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United States ex rel Quintana v. Chandler

April 26, 2010

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



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Petitioner Carmelo Quintana's ("Quintana") petition for habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is before this Court. For the following reasons, the motion is DENIED in part and STAYED in part pending an evidentiary hearing.

BACKGROUND

I. Direct Proceedings

On February 19, 1999, Carmelo Quintana and Jorge Navarrete ("Navarrete") were charged with five counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, four counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of criminal sexual assault, and two counts of kidnapping. The defendants were simultaneously but separately tried at a bench trial and found guilty of aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping.

The victim testified that, on January 21, 1999, she was walking down a street in Chicago, Illinois, because snow and ice obstructed the sidewalks. A gold Ford Aerostar van drove alongside her and someone pulled her inside the vehicle. Dagoberto Alvorado ("Alvorado") was driving, Navarrete occupied the middle seat, and Quintana sat in the rear seat. After the victim was pulled into the middle seat, Quintana held her from behind while Navarrete struck her with a beer bottle and told her what he wanted to do to her. Navarrete pulled off her pants and attempted to have sex with her, although he failed to fully achieve penetration. Quintana slapped her legs and buttocks and laughed. At some point, the victim tried to escape through the side door but was pulled back into the van. Navarrete told Quintana to watch her and make sure that she did not escape.

In order to have a better chance of fleeing, the victim suggested to defendants that she get on top of Navarrete. She then struck Navarrete and jumped out of the front passenger door, wearing only a shirt and a sock. A bystander offered her a coat and notified the authorities. The victim was taken to Holy Cross Hospital, where she was treated and released. As a result of leaping from a moving van, the victim had sprained her ankle and bruised her knees and ankles. She also sustained bruises and lacerations to her throat, face and jaw.

A written statement signed by Quintana upon his arrest was also admitted at trial. It read that, on the evening of the incident, Alvarado was driving Navarrete's van, with Quintana and Navarrete as passengers. They picked up the victim because she had asked for a ride. At some point, Navarrete pulled the victim into the backseat and attempted to pull off her pants. When the victim struggled and said "no," he slapped her face. Navarrete had sex with the victim as Quintana watched. After a two minute break, Navarrete grabbed the victim a second time and she began screaming. Quintana covered her mouth. Quintana also grabbed the victim when she first tried to escape. The victim repositioned herself on top of Navarrete, at which point Quintana slapped her on the buttocks. The victim then jumped out the front passenger door. Navarrete placed her clothes in a plastic bag and gave it to Quintana, who threw it in a garbage can in an alley.

At trial, Quintana testified that he did not have sex with, hit, restrain, or laugh at the victim. He stated that Navarrete, not Alvorado, was the driver that night. Quintana testified that the victim, after talking with Alvorado and drinking some beer, agreed to have sex with Alvorado for twenty dollars. Alvorado and the victim proceeded to have sex in the middle seat. After an argument broke out, the victim jumped out of the front passenger side door. When Navarrete asked why she had left, Alvorado explained that she had wanted more money, but he had refused. Quintana did not know what happened to the victim's clothes, nor did he know anything about Alvorado's whereabouts after the incident.

Quintana's trial counsel did not elicit any testimony about prior consistent statements made by Quintana. Before admitting to the story reflected in the written statement, Quintana had initially maintained that the victim had agreed to have sex with the defendants for twenty dollars each. The trial judge barred the defense from cross-examining the victim about a prior arrest for soliciting a ride and agreeing to perform a sex act for twenty dollars, pursuant to the Illinois rape-shield statute. Quintana was found guilty on all counts. He was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment on the aggravated criminal sexual assault charge and 6 years for aggravated kidnapping, to run consecutively.

Quintana and Navarrete appealed. On June 19, 2002, the Illinois Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court. People v. Quintana, 772 N.E.2d 833, 847 (Ill. App. Ct. 2002). It further denied Quintana's petition for a rehearing on August 5, 2002. Quintana filed a petition for leave to appeal ("PLA") before the Illinois Supreme Court. The court denied his PLA on December 5, 2002.

II. Post-conviction Proceedings

On May 28, 2003, Quintana filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/122-1. He submitted an affidavit alleging that the State had offered him a four-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, but that his counsel had not recommended it or informed him that he could get a harsher sentence. The court appointed Quintana an attorney, who filed a supplemental petition alleging that (1) Quintana's trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance at his plea proceedings; (2) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a claim under the Vienna Convention; (3) petitioner was denied his constitutional right to confrontation when the trial court restricted cross-examination of the victim, and trial and appellate counsel were ineffective for failing to preserve or raise this issue; and (4) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to impeach the victim with evidence of her prior arrests, elicit Quintana's prior consistent statements, and correct Quintana's age in his presentence investigation report. Quintana's attorney also filed a petition for relief from judgment pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/1-1401, alleging violations of the Vienna Convention. Attached to the supplemental petition were affidavits from Quintana and his trial counsel corroborating his allegations.

On July 25, 2006, the circuit court dismissed Quintana's petitions. Quintana appealed, pressing the following issues: (1) trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance at the plea proceedings; (2) Quintana's right of confrontation was violated when the trial court restricted cross-examination of the victim, and trial and appellate counsel were ineffective for failing to preserve or raise this issue; and (3) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to impeach the victim with evidence of prior arrests; and (4) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to elicit Quintana's prior consistent statements. The state appellate court affirmed the dismissal of Quintana's petitions. People v. Quintana, No. 1-06-2281, Order (Ill. App. Ct. Feb. 13, 2008.)

Quintana filed a PLA alleging: (1) trial counsel provided ineffective assistance at the plea proceedings; (2) petitioner was denied his right of confrontation when the trial court restricted cross-examination of the victim; (3) appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise a confrontation claim on appeal; (4) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to make an adequate record for review of the confrontation claim. The Illinois Supreme Court denied Quintana's PLA on May 29, 2008. On October 2, ...


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