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Paul Regains v. Bradley J. Robert

June 27, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Blanche M. Manning United States District Court Judge


Petitioner Paul Regain's pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is before the court. For the following reasons, the petition is denied.

I. Background

A. Prior Conviction

Mr. Regains was convicted in Illinois in 1988 of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated criminal sexual assault. After unsuccessfully pursuing a direct appeal and state post-conviction relief, he filed a federal habeas corpus petition in 1994 while serving a mandatory term of supervised release. This court denied the petition and the Seventh Circuit affirmed. Regains v. Snyder, 2000 WL 1090639, 234 F.3d 1273 (7th Cir. Aug. 4, 2000) (unpublished order).

B. Current Conviction

Mr. Regains is presently before this court for a second time following a conviction for failure to register as a sex offender. This brush with the law arose from an incident on October 30, 2007, at an Olive Garden restaurant. In response to an anonymous tip that a man might be providing alcohol to a minor, Lansing police officer Todd Kulacz was dispatched to the Olive Garden. When he arrived, Officer Kulacz and Mr. Regains spoke. Officer Kulacz then checked an electronic database and discovered that Mr. Regain was a registered sex offender who had failed to register. Based on this information, Officer Kulacz arrested Mr. Regains and transferred him to the Chicago Police Department, who determined that Mr. Regains had last registered as a sex offender in 2005.

C. Direct Proceedings

1. Trial Court

Mr. Regains was charged with two counts of failure to register, for the years 2006 and 2007. The state court appointed counsel, who filed a motion to quash Mr. Regains' arrest and suppress the resulting evidence. Following a hearing on the motion, the state trial court denied the motion.

Before Mr. Regain's trial started, Mr. Regains told the court that he wanted to proceed pro se and his lawyer represented, without opposition, that she had given Mr. Regains a copy of the indictment against him. The court then engaged in the following colloquy with Mr. Regains and his counsel:

THE COURT: Let's nail it down. We did talk about this on an earlier date but basically, what I'm telling you, you have the right to represent yourself if you want to. It's a constitutional right that you have. And you are charged with a class two felony, is that correct? [Petitioner's attorney]: That is correct.

THE COURT: And the range of sentence if you are sentenced to the penitentiary on that matter, it can be anywhere from three years to seven years with a two year mandatory supervised release period. And if you go and represent yourself, I can't be your attorney. In other words, you are held to the same standard as if you were an attorney yourself. That's the kind of decision you have to make. Like I say, I'm not going to be your attorney and help you out with the case because I can't be on one side or the other. Do you understand that? [Petitioner]: Yes sir.

THE COURT: You still want to represent yourself in this case? [Petitioner]: Yes, sir, I will.

THE COURT: Public Defender is given leave to withdraw.

Respondent Ex. C at J6-J7.

Mr. Regains then waived a jury, and his case proceeded to a bench trial. The State presented Officer Kulacz, who recounted the events at the Olive Garden leading to Mr. Regain's arrest. The State then called Chicago police officer Cleveland Hardy, who testified that, on September 26, 2005, he registered Mr. Regains as a sex offender in the City of Chicago. Officer Hardy also testified that Mr. Regains did not register as a sex offender in 2006 or 2007. Finally, the State presented a certified copy of Mr. Regain's underlying conviction for aggravated criminal sexual assault. Mr. Regains did not testify on his own behalf or present a defense. The trial court found that he was guilty, denied Mr. Regain's post-trial motions, and sentenced him to two concurrent terms of six years of imprisonment.

2. Illinois Appellate Court

Mr. Regains appealed his conviction. The appellate court appointed counsel, who argued that: (1) the trial court's admonishment about proceeding pro se did not comply with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 401(a); (2) the trial court improperly assessed a $200 State DNA I.D. system fee; and (3) the trial court improperly assessed a $50 court system fee. After the case had been fully briefed, Mr. Regains filed a pro se motion to amend his brief. The appellate court denied the motion, finding that Mr. Regains was represented by counsel and thus was not entitled to file a second set of pro se briefs. Mr. Regains nevertheless filed a pro se reply brief which, among other things, criticized his appointed appellate counsel. The state appellate court rejected the brief and advised Mr. Regains that if he wished to file a pro se brief and have the State Appellate Defender removed as counsel, he must file a separate motion requesting specific relief. Mr. Regains did not take any action and on May 13, 2010, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed his conviction.

3. Illinois Supreme Court

Mr. Regains filed a timely pro se petition for leave to appeal ("PLA") with the Illinois Supreme Court. It contains a table of contents with six points:

I. Judicial misconduct

II. Right to counsel

III. Speedy trial

IV. Appellate court used faulty information to establish their finding

V. Waiver under 401(c)

VI. Jeopardy

Respondent Ex. K.

In the PLA, Mr. Regains elaborated on these points. First, he asserted that the trial judge committed "judicial misconduct" and denied him his "right to be present at all critical stages of his trial," his right to due process, and his right to a speedy trial by "more than once" holding evidentiary hearings "in a deceptive manner" as part of a "conspiracy" with his defense attorney and the Assistant State's Attorney. Id. Second, he argued that prior to his ...

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