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Roy J. Clark v. Donald Gaetz

August 1, 2012

ROY J. CLARK, PETITIONER,
v.
DONALD GAETZ,*FN1 WARDEN, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge.

E-FILED

Thursday, 02 August, 2012 04:18:04 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

This matter is before the Court on the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (d/e 1) filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 by Petitioner Roy J. Clark. Petitioner is serving a combined 45-year sentence in the Menard Correctional Center for sexual assault and aggravated robbery. For the reasons discussed below, the Petition is DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

In the early morning hours of November 7, 2004, Betty Morgan walked home from Casino Starlite in Quincy, Illinois, after declining a ride from a friend. Morgan had consumed alcohol, but was not intoxicated. During the course of her walk, a silver van pulled up beside Morgan and the driver of the van asked her if she needed a ride. Morgan declined, and the van drove out of sight. Soon thereafter, a man in a dark coat approached Morgan. She recognized the man as the driver of the silver van. She heard a clicking noise and assumed the man had a gun, though the man never displayed a weapon. The man asked Morgan how much money she had. The man then put his hand on Morgan and guided her into a parking garage. Both parties entered the silver van, where the man proceeded to sexually assault Morgan. When the man finished, he told her she could go.

Fearing for her safety, Morgan left the scene and ducked between some houses. Belinda Abbey walked over to Morgan, who was crying. Abbey and Titus Johnson drove Morgan to a hospital, where DNA testing identified semen recovered from Morgan's vaginal swab as belonging to Petitioner.

In his defense, Petitioner testified that Morgan had agreed to engage in sexual intercourse in exchange for drugs. Petitioner alleged that, while driving the silver van, he asked Morgan if she needed a ride home, and she responded affirmatively. Morgan mentioned she used crack or cocaine, and Petitioner requested that Morgan step out of the van so he could call his drug dealer. Petitioner brought Morgan back into the parking garage to wait for the dealer to arrive. Morgan indicated she had no money, and both parties agreed to have sex in exchange for the drugs. They had sex and, when the dealer failed to show, Petitioner told Morgan to go home.

Petitioner was tried in the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, Adams County. The State called as witnesses Titus Johnson and James Parson. Relevant here, Johnson testified that he was incarcerated on multiple pending charges for selling drugs, though he noted the charges were unrelated to the instant case. Johnson further testified he had been driving around on the morning of November 7, 2004, to visit Abbey, the mother of his child. He also indicated he knew Petitioner. James Parson testified regarding Petitioner's possession of a BB gun. Parson also acknowledged that Petitioner's sister had secured a restraining order against him.

A jury found Petitioner guilty of sexual assault and aggravated robbery, and the trial court sentenced him to consecutive prison terms of 35 years and 10 years, respectively. Petitioner moved for a new trial in relevant part because the State failed to disclose information about James Parson. Specifically, the State failed to disclose that Parson holds an extensive criminal record, that Parson was operating as a confidential source for the State, and that Parson had purchased drugs from Johnson while Parson was operating as a confidential source under the name "Anthony White." The trial court denied Petitioner's motion, but acknowledged a discovery violation.

In a pro se motion for reduction of sentence, Petitioner alleged his trial counsel was ineffective. The court appointed David Farmer to represent Petitioner. Petitioner later filed a second motion for appointment of new counsel, citing a conflict of interest. Petitioner noted that David Farmer works in the Adams County Public Defender's office under Edward Downey, Petitioner's prior counsel. The motion was denied.

Petitioner appealed his conviction, claiming the trial court failed to conduct an adequate inquiry into his ineffective assistance of counsel claim; denied him his right to present a defense by prohibiting him from eliciting certain witness testimony; and erred in denying his motion for a new trial based on the State's discovery violations. The Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, affirmed the conviction and sentence. People v. Clark, No. 4-06-0116 (Ill. App. Ct. Nov. 20, 2007). Petitioner filed a petition for leave to appeal (PLA) with the Illinois Supreme Court, but the PLA was denied. People v. Clark, No. 105800 (Ill. Mar. 26, 2008).

Petitioner filed a pro se motion for post-conviction relief in the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, Adams County, alleging the trial court failed to conduct an adequate inquiry into his ineffective assistance of counsel claim; the State failed to disclose Parson's criminal record; the State knowingly presented Parson's perjured testimony; and appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise the issue that Parson was operating as a confidential source for the State. Petitioner's motion for post-conviction relief was denied. Def.'s Ex. H. Petitioner appealed, and the Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, affirmed. People v. Clark, No. 4-08-0927 (Ill. App. Ct. Dec. 7, 2009). Petitioner filed a PLA with the Illinois Supreme Court, but the PLA was denied. People v. Clark, No. 110053 (Ill. May 26, 2010).

Petitioner filed this Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, as amended by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

II. HABEAS CORPUS REVIEW

Petitions for Writ of Habeas Corpus are adjudicated pursuant to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). PL 104-132, April 24, 1996, 110 Stat. 1214. To petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, the petitioner must generally have "exhausted the remedies available in the courts of the State." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1)(A) (2006).

A habeas petitioner who has exhausted his state court remedies without properly asserting his federal claim at each level of state court review has procedurally defaulted that claim. A procedural default will bar federal habeas relief unless the petitioner can demonstrate both cause for and prejudice stemming from that default, or he can establish that the denial of relief will result in a miscarriage of justice.

Cause for a default is ordinarily established by showing that some type of external impediment prevented the petitioner from presenting his federal claim to the state courts.

Prejudice is established by showing that the violation of the petitioner's federal rights "worked to his actual and substantial disadvantage, infecting his entire ...


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