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Johnnie Plummer v. Dave Rednour

September 1, 2011

JOHNNIE PLUMMER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DAVE REDNOUR, WARDEN, MENARD CORRECTIONAL CENTER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is Petitioner Johnnie Plummer's ("Plummer") Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons stated herein, the petition is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Johnnie Plummer, then a juvenile, was tried as an adult in Cook County Circuit Court and convicted of the first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and aggravated battery with a firearm in the death of Michael Engram and the shooting of three-year-old D'Andre Dyson. He moves in this Court for habeas relief on the ground that his confession, made when he was 15 years old, was involuntary. The following facts are taken from the trial court record and the Illinois Appellate Court's ruling affirming Plummer's conviction on direct appeal. People v. Plummer, 714 N.E.2d 63 (Ill. App. Ct. 1999).

A. Motion to Suppress

Prior to trial, Plummer filed a motion to quash his arrest and suppress his statements to police. At various hearings on the motions, the trial court heard the following testimony.

At 6:30 p.m. on August 18, 1991, Chicago Police Detective Michael Kill ("Kill") was at the scene of a homicide at 5817 S. Union Ave. in Chicago investigating the murder of Anthony Phillips. Kill saw Plummer near the scene, and Plummer provided Kill with information about the Phillips murder. Plummer and Phillips were members of the same street gang and had been together at a party shortly before Phillips was shot to death.

Hours later, at 3:30 a.m. on August 19, Kill was talking with two other witnesses near the scene of the Phillips homicide. Plummer walked by, and Kill asked him and the other witnesses to accompany him to the police station. Kill testified that because Plummer was a juvenile, he drove to Plummer's home to inform his mother that they were going to the station. There, Kill asked the woman who answered the door if she was Plummer's mother. She replied that she was, and Kill told the woman that Plummer had agreed to accompany him to the police station to assist in the Phillips investigation. (The woman turned out to be Plummer's aunt, with whom he was living.)

At the station, Plummer and the other two witnesses were placed in separate interview rooms, and each gave statements about the Phillips murder. According to police testimony, Plummer was not handcuffed, nor was he read his Miranda rights, as he was not a suspect. Detective Kill and Detective John Halloran ("Halloran") interviewed Plummer at about 6:00 a.m. Plummer gave them the name of the man he said shot Phillips, and the officers left the station to pick up the suspect. Halloran testified that he told Plummer and the other witnesses that they could go home, but they would have to return to the station to identify the suspect. Plummer and the other witnesses agreed to remain at the station.

That morning, Detective Stanley Turner ("Turner") got an anonymous telephone call telling him that a man named "Smokey" from 59th Street was responsible for the killing of Michael Engram ("Engram") earlier that month. Engram had been shot to death in a basement candy store at 60th and Morgan streets in Chicago. Turner learned that an individual named "Smokey" from 59th and Union streets, who turned out to be Plummer, was at the station assisting police with a different homicide investigation. Turner met with Plummer, advised him of his Miranda rights, and spoke with him for about 15 minutes. Plummer admitted his nickname was "Smokey," but denied having anything to do with the Engram killing. During the interview, Turner said, Plummer was not handcuffed and appeared relaxed. Turner testified that he did not know Plummer's age and did not attempt to contact his parents because Plummer was not in custody.

Later that day, on August 19 at 6:00 p.m., Detective Kill and Detective Kenneth Boudreau again spoke with Plummer about the Phillips murder. After asking Plummer and the other witnesses if they would remain in the station in case any suspects were found, the officers left the station. Kill testified that he did not know that Plummer's nickname was "Smokey" or that he was a suspect in the Engram murder. He denied treating Plummer in an abusive manner and said Plummer never asked to see a lawyer or his mother. He said Plummer had a good presence of mind and answered all his questions clearly.

At 7:00 p.m., Halloran returned to the police station with food for the witnesses. While he was talking to two other detectives, they told him they had an eyewitness to the Engram killing and requested that Plummer stand in a line-up. Halloran denied abusing Plummer and said that Plummer had no difficulty understanding him and did not ask to speak to anyone. At 8:30 p.m., Plummer stood in a line-up, and the witness identified him as Engram's killer.

Afterward, Plummer was interviewed by Detective Devon Anderson ("Anderson"), who advised him of his Miranda rights and that he could be tried as an adult for Engram's murder. After arresting Plummer, Anderson asked him if he wanted to call his mother. The detective then tried to reach her, but was unsuccessful. Then, after speaking with Plummer for 20 minutes, Anderson notified a youth officer and the felony review unit of the state's attorney's office.

At about 11:15 p.m., Youth Officer Frank McCall ("McCall"), Detective Anderson and Assistant State's Attorney Marback ("Marback") spoke with Plummer. McCall testified that he introduced himself as a youth officer and was present for all subsequent interviews. However, he acknowledged that he did not speak to Plummer about his background or offer to contact a parent for him. Marback testified that he explained that he was not Plummer's lawyer, advised him of his Miranda rights, and told him that he could be tried as an adult. After indicating that he understood his rights, Plummer confessed to the Engram murder and agreed to give a handwritten statement.

At 12:35 a.m. on August 20, Marback again advised Plummer of his rights and then wrote out Plummer's statement in his presence. Plummer made corrections to the statement, everyone present initialed the corrections, and then Plummer signed it. Anderson and McCall testified that Plummer appeared to understand their questions and his responses were appropriate. They testified that Plummer never indicated that he had been mistreated, struck, or coerced into giving a statement. Anderson denied taking Plummer's shoes and telling him that they matched prints found at the scene of the Engram murder. McCall testified that he did not ask Plummer if he wanted to speak with a family member because he had been told by another officer that Plummer's mother had been contacted. McCall testified that at the time of the interview in the Engram investigation, Plummer had 12 prior contacts with police. At 3:50 a.m. on August 20, Plummer gave Marbeck and Halloran a witness statement regarding the Phillips murder.

Plummer testified that between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. on August 18, 1991, two detectives took him to a police station where he was put in a small room and handcuffed to a ring in the wall. He said Detective Kill did not take him to his mother's house before bringing him to the station, and Plummer did not call his mother while he was at the station. About six hours later, he was taken to the scene of the Phillips homicide. Later, police brought him back to the station and gave him a hamburger. When he asked to go home or to see his mother or a lawyer, Kill laughed, hit him in the face, stomach, and side, and pulled his hair. Another detective came and took his shoes and claimed that the shoes matched the prints from the Phillips murder scene. Another (unnamed) officer told Plummer he would get 40 years in prison, where he would be raped.

Plummer said that he only gave a statement about the Phillips case because he was tired and scared, and he was told he could go home if he made a statement. On cross-examination, Plummer said that he wanted to cooperate in the Phillips investigation because they had been in the same gang. However, when they returned to the station from the crime scene, Kill and another officer accused him of murdering Phillips. Plummer testified that no one advised him of his rights until the prosecutor advised him of his rights prior to him giving his witness statement in the Phillips case. About a half a day after he gave that statement, Plummer said, Kill hit him repeatedly.

After giving the witness statement in the Phillips case, Plummer said he was put in a line-up and learned that he had been identified as a suspect in the Engram murder. Plummer did not recall police advising him of his rights before talking with him about the Engram case. He did admit, however, that the prosecutor advised him of his rights before he gave a written statement about the case. He said he only signed the written statement because he was tired and afraid. Plummer said that after he was taken to the juvenile temporary detention center, he told the doctor there that police had beaten him. However, he admitted there were no marks on his face in the photos taken of him during the line-up.

Plummer's mother, Jeanette, testified that no one came to her house to tell her that her son was being taken to the police station. She said that her son lived with his aunt upon the recommendation of a doctor who had treated him after he attempted suicide. Jeanette Plummer testified that she was unsure of the date, but thought that police had called her on August 20, 1991, between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. The officer asked if she was Plummer's mother, and, when she replied in the affirmative, told her that her son was being held on a murder charge. Plummer then got on the phone and told his mother that "they got me down here on a murder charge." The police officer told Plummer's mother there was no need for her to come to the police station, and she did not. The next day, she visited her son at the juvenile detention center and saw that his back and face were swollen and there were dark marks on his chest. Plummer told her he had been beaten by police. She admitted that the line-up photos did not show any injuries.

The trial court heard conflicting testimony from two mental health experts. Dr. Lawrence Heinrich ("Heinrich"), a clinical psychologist, testified for Plummer. Heinrich said he met with Plummer, performed tests, and reviewed prior medical records. He determined that Plummer suffered from schizo-affective disorder. In his opinion, stress and a prolonged interrogation would cause Plummer to say anything to escape the situation. Heinrich admitted that he did not speak with anyone who knew Plummer prior to his arrest except for his mother. He also admitted that Plummer lied at times. Heinrich was unaware of Plummer's ...


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