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United States ex rel. Williams v. Pfister

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

September 8, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ex rel. ALVIN WILLIAMS, K52063, Petitioner,
v.
RANDY PFISTER, Warden, Pontiac Correctional Center, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS M. DURKIN, District Judge.

Alvin Williams is serving a prison sentence of 45 years to life for first degree murder at the Pontiac Correctional Center in Pontiac, Illinois, where he is in the custody of Warden Randy Pfister. Williams seeks a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. R. 9; R. 16. The Warden has moved to dismiss the petition for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b), or in the alternative, because it is untimely under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d). R. 28. For the following reasons, the Warden's motion is granted, and Williams's petition is dismissed.

Background

Williams was convicted following a bench trial in Cook County on June 6, 2000, and sentenced on July 6, 2000. See R. 29-1 at 74; R. 29-4 at 7. On direct appeal, Williams's conviction was affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court, First District. R. 29-1 at 1-71. The Illinois Supreme Court denied his petition for leave to appeal on June 4, 2003. See People v. Williams, 792 N.E.2d 313 (Ill. June 4, 2003). On January 2, 2003, while his direct appeal was pending, Williams filed a postconviction petition with the Circuit Court of Cook County. R. 29-8 at 38. The court denied the petition, the Appellate Court affirmed the denial, R. 29-3 at 1-3, and the Supreme Court denied Williams's petition for leave to appeal on May 25, 2005. See People v. Williams, 833 N.E.2d 8 (table) (Ill. May 25, 2005).

On June 15, 2005, Williams filed a "Motion for Discovery, Production of Documents/Photos, etc." in the Cook County Circuit Court, R. 29-10 at 5, which was denied. The Appellate Court dismissed Williams's appeal of that denial for lack of jurisdiction on June 5, 2006. R. 29-3 at 28.

According to Williams, on February 8, 2006, he received additional evidence relevant to his case that his attorney had failed to disclose to him. R. 16 at 2, 4-5. Relying on this evidence, Williams filed an application for leave to file a successive postconviction petition on May 25, 2006-more than three months after he allegedly received the evidence. R. 29-12 at 9.

While his postconviction petition was pending, Williams filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in this Court on August 22, 2006. R. 1. Williams's petition did not include his allegation that he received additional evidence on February 8, 2006. Prior to the Illinois Attorney General entering an appearance on behalf of the Warden, the Court ordered Williams on October 23, 2006 to show cause why the petition should not be dismissed as untimely, since he filed it more than one year after May 25, 2005, when the Illinois Supreme Court denied his petition for leave to appeal. R. 11. Williams responded with a "Motion to Withdraw Petition or allow for Equitable Tolling." R. 12. The Court dismissed Williams's petition stating:

[T]he court finds that the petitioner has not provided a basis for equitable tolling. The court therefore finds that the petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be dismissed as time-barred.... The petitioner's motion to withdraw his federal habeas petition is granted.
For the foregoing reasons, the court summarily dismisses the petition for a writ of habeas corpus on preliminary review pursuant to Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases.

R. 14 at 2. The Court entered judgment against Williams. R. 15. Williams did not appeal that judgment.

While Williams's habeas petition was pending, the Cook County Circuit Court denied his petition for leave to file a postconviction petition on September 1, 2006. R. 29-18 at 3, 7. The Appellate Court affirmed the Circuit Court's decision on August 24, 2009. See People v. Williams, 914 N.E.2d 641 (Ill. 2009). The Supreme Court denied Williams's petition for leave to appeal on January 27, 2010. See People v. Williams, 924 N.E.2d 460 (table) (Ill. Jan. 27, 2010).

Almost six months later, on July 20, 2010, Williams filed a petition for relief from judgment pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-1401 in the Cook County Circuit Court. R. 29-18 at 14-15. Again, the court denied the petition, the Appellate Court affirmed, R. 29-3 at 63-64, and the Supreme Court denied Williams's petition for leave to appeal on May 30, 2012. R. 29-3 at 65.

One year after that, on May 30, 2013, Williams filed a motion in this Court requesting that the Court reinstate his habeas petition because his "previously unexhausted claims" are now "fully exhausted." R. 16 at 2. Williams contends that this Court "allowed [him] to voluntarily withdraw his petition, as it was a mixed petition with several of the claims pending in state court." Id. Williams argues that he is entitled to equitable tolling due the "extraordinary circumstances beyond [his] control... that all of the documentary evidence needed to support his claims could not have been obtained prior to February 8, 2006, through the exercise of due diligence, because ...


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