor. The two men then left Jackson's residence.

Shortly thereafter, Thomas and Adamson untied each other. Thomas went downstairs, locked the doors, and then called the police, her grandmother, and her cousin while Adamson held Jackson, who was dying in his arms. Jackson died from a gunshot wound. After the police arrived, Adamson and Thomas gave the police descriptions of the two offenders. Later that evening, Adamson and Thomas looked through photograph books at the police station, but neither made an identification. A few weeks later on August 18, 1981, Thomas looked through a book of photographs that Chicago Police Detectives brought to the home of Thomas' friend. Thomas identified a picture of Coleman as a picture of one of the offenders. On the following day, Thomas and Adamson identified Coleman in a lineup at a Chicago police station.

II. Procedural Background

In 1983, a jury in the Circuit Court of Cook County found Coleman and his co-defendant Joseph Barnes guilty of murder and armed robbery, and the trial judge sentenced Coleman to prison terms of natural life and thirty years' imprisonment, respectively. (R. 17-1, Rule 5 Exs., Ex. A.) Coleman appealed his judgment of conviction to the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, raising five issues: (1) improper identification evidence was obtained in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel and was wrongly used at trial; (2) his Sixth Amendment right to a jury composed of a cross-section of the community was denied because the trial court excluded all persons who were unalterably opposed to the imposition of the death penalty; (3) the trial court erred in admitting the State's rebuttal testimony to co-defendant Joseph Barnes' alibi witness; (4) cumulative prosecutorial error denied him a fair trial; and (5) the trial court failed to properly exercise its discretion by summarily denying the jury's request for a transcript of a witness' testimony. (Id.) On February 3, 1989, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed Coleman's conviction and sentence. (Id.)

On April 6, 1989, Coleman filed a petition for leave to appeal ("PLA") to the Supreme Court of Illinois, raising three claims: (1) improper identification evidence was obtained in violation of petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to counsel and wrongly used at trial; (2) cumulative prosecutorial error denied petitioner a fair trial; and (3) the trial court failed to properly exercise its discretion by summarily denying the jury's request for a transcript of a witness' testimony. (Ex. B.) On June 1, 1989, the Supreme Court of Illinois denied Coleman's PLA. (Ex. C.)

On March 1, 1990, Coleman filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court of Cook County pursuant to the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act, 725 ILCS 5/122-1, et seq., arguing that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call occurrence witnesses Tracy and David Wilkins to testify. (Ex. D.) On September 23, 1992, Coleman filed a supplemental amendment to his post-conviction petition arguing that trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to call potential witnesses Evelyn and Loretta Cade, a witness identified only as "Sleepy," and Roy Wright, along with counsel's failure to call Tracy and David Wilkins. (Ex. E.) On August 9, 1994, Coleman filed another amended post-conviction petition alleging that his co-defendant Joseph Barnes admitted that Coleman was not involved in the underlying crimes and that Barnes' admission was corroborated by other evidence proving that Coleman was wrongly convicted. (Ex. F.) After granting Coleman an evidentiary hearing, the post-conviction court denied Coleman's amended post-conviction petition. (Ex. G.)

Coleman appealed the Circuit Court's denial of his post-conviction petition to the Illinois Appellate Court arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his amended post-conviction petition because Barnes' exculpatory statement was unavailable at trial and would have proven his innocence if introduced at a new trial. (Ex. G.) Coleman, however, did not argue that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective in his post-conviction appeal. (Id.) On January 1998, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the Circuit Court's denial of Coleman's amended post-conviction petition.

Coleman then filed a PLA to the Supreme Court of Illinois raising one issue -- the trial court erred in denying the amended post-conviction petition because Barnes' testimony would have exonerated him. (Ex. K.) Coleman made no claims of ineffective assistance of counsel in his post-conviction PLA. (Id.) The Supreme Court of Illinois denied Coleman's post-conviction PLA on December 2, 1998. (Ex. L.)

III. Habeas Petition

On April 20, 1999, Coleman filed the present pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254(d)(1). (R. 4-1.) On June 20, 2002, the court reinstated and granted Coleman's motion for appointment of counsel. (R. 18-1.) Nevertheless, on October 2, 2003, Coleman filed a pro se supplemental habeas corpus petition. (R. 22-1.) On October 31, 2006, Coleman, by counsel, filed an amended habeas petition. (R. 40-1.) In his amended petition, Coleman raises an ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim based on counsel's failure to: (1) call the Wilkins brothers to offer exculpatory testimony; (2) call Loretta and Evelyn Cade to offer alibi evidence; and (3) move to sever Coleman's trial from co-defendant Joseph Barnes's trial. Further, Coleman claims that "the state court's resolution of his newly discovered evidence claim of actual innocence constituted an unreasonable application of controlling federal law." Last, Coleman requests an evidentiary hearing pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(2). On July 2, 2008, the Executive Committee for the Northern District of Illinois reassigned Coleman's habeas petition to this Court pursuant to Rule 13 of the Internal Operating Procedures. (R. 56-1.)

LEGAL STANDARDS

I. Habeas Standard

Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), habeas relief cannot be granted unless the state court's decision was contrary to, or an unreasonable application of federal law clearly established by the Supreme Court. See Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 402-03, 120 S.Ct. 1495, 146 L.Ed.2d 389 (2000); Calloway v. Montgomery, 512 F.3d 940, 943 (7th Cir. 2008). In Williams, the Supreme Court explained that a state court's decision is "contrary to" clearly established Supreme Court law "if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by this Court on a question of law" or "if the ...


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