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Hoyt Ray v. Randy Davis

November 21, 2012

HOYT RAY, PETITIONER,
v.
RANDY DAVIS, WARDEN, RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

I. Introduction

This matter comes before the Court on Magistrate Judge Frazier's Report and Recommendation ("the Report") recommending that the Court deny Ray's petition for writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 22). Ray filed timely objections to the Report (Doc. 23). Based on the following, the Court ADOPTS the Report in its entirety.

II. Background

Following the shooting of a pizza deliveryman in a motel hallway, Ray was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon. Ray testified on his own behalf at trial. His trial testimony was notably inconsistent with his prior statements and the testimony provided by the victim of the shooting, who positively identified Ray as the person who shot him. The jury convicted Ray, and a twenty-five-year sentence was imposed. Attorney Billy Hahs represented Ray before trial, during trial, and at sentencing, and Hahs also prepared and filed a motion seeking a new trial.

Attorney Janet Gandy-Fowler represented Ray on direct appeal, where Ray challenged his conviction by claiming that he was deprived of effective assistance of trial counsel due to Hahs's failure to (1) request a severance and (2) stipulate to Ray's prior felony conviction. Finding that Hahs's decisions were indicative of sound trial strategy, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the conviction. The court found that there was no reasonable probability that the outcome of the trial would have differed if Ray had received the assistance of a better lawyer.

Ray then filed a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, challenging the effective assistance of Hahs, his trial counsel. The court denied that petition.

Attorney John Delaney then represented Ray and filed an Amended Post-Conviction Petition, raising (1) Sixth Amendment effective assistance of counsel claims regarding both Hahs and Gandy-Fowler, (2) Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection claims, and (3) an Eighth Amendment excessive sentence claim. Ray's petition for post-conviction relief was denied following an evidentiary hearing.

Ray was then represented by attorney Nancy Vincent, who filed an appeal on the denial of the post-conviction proceedings, again challenging the effective assistance of trial counsel, but contending that the error was a failure to object to the prosecutor's closing argument and accompanying hand gesture. The Illinois Appellate Court rejected this argument. After Ray petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court for leave to appeal, raising discovery, due process, venue, substitution of judge, equal protection, prosecutorial misconduct, and ineffective assistance of counsel claims, the court denied the petition.

Ray filed this petition on February 12, 2010. As Judge Frazier concisely laid out in the Report, Ray's claims are as follows:

1. The prosecution failed to disclose evidence favorable to the defense

2. The prosecution knowingly presented false witness testimony at trial

3. Trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by:

a. Failing to call defense witnesses

b. Providing representation after he was fired

c. Participating in private judicial proceedings without Ray being present

d. Refusing to impeach a key prosecution witness

e. Refusing to file motions seeking a different venue and ...


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