United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ex rel. Shaun Bentley Lucas, Petitioner,
NEDRA CHANDLER, Warden, Dixon Correctional Center, Respondent.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HARRY D. LEINENWEBER, District Judge.
Before this Court is Shaun Bentley Lucas' (hereinafter, the "Petitioner" or "Lucas") Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons stated herein, the Petition is denied.
In April 1999, Lucas entered into a negotiated plea agreement in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, to one count of predatory criminal sexual assault stemming from a sexual relationship he had with a minor. Pursuant to that agreement, the trial court imposed a twelve-and-a-half year sentence. In addition, the Court admonished Lucas that he would also be subjected to three years of mandatory supervised release ("MSR"):
The nature of the charge, the age of the complainant, and your age, makes this a Class X felony under Illinois law. It's a minimum of 6 years to a maximum of 30 years in the state penitentiary, a nonprobational offense. After you serve the penitentiary sentence there's something called [MSR], it's commonly known as parole. And that would be for 3 years. That's the penalty of what could happen in terms of the maximum penalty.
ECF No. 1 at PageID #12-13 (emphasis added). Lucas acknowledges in his Petition that he received this admonishment. Id. at PageID #8 ("[The court] explained that 3 years of mandatory supervised release [MSR], commonly known as parole, could happen.").
Lucas later sought to withdraw his guilty plea on the grounds it was coerced. The trial court denied Lucas' petition to do so, and on November 20, 2000, the Illinois Court of Appeals rejected his arguments and affirmed his conviction and sentence. Lucas did not file a Petition for Leave to Appeal ("PLA") to the Illinois Supreme Court.
In November 1999, Lucas filed a postconviction petition pursuant to 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/122-1, et seq., in Illinois state court claiming that the statute establishing the sentencing range for his crime violated the Illinois Constitution's single-subject rule. The Illinois trial court dismissed that petition on February 15, 2000, and it appears that Lucas did not appeal that decision.
Ten years later, in March 2009, Petitioner filed another petition in Illinois state court, this time for relief from judgment pursuant to 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-1401. In that petition, he attacked his MSR term on several grounds, including: (1) the addition of the MSR term violated his due process rights; (2) the trial court's admonition regarding the MSR term was ambiguous; (3) the imposition of MSR constituted double jeopardy and a breach of contract law. The Illinois trial court denied that petition in May 2009, and Lucas appealed, again arguing that the addition of the three-year MSR term to his negotiated sentence violated due process. In May 2011, the Illinois appellate court affirmed the trial court's denial of relief from judgment.
Lucas then filed a PLA in the Illinois Supreme Court on in August 2011, again arguing that his sentence was vague, the MSR term violated his rights under the state and federal constitutions, and that the trial court's admonitions regarding MSR led him to believe he could earn up to a three year early release from prison. The Illinois Supreme Court denied Lucas' PLA on November 30, 2011.
Lucas then filed his habeas Petition in this Court on December 17, 2011. In it, he alleges three grounds for relief: (1) that he was not informed by the trial court that he would be subject to a three-year MSR term as part of his negotiated sentence; (2) that the MSR term is void because it was imposed by prison officials without a judicial hearing; and (3) that despite the state court rulings, he is entitled to the benefit of his plea bargain. Lucas' MSR term expired on January 20, 2012, just a month after he filed the present habeas Petition. Respondent answered the Petition on March 29, 2012. Lucas did not reply.
Respondent claims that Lucas' Petition must fail for three reasons. First, Respondent argues that Lucas' Petition is moot. Second, he claims that it is untimely. Third, he ...