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United States ex rel Peters v. Chandler

March 30, 2010

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL. ANTOINE PETERS, PETITIONER,
v.
NEDRA CHANDLER, WARDEN, DIXON CORRECTIONAL CENTER, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge David H. Coar

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Antoine Peters ("Peters" or "Petitioner") is currently serving a six-year sentence of imprisonment at Dixon Correctional Center due to his conviction for aggravated battery with a firearm. Presently before this Court is Peters's petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons stated below, Peters's petition is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

After a bench trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Peters was convicted of aggravated battery with a firearm and sentenced to six years' imprisonment. Upon his appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, Peters's state appellate defender moved to withdraw pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967). Peters then filed two pro se responses, arguing that:

(1) the statute under which he was convicted violated his constitutional right to due process by punishing aggravated battery with a firearm more severely than attempted murder, and (2) his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective because he failed to raise this claim at Peters's trial. The Illinois Appellate Court granted Peters's attorney's motion to withdraw and affirmed Peters's conviction and judgment. Peters did not file a petition for leave to appeal ("PLA") in the Illinois Supreme Court.

On April 25, 2007, Peters filed his first petition for post-conviction relief, which he later withdrew. Peters filed another petition for post-conviction relief on May 17, 2007, arguing that he was convicted on a defective indictment due to prosecutorial misconduct. Around the same time, on April 25, 2007 and May 17, 2007, Peters filed two motions to dismiss his indictment and a supplemental motion to dismiss his indictment. These motions elaborate upon the arguments raised in Peters's post-conviction petition. On May 31, 2007, the Circuit Court of Cook County issued an order denying Peters's motions to dismiss his indictment. Although the State claims that the trial court also dismissed Peters's post-conviction petition in this order, the order makes no mention of the disposition of Peters's post-conviction petition. Indeed, none of the materials submitted by the State indicate that the trial court ever directly ruled on Peters's post-conviction petition.

In any event, on August 15, 2007, Peters moved for leave to file a late notice of appeal regarding the purported dismissal of his post-conviction petition, and the Illinois Appellate Court granted Peters's motion. On September 20, 2007, Peters moved to withdraw his late notice of appeal, and that motion was granted on October 3, 2007. Peters never reinstated his post-conviction appeal or filed a petition for leave to appeal in the Illinois Supreme Court. Instead, on October 5, 2007, Peters moved for leave to file a petition for an original writ of mandamus in the Illinois Supreme Court. In that action, Peters sought to compel the trial court to consider his post-conviction petition and, specifically, his claim that he was convicted under an invalid statute. On November 20, 2007, the Illinois Supreme Court denied Peters leave to file his mandamus petition.

In January 2008, Peters filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), raising four claims:

(1) "Conviction obtained by knowing use of unconstitutional act"-that Peters was convicted under state laws (the 1992 Illinois Compiled Statutes, as amended) that had been previously declared unconstitutional by the trial court in a different case, violating his rights to due process and equal protection;

(2) "Indictment intentionally failing to state an offense"-that the State's attorney knowingly based Peters's indictment on the above-mentioned, invalid state laws, violating his rights to due process and equal protection;

(3) "Conviction obtained in violation of ex post facto"-that conviction under the 1992 statutes was an ex post facto violation; and

(4) "Conviction obtained in violation of equal protection"-that Peters's conviction violated his right to equal protection because no other defendants were convicted under the same invalid statutes.

(Hab. Pet., Dkt 1, ...


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