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United States ex rel Massey v. Ramos

November 20, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL. KENNETH MASSEY, PETITIONER,
v.
ANTHONY RAMOS,*FN1 RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blanche M. Manning United States District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Petitioner Kenneth Massey's pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is before the court. For the following reasons, Massey's petition is denied.

I. Background

The court will presume that the state court's factual determinations are correct for the purposes of habeas review as Massey has not provided clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Todd v. Schomig, 283 F.3d 842, 846 (7th Cir. 2002). The court thus adopts the state court's recitation of the facts, and will briefly summarize the key facts which are relevant to Massey's § 2254 petition.

A. Procedural Posture

Following a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Massey was convicted of first degree murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with the death of Frank Evans and the shooting of Betty Jo Miller and William Manning. People v. Massey, No. 1-04-3095 (Ill. App. Mar. 9, 2006) (unpublished order). Massey was sentenced to consecutive twenty-eight-year and ten-year prison terms, respectively. Massey appealed, and the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed. Massey filed a petition for leave to appeal ("PLA") with the Illinois Supreme Court, contending that the trial court should have given an "addict instruction" since critical witnesses were drug addicts. The Illinois Supreme Court denied the PLA on May 24, 2006.

In October of 2006, Massey filed a pro se state post-conviction petition, which was summarily dismissed. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed, People v. Massey, No. 1-06-3665 (Ill. App. Sept. 24) (unpublished order). Massey filed a PLA, arguing that the State failed to prove that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that his appellate counsel from his direct appeal was ineffective because he did not raise this argument. On March 25, 2009, the Illinois Supreme Court denied Massey's PLA.

On April 22, 2009, Massey filed a federal habeas petition contending that:

(1) his due process rights were violated when:

(A) the trial court declined to instruct the jury regarding the credibility of addict witnesses,

(B) the trial court declined to instruct the jury regarding a lesser included offense during deliberations when the jury announced that it was deadlocked on the first degree murder charge, and instead instructed the jury to continue deliberating,

(C) he was denied the right to subpoena witnesses on his behalf, including Tyrese Murray;

(D) he was denied the right to confront witnesses when counsel stipulated to the medical examiner's testimony regarding Evan's autopsy;

(E) there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions because the State's witnesses were drug addicts and/or convicted felons; and

(F) the State knowingly and intentionally introduced false evidence (apparently, in connection with interviews of the victims who survived the shooting);

(2) his trial counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance by failing to:

(A) conduct a pre-trial interview of an exculpatory witness (Tyrese Murray);

(B) object to the introduction of false evidence (apparently, testimony that Massey believes was not credible); and

(C) move for the removal of a juror who was allegedly biased because she had family members who lived on the block where the shootings occurred; and

(3) his appellate counsel rendered constitutionally ineffective assistance by failing to argue prosecutorial misconduct and sufficiency of the evidence on direct appeal.

B. Facts

Between 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. on May 30, 1999, three shootings occurred at 413 North Harding Street in Chicago, Illinois. The three victims were Frank Evans, who was fatally shot in the head, and Betty Jo Miller and William Manning, who were wounded but survived. The jury ultimately found that Charles Fountaine was the shooter and Massey was his accomplice.

Massey did not testify at trial. The witnesses at trial included four occurrence witnesses: Betty Jo Miller, William Manning, Karen Whittington, and Michael Johnson. Massey contended at trial that he was misidentified as a participant in the shootings. To support this theory, he attempted to impeach the testimony of the State's ...


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