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Chatman v. Magana

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

August 6, 2014

LARRY CHATMAN (K66482), Petitioner,
v.
MICHAEL MAGANA, Warden, Stateville Correctional Center, [1] Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

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

BACKGROUND

Chatman 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); Ford v. Wilson, 747 F.3d 944, 947 (7th Cir. 2014). The Court therefore adopts the underlying facts as set forth by the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, in People v. Chatman, No. 1-10-2275 (1st Dist. Aug. 27, 2013) (unpublished), and People v. Chatman, No. 1-06-2990 (1st Dist. Jan. 27, 2009) (unpublished).

I. Factual Background

Two men shot and killed Anthony Redmond in the parking lot of the Spin Cycle Laundromat located at 4258 West Madison Street in Chicago, Illinois at approximately 12:15 p.m. on June 19, 2001. At trial, the State called Sonja Haggard, who was an eyewitness to the shooting. Haggard testified that she had traveled to West Madison Street by bus so that she could meet the father of her children and that after exiting the bus, she did not see her children's father. She then intended to cross the street to the laundromat to call him, but she saw two men standing outside the laundromat, who pulled guns from their waistbands and began shooting Redmond. While trying to run, Redmond fell to the ground. Haggard further testified that the larger of the two men ran over to Redmond and proceeded to shoot him multiple times. Haggard identified the larger gunman as Chatman both in court and in a police lineup. Although she was not able to identify the smaller gunman, Haggard testified that she was able to get a "good look" at Chatman's face during the shooting. She further testified that after shooting Redmond, the two men fled in a car.

Additional trial testimony revealed that Jacob Wilder was in the laundromat at the time of the shooting. At trial, Wilder testified that he saw Redmond running towards a car after he heard shouting coming from outside the laundromat. Wilder also stated that one of the gunmen was larger, and that the larger one shot Redmond multiple times after which Redmond fell to the ground. Although Wilder testified that he identified the larger gunman in an earlier lineup, he answered "no" when asked if he remembered whom he had identified.

Chicago Detective John Pellegrini also testified at trial. He stated that Wilder identified Chatman as one of the gunmen in a lineup on July 16, 2001. When asked who Wilder picked out, Detective Pellegrini answered "[o]ne of the shooters who shot the victim, and after the victim fell down, walked up to him and then continued shooting at the victim as he laid on the ground." At that time, the Circuit Court judge overruled defense counsel's hearsay objection.

Also at trial, Miriah Davidson, Chatman's former girlfriend and mother of his child, provided an alibi testifying that she was with Chatman the entire evening of July 18, 2001, and in the morning of June 19, 2001. Specifically, she testified that on June 19, 2001, they were at the Presidential Inn motel and that after they checked out, they went to her home where they cooked a meal and watched television. Davidson testified that Chatman left her home around 2:30 p.m.

The jury found Chatman guilty of first-degree murder after which his counsel filed a motion for a new trial. At the hearing on the motion for a new trial, Maurice Williamson testified that he was at the Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, which is near the Spin Cycle Laundromat, at the time of the shooting. Lawrence Williams also testified at the hearing on the motion for a new trial regarding the shooting. The State also called defense counsel, who testified that he did not contact Williams because there was nothing in the police reports indicating that he saw the faces of the offenders. The Circuit Court judge denied Chatman's motion for a new trial.

II. Procedural Background

After the jury found Chatman guilty of first-degree murder, the Circuit Court judge sentenced him to a term of 40 years imprisonment. On direct appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, Chatman argued that the trial court erred in allowing the prosecution to argue a motive theory, namely, that he shot Redmond in retaliation for an earlier shooting, without providing evidence that he knew of that earlier incident, and that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to this alleged error. On January 27, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court rejected Chatman's claim and affirmed the Circuit Court. The Illinois Appellate Court also denied Chatman's petition for rehearing on February 23, 2009. On May 28, 2009, the Supreme Court of Illinois denied Chatman's petition for leave to appeal ("PLA") in which Chatman brought this same claim.

On February 24, 2010, Chatman filed a postconviction petition pursuant to the Illinois Postconviction Hearing Act, 725 ILCS 5/122-1, et seq., in which he brought the following claims: (1) he is actually innocent; (2) trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to move to quash his arrest and suppress evidence; and (3) appellate counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to argue that (a) trial counsel failed to call Maurice Williamson and Lawrence Williams at trial to rebut eyewitness Haggard's testimony, (b) trial counsel failed to impeach Haggard with a prior inconsistent statement involving the reason for her presence in the laundromat's neighborhood and her prior drug use, (c) the trial court erred in admitting Detective Pellegrini's hearsay testimony about Wilder's lineup identification, and (d) the trial court erred in limiting Detective Pellgerini's cross-examination concerning the difference in size between Chatman and the other individuals in the lineup.

The Circuit Court dismissed Chatman's postconviction petition and later denied Chatman's motion to vacate that judgment. On appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, Chatman raised the following claims: (1) he was actually innocent; and (2) appellate counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to argue that (a) trial counsel failed to call Maurice Williamson and Lawrence Williams at trial to rebut eyewitness Haggard's testimony, (b) the trial court erred in admitting Detective Pellegrini's hearsay testimony about Wilder's lineup identification, and (c) the trial court erred in limiting Detective Pellgerini's cross-examination concerning the difference in size between Chatman and the other individuals in the lineup.

On August 27, 2013, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the Circuit Court's judgment denying postconviction relief, Chatman then raised the same claims in his PLA to the Supreme Court of Illinois that he raised to the Illinois Appellate Court. On January ...


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