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Radcliff v. Anglin

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

January 31, 2014

LEE RADCLIFF (#R54366), Petitioner,
v.
KEITH ANGLIN, Warden, Danville Correctional Center, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

Before the Court is pro se Petitioner Lee Radcliff's amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). For the following reasons, the Court denies Radcliff's amended habeas petition and declines to certify any issues for appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).[1]

BACKGROUND

Radcliff does not present clear and convincing evidence challenging the statement of facts in the last state court decisions addressing his arguments on the merits, and thus the Court presumes those facts are correct for purposes of its habeas review. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Bolton v. Akpore, 730 F.3d 685, 687 (7th Cir. 2013). The Court therefore adopts the underlying facts as set forth by the Illinois Appellate Court in People v. Radcliff, No. 1-06-2724 (1st Dist. May 7, 2008) (unpublished); People v. Radcliff, No. 1-09-2111 (1st Dist. Feb. 8, 2011) (unpublished); and People v. Radcliff, No. 1-10-1745 (1st Dist. Sept. 18, 2012) (unpublished).

I. Factual Background

Following a bench trial in 2006, a Circuit Court of Cook County judge convicted Radcliff of three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm. The evidence at trial showed that on April 17, 2004, four deaf friends - Jovan Harris, Brandon Lee, Anthony Webster Teat, and Deandre Clark - were sitting on a stoop outside of Lee's home when Radcliff shot Harris, Lee, and Teat. The victims identified Radcliff in lineups during May and June 2004.

All four victims testified at Radcliff's criminal trial. Their combined testimony revealed that at the time of the shooting, they were outside Lee's residence and that the area was well-lighted. Harris testified that it was important that the lights were on so that they could see each others' faces when they were talking. Clark and Teat similarly testified. The four victims saw Radcliff, who was wearing a hood. They testified that Radcliff approached them and then began shooting. At that time, Harris, Lee, and Clark could see Radcliff's face. Radcliff shot Teat in his left shoulder and shot Harris in the leg and back. Also, Radcliff shot Lee in his right side and hip. Clark knocked the gun out of Radcliff's hand, after which Radcliff retrieved the gun and ran.

II. Procedural Background

Following his 2006 bench trial, the Cook County Circuit Court convicted Radcliff of three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm. The Circuit Court then sentenced Radcliff to three thirty-year terms of imprisonment for the aggravated battery counts and a fifteen-year term for the aggravated discharge count - to be served concurrently. Radcliff appealed, by counsel, to the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, arguing that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to move to suppress lineup identification evidence as suggestive. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed Radcliff's convictions, but vacated his sentence and remanded for resentencing because under 730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(a)(1), at least two terms of imprisonment were required to be served consecutively. Radcliff, by counsel, filed a petition for leave to appeal ("PLA") with the Supreme Court of Illinois raising one claim, namely, that consecutive sentencing under 730 ILCS 5/5-8-4(a) was unconstitutional. On September 24, 2008, the Supreme Court of Illinois denied Radcliff's PLA and on February 23, 2009, the United States Supreme Court denied Radcliff's petition for a writ of certiorari.

On remand, the Circuit Court judge re-sentenced Radcliff to three concurrent fifteen-year prison terms for the aggravated battery counts to be served consecutively to the fifteen-year term for aggravated discharge. On appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, Radcliff, who was represented by counsel, argued that there was a bona fide doubt as to Radcliff's fitness at the time of his original trial. Nevertheless, on February 8, 2011, the Illinois Appellate Court concluded that because it had remanded the matter for resentencing, the Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction to review Radcliff's fitness claim. On March 23, 2011, Radcliff filed a pro se PLA with the Supreme Court of Illinois arguing that the Illinois Appellate Court erred in its conclusion that the Circuit Court did not have jurisdiction to review his fitness claim. On May 25, 2011, the Supreme Court of Illinois denied Radcliff's pro se PLA. Radcliff did not seek a writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court from this denial.

In the meantime, on October 23, 2009, Radcliff filed a pro se post-conviction petition pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/122-1, et seq., in the Circuit Court of Cook County raising the following claims: (1) prosecutorial misconduct regarding two defense witnesses; (2) his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for (a) failing to request a continuance to locate two missing defense witnesses, (b) failing to request a fitness hearing, (c) failing to present mitigation evidence at sentencing, and (d) agreeing to continuances that violated his speedy trial rights; (3) trial counsel's cumulative errors denied him a fair trial; and (4) his appellate counsel was constitutionally ineffective for (a) failing to raise trial counsel's ineffective assistance of counsel in his direct appeal PLA and (b) failing to raise his post-conviction claims on direct appeal. On January 21, 2010, the Circuit Court dismissed Radcliff's post-conviction petition as frivolous and patently without merit. See 725 ILCS 5/122-2.1(a)(2).

Radcliff, by counsel, appealed the dismissal of his post-conviction petition arguing: (1) prosecutorial misconduct based on the intimidation of two defense witnesses; (2) trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to seek a continuance to find the two defense witnesses; (3) the Circuit Court erred when it dismissed Radcliff's post-conviction petition for failure to attach supporting affidavits; and (4) appellate counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to include the identification issue in his direct appeal PLA. On September 18, 2012, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the dismissal of Radcliff's post-conviction petition.

Thereafter, Radcliff filed a pro se post-conviction PLA with the Supreme Court of Illinois arguing: (1) the Circuit Court erred by failing to dismiss his post-conviction petition within ninety days as required by statute; (2) trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to seek a continuance to find two witnesses; (3) the Circuit Court erred when it dismissed Radcliff's post-conviction petition for failure to attach supporting affidavits; and (4) appellate counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to include the identification issue in his direct appeal PLA. On March 27, 2013, the Supreme Court of Illinois denied Radcliff's pro se PLA.

In July 2013, Radcliff submitted a petition for relief from judgment pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 alleging that the grand jury lacked probable cause or jurisdiction to indict him. After this Court received Radcliff's original habeas petition on July 22, 2013, the Court directed Radcliff to inform the Court whether he wanted (1) to drop his unexhausted claim relating to his petition for relief or (2) stay the case ...


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