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Young v. Robert

July 30, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge


Now before the Court is Petitioner, Robert Young's ("Young"), Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons set forth below, the Petition [#1] is DENIED.


Young was charged in McLean County with unlawful delivery of more than fifteen grams of cocaine. At Young's bench trial, the State introduced testimony from Carrie Anderson ("Anderson"), a cocaine distributer. Anderson testified that Young had been supplying her with cocaine once or twice per week from March 2005 until her arrest in September 2005. Whenever Anderson needed cocaine, she normally would call Young, and he would bring the cocaine to her residence in Bloomington.

In addition, the State introduced testimony from Mike Gray ("Gray"), a detective who bought cocaine from Anderson nine times while working undercover. Gray visited Anderson's residence on September 8, 2005, and asked to purchase an ounce of cocaine. Anderson testified that she placed several calls to Young that day for him to bring the cocaine to her house.

Anderson further testified that Young did not deliver the cocaine until September 10, 2005. That day, Anderson called Young several times to inquire when he was going to deliver the cocaine. She also received several calls from Detective Gray inquiring when she was going to receive it. At approximately 10:50 p.m. on September 10, Young arrived at Anderson's house with the cocaine, and Gray arrived at her house approximately ten minutes later. Anderson and Gray acknowledged each other, but they did not have a conversation. Gray testified that he recognized Young from local records and his driver's license photograph. Anderson testified that she left Gray in the living room while she and Young went upstairs where Young gave her the cocaine. Anderson weighed the cocaine in the basement and then asked Gray to drive around the block with her. While in the car, Anderson sold Gray an ounce of cocaine. Detective Gray and an officer surveilling the house corroborated Anderson's testimony.

In addition, the State presented phone records obtained from the phone company to further corroborate Anderson and Gray's testimony. For example, when Gray requested to buy cocaine from Anderson on September 8, 2005, she replied that she would "call her guy and see if it could be done." Shortly thereafter, Gray saw Anderson place a telephone call at 12:45 p.m. Anderson's telephone records confirm that Anderson called Young at 12:45 p.m. that day. Furthermore, Gray testified that he had several phone conversations with Anderson on September 10, 2005, in which Anderson referenced calling her "source" either before or after each conversation. Again, Anderson's telephone records revealed that Anderson called Young each time that Anderson indicated to Gray that she would call her source.

In his defense, Young presented the testimony of his twelve-year old son. Young's son testified that Young was with him at his youth football team party in Markham, Illinois from 3:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. on September 10, 2005. He further testified that he and his father drove straight home and watched television until he fell asleep. He did not state what time they arrived at home, although he stated that Markham is a one and a half to two-hour drive back to Bloomington. Young's son stated that his father was still home when he awoke at 1:00 a.m. During his testimony, Young introduced a football schedule showing that the party ended at 7:00 p.m.

After the trial court found Young guilty, Young sent the judge a letter complaining that his attorney failed to call an alibi witness, Thomas Ketchum ("Ketchum"), to testify. As a result, the judge questioned Young's counsel about the allegations. Counsel explained that he interviewed Ketchum to determine if Ketchum could provide an alibi, but that Ketchum did not have a clear recollection of Young's whereabouts during the relevant time period. Thus, counsel decided not to call Ketchum as a witness as part of his trial strategy. The trial court denied Young's motion and sentenced him to ten years of imprisonment.

On direct appeal to the appellate court, Young argued that his case should be remanded because the trial court did not make "sufficient inquiry into Mr. Young's pro se allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel under the Illinois Supreme Court's decision in [People v.] Krankel." (Ex. A1 at 2). In 2008, the state appellate court affirmed Young's conviction. In rejecting his Krankel argument, the court noted that Krankel requires the trial court to conduct an adequate inquiry into a pro se defendant's allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel by either one of the following three ways: (1) questioning the trial counsel; (2) questioning the defendant; (3) relying on its own knowledge of the trial counsel's performance in the trial. (Ex. B at 2). Because the trial court satisfied Krankel by questioning the trial counsel, the appellate court held that Young's claim was meritless.

In Young's petition for leave to appeal (PLA) to the Illinois Supreme Court, he raised additional arguments, including that he was deprived of his constitutional rights. Specifically, Young raised essentially the same arguments that he raises now in his federal habeas petition. First, Young argued that the State fabricated evidence and suborned perjury by Anderson and Gray. He further argued that the phone company fabricated phone records and the police fabricated police reports and testimony. Second, Young argued that he was denied of his Sixth Amendment rights because trial counsel was ineffective by failing to call Ketchum to testify at trial. The Illinois Supreme Court denied Young's PLA, and the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari on April 6, 2009. Young did not file a petition under Illinois's Post Conviction Hearing Act. Subsequently, Young filed a complaint for habeas corpus relief in state court. The court denied relief dismissing Young's constitutional claims as frivolous, and Young did not appeal.

Young now brings the present petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, alleging essentially that the State fabricated evidence and suborned perjury by Anderson and Gray denying him of a fair trial, and that trial counsel was ineffective by failing to call an alibi witness in violation of his Sixth Amendment rights. The petition is fully briefed, and this Order follows.


Before reaching the merits of a petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a district court must consider "whether the petitioner exhausted all available state remedies and whether the petitioner raised all [of] his federal claims during the course of the state proceedings." Farrell v. Lane, 939 F.2d 409, 410 (7th Cir. 1991) (quoting Henderson v. Thieret, 859 F.2d 492, 496 (7th Cir. 1988)). If the answer to either of these questions is "no," then the failure to exhaust state remedies or procedural default bars the petition. Id. In other words, if a petitioner fails to ...

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