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Harris v. Harrington

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Urbana Division

April 1, 2014

ANTHONY HARRIS, Petitioner,
v.
RICK HARRINGTON, Warden, Respondent.

OPINION

COLIN S. BRUCE, District Judge.

On May 10, 2013, Petitioner, Anthony Harris, submitted a pro se Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (#1) to this court. On May 30, 2013, Petitioner paid the $5.00 filing fee and Petitioner's Petition Under § 2254 (#1) was therefore considered filed in this court. Petitioner also filed a Motion to Stay in Abeyance (#3). On December 20, 2013, Respondent filed his Answer (#10) to the Petition and the state court record (#11).

This court has carefully reviewed the arguments of the parties and the lengthy exhibits filed in this case. Following this careful and thorough review, Petitioner's Motion to Stay in Abeyance (#3) is DENIED, and Petitioner's Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (#1) is DENIED.

FACTS

In August 2007, Petitioner was found guilty following a jury trial of robbery and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault in the circuit court of Champaign County. In September 2007, Circuit Judge Thomas J. Difanis sentenced Petitioner to one consecutive term of 15 years for robbery and three consecutive 30-year terms for aggravated criminal sexual assault, for a total sentence of 105 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Petitioner appealed and raised two issues: (1) the trial court erred in failing to question the jurors during voir dire in compliance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 431(b) regarding the jurors' understanding of the four basic constitutional guarantees afforded criminal defendants at trial;[1] and (2) the court erred in allowing hearsay testimony at trial. The Appellate Court, Fourth District, rejected Petitioner's arguments and affirmed. People v. Harris, Case No. 4-07-0821 (February 3, 2009) (unpublished order). The Illinois Supreme Court denied Petitioner's petition for leave to appeal (PLA) but issued a supervisory order directing the appellate court to vacate its order and reconsider in light of People v. Glasper, 917 N.E.2d 401 (Ill. 2009). The appellate court concluded that Glasper did not change the result and again affirmed. People v. Harris, Case No. 4-07-0821 (July 10, 2010) (unpublished order).

In doing so, the appellate court set out the facts as follows:[2]

E.P. testified she was chaining her bicycle to a rack outside her college apartment on January 23, 2005, when defendant came up behind her, put his hands over her eyes, and placed what defendant told her was a gun against her back. Defendant asked her for money. However, E.P. told him she did not have any money with her. Defendant said she must have money in her apartment. She unlocked the door to her apartment, and they went into her bedroom. None of her roommates saw the two enter the apartment. E.P. showed defendant she did not have any money in her purse.
Defendant told her to get on the bed. E.P. laid facedown on the bed, with her legs on the floor. Defendant unbuttoned her jeans and pulled them down around her thighs. He attempted to insert his penis into her vagina, but it did not go in. Defendant ordered her to perform oral sex on him. After approximately 30 seconds of oral sex, defendant again touched her vagina. E.P. testified that she pleaded with defendant that she was a virgin. Defendant then inserted his penis into her vagina.
E.P testified she offered defendant her automatic teller machine (ATM) card and personal identification number (PIN) in hopes defendant would leave. She told defendant she had about $4, 000 in her bank account. Defendant took the ATM card and left. Later that day, defendant withdrew $400 from E.P.'s bank account using her ATM card.
E.P.'s testimony was corroborated by Nurse Guthrie, who testified E.P. exhibited tissue trauma in her vaginal area.
Detective Duane Maxey testified defendant initially denied robbing, having sex with, or even knowing E.P. However, at trial, defendant claimed he engaged in consensual sex with E.P. The parties stipulated defendant's DNA was found on E.P.'s jeans.
Defendant took the stand and testified. According to defendant's testimony, he knew E.P. and had spoken with her at campus bars. Defendant explained he had also previously been to her apartment. One night after the bars closed, he showed up at her apartment, and she let him in. They talked for a while in her bedroom, but nothing sexual took place.
On the day in question, defendant was driving around campus when he saw E.P. near her apartment. Defendant struck up a conversation with her while she chained up her bike. They talked for 5 to 10 minutes, and then defendant asked if they could go inside because he was cold. E.P. hesitated because her roommates were home. Defendant explained she did not want anyone to know she was involved with someone of his race. E.P. is Caucasian, and defendant is African-American. They went inside, and she took defendant into her bedroom.
According to defendant's testimony, they laid in bed together and talked about a number of subjects, including interracial dating. Defendant testified that he asked her if she had ever "done it" before, and she said no. Defendant explained they kissed and "fooled around" and then he asked E.P. if she wanted to have sex. Defendant suggested oral sex, and E.P. said she would try. However, defendant denied putting his fingers or penis in E.P.'s vagina.
Afterward, defendant told E.P. he needed rent money. E.P. said he could borrow some money and gave him her ATM card and PIN. Defendant testified he only withdrew the $400 he needed for rent. He explained he did not return E.P.'s card ...

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