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United States ex rel. Smith v. Lemke

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

March 3, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel. KENNETH SMITH, Petitioner,
v.
MICHAEL LEMKE, Warden Stateville Correctional Center, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM ORDER AND OPINION

MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge.

Petitioner Kenneth Smith, a Stateville Correctional Center inmate, where Respondent Michael Lemke is Warden, now petitions for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons set forth below, we deny the petition.

BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In January of 2004 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Kenneth Smith entered a negotiated plea of guilty to one count of first-degree murder in exchange for a twenty-five-year term of imprisonment. (Resp. Ex. A at 2, People v. Smith, 365 Ill.App.3d 356, 357, 847 N.E.2d 865, 866 (1st Dist. 2006).) The facts underlying Mr. Smith's plea are as follows.[1]

A. Smith's Guilty Plea

In 2001, Mr. Smith was charged with first-degree murder for fatally stabbing his cousin, Will Vinable. (Pet. for Writ of Habeas Corpus (hereinafter "Petition") Ex. A at 4.) On January 12, 2004, Mr. Smith entered a plea of guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. (Resp. Ex. B at 1, People v. Smith, 2013 IL App (1st) 111906-U, 2013 WL 950520 (1st Dist.).) At the plea hearing, the court admonished Smith that he was charged with first-degree murder, which was "punishable from 20 to 60 years in the Illinois DOC and include[d] three years of mandatory supervised release (MSR)." (Resp. Ex. N at 113, Hr'g Tr., People v. Smith, (2004) (No. 01-CR-11391).) The court then asked Smith whether, knowing the nature of the charge and the possible penalties, he wished to enter a guilty plea. ( Id. ) Mr. Smith indicated that he wished to plead guilty. ( Id. ) After hearing the factual basis for the plea, the court accepted the plea and sentenced Mr. Smith to twenty-five years in prison, which included three years of mandatory supervised release. ( Id. at 127.)

B. Direct Appeal

Mr. Smith filed a pro se motion to withdraw his plea, which the trial court denied on March 15, 2004. (Resp. Ex. A at 2-3, People v. Smith, 365 Ill.App.3d 356, 357-58, 847 N.E.2d 865, 866-67 (1st Dist. 2006); Resp. Ex. B at 1.) Mr. Smith appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in allowing him to litigate the motion to vacate pro se, and on March 31, 2006 the appellate court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. (Resp. Ex. A at 5; Resp. Ex. B at 1; Resp. Ex. D, Brief and Argument for Defendant-Appellant at 8-18, People v. Smith (2005) (No. 01-CR-11391).) On remand, Mr. Smith filed a counseled motion to withdraw his plea, arguing that the trial court failed to admonish him properly regarding MSR. (Resp. Ex. B at 1.) The trial court ultimately denied Mr. Smith leave to withdraw his guilty plea. ( Id. at 2.)

Mr. Smith appealed again, raising two due process claims: (1) his plea was invalid because the trial court failed to adequately admonish him regarding MSR; and (2) the imposition of MSR constituted a breach of his plea agreement, thereby denying him the benefit of the bargain. (Pet. Ex. A at 7-14.) The appellate court rejected both claims on the merits. (Resp. Ex. B at 3.) Mr. Smith then re-raised both claims in a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, (Pet. Ex. C), which denied leave to appeal on May 29, 2013. (Resp. Ex. C at 25, Order of Leave to Appeal, People v. Smith, (2013) (No. 1-11-1906).)[2]

C. Federal Habeas Petition

After exhausting his state court remedies, Mr. Smith filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, raising the same due process claims that he litigated in state court. (Pet. at 5-6.)

STANDARD OF REVIEW

To obtain habeas relief, a petitioner must establish that the proceedings in state court resulted in a decision that was (1) "contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States" or that (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); see Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 363, 404-05, 120 S.Ct. 1495, 1519 (2000); Morgan v. Hardy, 662 F.3d 790, 797 (7th Cir. 2011). Determinations of factual issues made by a state court are presumed correct, and the petitioner bears the burden of rebutting this presumption with clear and convincing evidence. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); see also Sumner, 449 U.S. at 547, 101 S.Ct. at 769-70.

First, a state court's decision is contrary to clearly established Supreme Court precedent "if the state court arrives at a conclusion opposite to that reached by [the Supreme] Court on a question of law" or "if the state court confronts facts that are materially indistinguishable from a relevant Supreme Court precedent and arrives at a result opposite to [it]." Williams, 529 U.S. at 405, 120 ...


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