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Gay v. Pfister

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

May 22, 2013

ANTHONY GAY, Petitioner,
v.
RANDY PFISTER, Warden, Respondent.

ORDER

JAMES E. SHADID, Chief District Judge.

This matter is now before the Court on Petitioner, Anthony Gay's ("Gay"), Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons set forth below, the § 2254 Petition [1] is DENIED.

BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In 1994, Gay was convicted of robbery and sentenced to seven years' imprisonment. While incarcerated, he was charged in more than 12 separate cases of aggravated battery. The present habeas corpus addresses one of these cases, People v. Gay, No. 04-CF-24. Following a jury trial, Gay was convicted of two counts of aggravated battery in the Circuit Court for Livingston County, Illinois, after squirting Correctional Officers Francis Drnjevic and Dustin McGuire with a mixture of urine and feces using a toothpaste tube while incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center. He was sentenced to two concurrent eight year prison terms.

Gay pursued an appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, arguing that his conviction was obtained in violation of his right to a speedy trial. His conviction and sentence were affirmed, and his request for a Petition for Leave to Appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court was denied.

Gay initiated an attempt to collaterally attack his sentence and conviction through a post-conviction petition pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/122-1 in the Circuit Court of Livingston County. This petition raised four claims: (1) the State violated his Fifth Amendment due process right by delaying his indictment; (2) the trial court denied him a fair trial by refusing to provide IPI-Crim. 4th 24-25.09X; (3) the trial court erred by denying his motion to dismiss based on Illinois' speedy trial statute; and (4) his counsel on direct appeal was ineffective for failing to raise these claims. The trial court denied the post-conviction petition. On appeal, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed. His PLA to the Illinois Supreme Court was also denied.

Gay now brings this § 2254 petition, in which he raises essentially two claims: (1) the State's pre-indictment delay violated Due Process by circumventing his statutory speedy trial rights, and (2) his counsel on direct appeal was ineffective for failing to raise his speedy trial claim or challenge the trial court's refusal to provide IPI-Crim. 4th 24-25.09X. The State has filed is Answer to the § 2254 petition, and this Order follows.

DISCUSSION

Before reaching the merits of a petition for writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, a district court must consider "whether the petitioner exhausted all available state remedies and whether the petitioner raised all his federal claims during the course of the state proceedings." Farrell v. Lane , 939 F.2d 409, 410 (7th Cir. 1991), quoting Henderson v. Thieret , 859 F.2d 492, 496 (7th Cir. 1988). If the answer to either of these questions is "no, " then the failure to exhaust state remedies or procedural default bars the petition. Id . In other words, if a petitioner fails to give the state courts a full and fair opportunity to review his claims, then his petition must fail. Bocian v. Godinez , 101 F.3d 465, 468-69 (7th Cir. 1996).

Exhaustion of a federal claim occurs when it has been presented to the highest state court for a ruling on the merits or when it could not be brought in state court because a remedy no longer exists when the federal petition is filed. Id . In the present case, Respondent does not argue that Gay has failed to exhaust his state remedies.

Procedural default occurs when a claim could have been but was not presented to the state court and cannot, at the time the federal petition is filed, be presented to the state court. Resnover v. Pearson , 965 F.2d 1453, 1458 (7th Cir. 1992). This occurs in one of two ways. First, a procedural default may occur when a petitioner fails to pursue each appeal required by state law, Jenkins v. Gramley , 8 F.3d 505, 507-08 (7th Cir. 1993), or when he did not assert the claim raised in the federal habeas petition in the state court system. Resnover , 965 F.2d at 1458-59. The second way in which a petitioner may procedurally default a claim is when a state court disposes of the case on an independent and adequate state law ground, regardless of whether that ground is substantive or procedural. Coleman v. Thompson , 501 U.S. 722, 111 S.Ct. 2546, 2553-55 (1991).

With respect to claims that are not barred either for failure to exhaust or procedural default, federal courts must employ a strict analysis. A petition must be denied with respect to any claim previously adjudicated on the merits in a state court unless the decision of the state court:

(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 ...

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