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Johnson v. Gaetz

September 22, 2010

MAURICE JOHNSON, PETITIONER,
v.
DONALD GAETZ, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Elaine E. Bucklo United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Petitioner Maurice Johnson ("Johnson") has brought a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for a writ of habeas corpus. For the following reasons, Johnson's petition is denied.

I.

In 2003, following a jury trial, Johnson was convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to eighty years of imprisonment. On direct appeal, Johnson raised one claim - that the court erred in requiring him to wear an electronic stun belt during trial. The appellate court rejected Johnson's argument and affirmed his conviction and sentence. This same claim was presented to the Illinois Supreme Court in Johnson's petition for leave to appeal ("PLA"), but his PLA was denied.

On February 22, 2007, Johnson filed a pro se post-conviction petition, raising a litany of claims. But on March 28, 2007, the trial court dismissed the petition as frivolous and patently without merit. On appeal, Johnson's appointed counsel chose to pursue only one claim. She argued that Johnson was denied his constitutional right to a jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the community. Johnson also filed a motion requesting leave to file a pro se supplemental brief on appeal, but did not submit a brief with the motion. The anticipated brief would have raised a number of the same claims included in the underlying post-conviction petition, but not raised in Johnson's counseled brief. The State objected to the motion, arguing that Johnson was not entitled to hybrid representation and that he could not file a pro se brief while represented by counsel. The appellate court denied Johnson's motion, but did not provide a basis for that denial in its order. (Ex. P.)

Months later, the appellate court affirmed the post-conviction trial court's judgment, finding that Johnson's claim was not adequately supported by affidavits or other documentation. (Ex. Q.) Johnson filed a pro se PLA, which was denied. The PLA raised two claims, namely, that Johnson was denied his constitutional right to a jury drawn from a fair cross-section of the community, and the post-conviction trial court erred in employing the "sufficient facts" test rather than the "gist" test when summarily dismissing his post-conviction petition. (Ex. R.)

In his habeas petition, Johnson raises the following issues:

(1) petitioner was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt;

(2) petitioner's Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures was violated;

(3) petitioner's constitutional rights were violated when he was forced to wear an electric stun belt during trial;

(4) trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the requirement that petitioner wear an electric stun belt during trial;

(5) the State violated Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by failing to disclose evidence concerning an informant who provided information used to arrest petitioner;

(6) petitioner's Confrontation Clause rights were violated when he was prevented from cross-examining a detective about information he received from an informant;

(7) the prosecuting attorney mis-stated material facts in closing argument in an attempt to arouse the ...


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