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United States of America Ex Rel. v. Nedra Chandler

November 19, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA EX REL.
HARRY MCDONALD, PETITIONER,
v.
NEDRA CHANDLER, WARDEN, DIXON CORRECTIONAL CENTER, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James B. Zagel

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Petitioner Harry McDonald ("McDonald" or "Petitioner") is incarcerated at Dixon Correctional Center in Dixon, Illinois and is identified as prisoner number K77375. In 1999, a jury in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois found McDonald guilty but mentally ill of four counts of first degree murder and one count of aggravated arson. See People v. McDonald, 769 N.E.2d 1008 (Ill.App.2002). McDonald received a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the first degree murder convictions and a consecutive sentence of thirty years in prison for the arson conviction. Id. at 1011. McDonald now petitions for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons set forth below, the petition for habeas corpus is denied.

1. BACKGROUND

In a petition for habeas corpus, findings of fact made by the state courts are presumed to be correct and may only be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Gonzales v. Mize, 565 F.3d 373, 380 (7th Cir. 2009); see also Daniels v. Knight, 476 F.3d 426, 434 (7th Cir. 2007). Petitioner failed to bring a claim pursuant to § 2254(e)(1). Therefore, I adopt the procedural history of the Illinois state courts.

a. Procedural History*fn1

Following his trial court conviction, McDonald filed a direct appeal asserting five claims:

(1) the jury's determination he was sane was against the manifest weight of the evidence. He also [contended] the trial court abused its discretion when it (2) denied his request to give his diaries to the jury during its deliberation; (3) limited his cross-examination of the State's expert, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Albert Stipes; (4) denied his request for second degree murder instructions; (5) denied his request for a non-IPI instruction recognizing the consequence of a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity; and (6) refused to allow him to argue last -- in a rebuttal closing argument -- the issue of his sanity.

People v. McDonald, 769 N.E.2d at 1011. On May 1, 2002, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed. See id.

On June 21, 2002 McDonald filed a pro se state post-conviction petition pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/122-1. People v. McDonald, 373 Ill.App.3d 876, 311 Ill.Dec. 932, 869 N.E.2d 945, 947

(Ill.App.2007). The petition was received by the Circuit Court clerk's office June 28, 2002. Id. In his state post-conviction petition, McDonald made eight claims:

(a) the trial court was biased against him and denied him a fair trial;

(b) the trial court relied on illegal evidence obtained from the State;

(c) the police engaged in coercion and stole money;

(d) the trial court improperly tried to compel ...


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