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Singleton v. Yurkovich

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

June 24, 2013

JAMES SINGLETON, Petitioner,
v.
JOSEPH YURKOVICH, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge.

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

BACKGROUND

On May 24, 2007, Singleton pled guilty to aggravated battery of a police officer and was sentenced to four years in prison. The aggravated battery and the plea both occurred while Singleton was in pre-trial detention on a murder charge. Singleton did not appeal his conviction for aggravated battery. In January 16, 2008, Singleton pled guilty to first-degree murder in Illinois State court. In 2008, Singleton was sentenced to a twenty-six year prison term for the murder charge, to be served consecutively to his four year sentence for aggravated battery of a police officer.

On August 3, 2007, Singleton filed a state habeas petition relating to his aggravated battery conviction, which was denied on October 2, 2007. On June 16, 2010, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's denial of the habeas petition. Singleton did not file a petition for leave to appeal (PLA) in the Illinois Supreme Court. On March 23, 2010, Singleton filed a post-conviction petition pursuant to the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act, which was denied on April 6, 2010. On July 15, 2011, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the denial of the post-conviction petition. Singleton then filed a PLA in the Illinois Supreme Court, which was denied on January 25, 2012.

On May 15, 2012, Singleton filed a habeas petition relating to his murder conviction in case number 12 C 3745, and on December 11, 2012, this court granted Respondent's motion to dismiss Singleton's habeas petition relating to his murder conviction since the petition was untimely. On November 19, 2012, Singleton filed the instant Petition challenging his conviction relating to his aggravated battery. Respondent has filed an answer to the instant Petition.

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

Singleton seeks in the instant Petition to challenge his May 24, 2007 conviction for aggravated battery of a police officer. (Pet. 1). Singleton argues that his constitutional rights were violated because his sentence for murder was not set to run concurrently with his sentence for aggravated battery of a police officer.

I. Plea Agreement

Singleton contends that he entered into a plea agreement in his aggravated battery case (Battery Plea Agreement) that precluded a consecutive sentence in his murder case. Singleton asks as relief in this Petition for "[e]nforcement of his guilty plea" and "enforcement of [his] plea bargain" in his aggravated battery case. (Pet. 6-7). Although Singleton does not explain the argument underlying his Petition, based on his state court filings, it appears that Singleton believes that the sentence imposed on the murder conviction cannot run consecutively to the sentence imposed on the aggravated battery conviction because the Battery Plea Agreement "contained no stipulation as to [his] conviction being able to be used for consecutive sentencing purposes...." (R Ex. G 1). However, Singleton has not cited any precedent that ...


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