United States of America ex rel. MAURICE THOMAS, Petitioner,
DAVE REDNOUR, Warden, Menard Correctional Center, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ROBERT M. DOW, Jr., District Judge.
Petitioner Maurice Thomas is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois. Dave Rednour,  the warden of the facility, has custody of Petitioner. Thomas has filed a pro se writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons set forth below, Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus  is respectfully denied.
A. Factual Background
District court review of a habeas petition presumes all factual findings of the state court to be correct, absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Daniels v. Knight, 476 F.3d 426, 434 (7th Cir. 2007). Therefore, the Court adopts the following accounts from the Illinois Appellate Court's Order in People of the State of Illinois v. Thomas, No. 1-04-2044 ( Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2006).
On September 15, 1998, Shaun Garrett and Eugene Elem were involved in a game of dice with money in their hands on South Homan in Chicago. Petitioner Maurice Thomas and Marcell Stokes approached Garrett and Elem with drawn guns and robbed them of their money. Petitioner and Garrett exchanged words, and Petitioner shot Garrett. As Garrett ran away, Petitioner and Stokes shot at him. Garrett ran to a house at 1517 South Homan in Chicago. By the time the paramedics arrived at the home, Garrett was dead. Garrett died as a result of three gunshot wounds to the neck, the left buttock, and the back. Petitioner and Stokes were jointly indicted for first degree murder and attempt armed robbery of Shaun Garrett. Their trials were severed, and Petitioner was tried by a jury.
During the jury selection, the trial judge divided the venire into two large groups. The first large group consisted of the following 20 people: Francis, Staple, Urbina, Guzman, Banez, Shannon, Woo, Friberg, Katz, Farmer, Bickham, Olsen, Nero, Kaufman, Giannini, Westfall, Santos, Banez, Ringa, and Fadika. The trial judge posed questions to the entire group, and specifically engaged in a dialogue with Staple and Katz.
With respect to Ms. Staple, the trial judge specifically asked "[h]ave you or any member of your family or very close friend been victim of a crime." Venire members Brickham, Farmer, Friberg, Staple, Nero, Katz, and Fadika responded affirmatively to the trial judge's question. The following colloquy took place between the trial judge and Ms. Staple:
Ms. Staple: My brother was killed by, he was the victim, he was killed.
The Court: How long ago?
Ms. Staple: About 16 years ago.
The Court: Were you witness to this at all?
Ms. Staple: They tried to rob him and killed him.
The Court: Were you witness to this at all?
Ms. Staple: No, I wasn't a witness, but they did get somebody, I had to go to the police station for it.
The Court: Did you come to court and testify and -
Ms. Staple: No, I didn't have to come.
The Court: Would that affect your ability to be fair and impartial in this case at all?
Ms. Staple: I don't know. I don't know. It might. I think so.
The Court: Would you be able to put those feelings aside and judge the guilt or innocence of this defendant based on the evidence here?
Ms. Staple: I think I can do that.
Next, the trial court asked the venire members questions in panels of four. The trial judge first questioned venire members Francis, Staple, Urbina, and Guzman. During the trial judge's questioning, Ms. Staple stated the following: (1) she did not have any bias or prejudice against a person simply because they are charged with a crime; (2) there is nothing about this type of case that would prevent her from being fair and impartial; and (3) she understood that the defendant is presumed innocent, he does not have to offer any evidence in his own behalf, and he must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by the State; (4) she would not hold it against the defendant if he decides not to testify; (5) she would give the same weight to a police officer's testimony and a[n] ordinary citizen's testimony; (6) she would not at all hesitate in returning a verdict of guilty if the State proves the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (7) she would not at all hesitate in returning a verdict of not guilty if the State fails to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; and (8) she would follow the law as the trial judge states it to be in the instructions, regardless of what she personally thinks the law should be.
The trial judge also gave the attorneys an opportunity to question the venire members. Thomas' counsel questioned Ms. Staple about the murder of her brother, in which the following colloquy took place:
Q. Is there anything about that tragedy that happened in your family that you were victimized, is there anything about that that would carry over here if you sat in the -as juror in this case?
A. I'm not sure. I'm really not sure. Because I didn't know what the case was about. So I'm not sure.
Q. You heard the judge earlier when he read the charges against Maurice. The murder and attempt armed robbery charges?
Q. Those are similar to what actually happened to your ...