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United States ex rel Almond v. Chandler

September 29, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL. PAUL ALMOND, PETITIONER,
v.
NEDRA CHANDLER, WARDEN, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-Yeghiayan United States District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge

This matter is before the court on Petitioner Paul Almond's (Almond) petition for writ of habeas corpus (Petition). For the reasons stated below, we deny the Petition.

BACKGROUND

On June 11, 1993, a jury convicted Almond in Illinois state court of first degree murder, burglary, theft, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Almond was sentenced to concurrent terms of forty-four years for murder and seven years for burglary. The convictions for theft and possession of a stolen motor vehicle were merged with the burglary conviction. Almond appealed the conviction and on December 30, 1994, the state appellate court affirmed the conviction. Almond did not file a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

On May 21, 1996, Almond filed a pro se post-conviction petition and an Illinois state court dismissed the post-conviction petition as untimely. Almond appealed the dismissal and on June 30, 2004, an Illinois appellate court reversed and remanded the post-conviction petition. On May 5, 2005, the post-conviction petition was again dismissed. Almond appealed the dismissal and on October 26, 2007, a state appellate court affirmed the dismissal. Almond then filed a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, which was denied on September 24, 2008. On February 9, 2009, Almond filed the instant Petition. Almond alleges in his Petition:

(1) that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel did not allow Almond to testify about his coerced confession at his suppression hearing, (2) that he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his trial counsel did not subject the State's case to meaningful adversarial testing when counsel failed to challenge forensic and medical evidence, (3) that the affirmative defense of self-defense created an unconstitutional mandatory presumption, and (4) that Almond's confession was the result of police coercion.

LEGAL STANDARD

An individual in custody pursuant to state court judgment may seek a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which provides the following:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings 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). The decision made by a state court is deemed to be contrary to clearly established federal law "'if the state court applies a rule different from the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court] cases, or if it decides a case differently than [the Supreme Court has] done on a set of materially indistinguishable facts.'" Emerson v. Shaw, 575 F.3d 680, 684 (7th Cir. 2009)(quoting Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002)). The decision by a state court is deemed to involve an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law "'if the state court correctly identifies the governing legal principle from [Supreme Court] decisions but unreasonably applies it to the facts of the particular case.'" Emerson, 575 F.3d at 684 (quoting Bell, 535 U.S. at 694).

DISCUSSION

Respondent argues that most of Almond's habeas claims are procedurally defaulted. Respondent also argues that Almond has not asserted any ...


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