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Wade v. Rednour

United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois

March 11, 2014

AMANUEL WADE, Petitioner,
v.
DAVE REDNOUR, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

DAVID R. HERNDON, CHIEF JUDGE U.S. DISTRICT COURT

Now pending before the Court is the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (Doc. 1) filed by Petitioner, Amanuel Wade, on May 10, 2011. For the reasons set forth below, the petition is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

Petitioner, Amanuel Wade, pled guilty to one count of first degree murder on June 15, 2001, in the Circuit Court of Madison County, Illinois in connection with the death of Ronald Hempel, a cab driver shot nine times during the course of a robbery (Doc. 24-8, p. 25). In exchange for petitioner’s guilty plea and on the condition that he testify against his co-defendants, the State of Illinois (the State) agreed to dismiss the remaining charges, one of which was punishable by death, and to recommend a sentence between twenty and sixty years of imprisonment. Id. at 26. The State’s factual basis for the plea included petitioner’s written and videotaped confessions that he had shot the cab driver. Id. Further, petitioner’s girlfriend, Veronica Mitchell, told police officers that she called the cab driver to petitioner’s location on the night of the incident. Id. On May 28, 2002, the Madison County Court sentenced petitioner to thirty-two years imprisonment (Doc. 24-7, p. 4).

Petitioner filed a pro se motion to withdraw his guilty plea and vacate his sentence less than a month later, on June 18, 2002 (Doc. 24-7, p. 4). On August 10, 2004, appointed counsel filed an amended motion wherein he argued that plea counsel was ineffective for: (1) failing to share discovery with petitioner; (2) failing to prepare petitioner for a suppression hearing; (3) taking petitioner to court on short notice and telling him to plead guilty or face the death penalty; (4) promising petitioner that if he pled guilty, he would be sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment; (5) failing to investigate witnesses; and (6) failing to inform petitioner that if he pled guilty he could not appeal the denial of his motion to suppress. Id. The trial court found that petitioner’s guilty plea was voluntarily made and denied the motion to withdraw. Id.

Petitioner appealed the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea on the sole basis that the trial court should have sua sponte ordered a hearing pursuant to People v. Krankel, 464 N.E.2d 1045 (Ill. 1984), when petitioner, after pleading guilty but before sentencing, sent a letter to the trial court complaining about plea counsel’s representation (Doc. 24-7, p. 6). The Illinois Appellate Court found that, after sending his letter to the court, petitioner continued to meet his obligations under the plea agreement by testifying, under oath, that he shot the cab driver.[1] Id. The court found that petitioner’s letter did not necessitate a Krankel hearing and, even if it did, he had received every opportunity that he would have had at a Krankel hearing at the hearing on his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Id. at 7-8. On May 21, 2007, the court affirmed petitioner’s conviction and sentence. Id. at 11. Petitioner’s subsequent petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court was denied on September 26, 2007. Id. at 13. On February 19, 2008, the United States Supreme Court denied petitioner’s petition for certiorari. Id. at 26.

Petitioner filed a pro se post-conviction petition on August 18, 2008 alleging that plea counsel and appointed counsel, who represented him on his motion to withdraw his guilty plea, were ineffective (Doc. 24-2, p. 54). Petitioner alleged that plea counsel was ineffective for: (1) failing to file a motion to quash the indictment because a detective supposedly perjured himself before the grand jury; (2) failing to uncover inconsistencies in a witness’s statement against petitioner; (3) failing to interview or investigate a co-defendant and discover that he had allegedly confessed to the crime prior to implicating petitioner; (4) failing to investigate or interview another co-defendant about his contention that petitioner and others had previously robbed a cab driver in a similar manner; (5) failing to investigate or interview Leroy Lucas, Sr. about petitioner’s statement in his confession that he called Veronica Mitchell from Lucas’s home phone; and (6) violating petitioner’s attorney-client privilege by testifying at the hearing on his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Id. at 200-24.

Petitioner further argued that his appointed counsel on his motion to withdraw was ineffective for: (7) failing to object to plea counsel’s alleged breach of attorney-client privilege and (8) failing to preserve petitioner’s issues with plea counsel for direct review. Id. at 224-26. Petitioner also asserted that (9) his Due Process rights were violated when the State called Detective Rodi, who knowingly presented perjured testimony, as a witness before the grand jury. Id. at 226-29. Petitioner also argued that (10) appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise arguments (8) and (9) on direct appeal. Id. at 229. Finally, he argued that (11) his due process rights were violated when the trial court failed to admonish him that he would be required to serve 100% of his sentence. Id. at 229-30.

On November 13, 2008, the post-conviction court dismissed petitioner’s petition (Doc. 24-3, p. 31-33. Petitioner appealed, and his appointed appellate counsel moved to withdraw pursuant to Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551 (1987) (Doc. 24-8, p. 1). In his motion to withdraw, appellate counsel addressed the following potential claims as frivolous: (1) plea counsel was ineffective for failing to move to quash the indictment based upon allegedly perjured testimony; (2) plea counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate witness statements; (3) plea counsel was ineffective for violating Petitioner’s attorney-client privilege at the hearing on his motion to withdraw his guilty plea; and (4) petitioner’s due process rights were violated when the court failed to admonish him that he would be required to serve 100% of his sentence. Id. at 8-10. In his response to counsel’s Finley motion, petitioner addressed only his claim that plea counsel was ineffective for failing to move to quash the indictment. Id. at 14-16. On direct review, the Illinois Appellate Court found that petitioner failed to establish prejudice pursuant to Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), as he testified, under oath, on three different occasions that he shot the cab driver in the head. Id. at 29. The court further noted that petitioner had not claimed his innocence or presented a plausible defense. Id. The court granted appointed counsel’s motion to withdraw and affirmed the judgment dismissing petitioner’s post-conviction petition on May 24, 2010. Id. at 30. The Illinois Supreme Court subsequently denied petitioner’s appeal.

Plaintiff filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus before this Court on May 10, 2011. Petitioner raises two grounds for relief:

1. Plea counsel was ineffective for:

a. failing to investigate Velma Coleman, Brenda K. Wade, Angela S. Singleton, Sierra S. Morgan, Hillary J. Harris, Sharon R. Merrifield, Abdella Coleman, and Sirr Coleman as potential alibi witnesses (Claim 1A);
b. failing to communicate with petitioner and show him ...

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