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Curtis Weekly v. Marcus Hardy

September 6, 2012

CURTIS WEEKLY, PETITIONER,
v.
MARCUS HARDY, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Petitioner Curtis Weekly's (Weekly) pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus (Petition) brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons stated below, the Petition is denied.

BACKGROUND

Weekly was convicted by a jury in Illinois state court of first-degree murder and was sentenced to seventy-five years in prison. Weekly appealed the conviction, and on November 3, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the conviction. Weekly filed a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court (PLA), which was denied on March 24, 2010.

On June 15, 2010, Weekly filed a post-conviction petition, and on June 24, 2010, the trial court dismissed the petition. Weekly appealed the dismissal and the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the trial court. Weekly then filed a PLA on his post-conviction appeal, which was denied in November 2011. Weekly subsequently filed the Petition in this action.

LEGAL STANDARD

An individual in custody pursuant to state court judgment may seek a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which provides the following:

An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim--(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding.

28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). The decision made by a state court is deemed to be contrary to clearly established federal law "'if the state court applies a rule different from the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court] cases, or if it decides a case differently than [the Supreme Court has] done on a set of materially indistinguishable facts.'"

Emerson v. Shaw, 575 F.3d 680, 684 (7th Cir. 2009)(quoting Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002)). The decision by a state court is deemed to involve an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law "'if the state court correctly identifies the governing legal principle from [Supreme Court] decisions but unreasonably applies it to the facts of the particular case.'" Emerson, 575 F.3d at 684 (quoting Bell, 535 U.S. at 694).

DISCUSSION

This court has liberally construed Weekly's pro se filings. See Perruquet v. Briley, 390 F.3d 505, 512 (7th Cir. 2004)(stating that "[a]s [the plaintiff] was without counsel in the district court, his habeas petition is entitled to a liberal construction"); Greer v. Board of Educ. of City of Chicago, Ill., 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001)(indicating that a court should "liberally construe the pleadings of individuals who proceed pro se"). Weekly asserts in the Petition: (1) that his sentence was arbitrary and capricious (Claim 1), (2) that there was insufficient evidence to prove Weekly guilty at trial (Claim 2), (3) that Weekly's trial counsel was ineffective in advising Weekly not to testify at trial (Claim 3), (4) that Weekly's trial counsel was ineffective for other reasons as well (Claim 4), and (5) that Weekly's appellate counsel was ineffective (Claim 5).

I. Claim 1

Respondent argues that Claim 1 is not a cognizable habeas claim and that Claim 1 is ...


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