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United States ex rel. Quesada v. Atchison

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

September 18, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ex rel. JOSEPH QUESADA, Petitioner,
v.
MICHAEL P. ATCHISON, Respondent.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ROBERT W. GETTLEMAN, District Judge.

Petitioner Joseph Quesada has filed a pro se petition for habeas corpus relief pursuant to the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the reasons discussed below, the habeas petition is denied and the court declines to issue a certificate of appealability.

BACKGROUND

In 2005, petitioner, who was fourteen years old at the time of the offense, and his codefendant, Enrique Cueto, both street gang members, were convicted of the first degree murder of Oscar Ricardo, a member of a rival street gang, in a dual jury trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. Petitioner was sentenced to fifty years in prison.

Petitioner appealed to the state appellate court, arguing that the August 2005 amendment to the Illinois juvenile transfer statute (705 ILCS 405/5-805(3)) applied retroactively to his case. On December 26, 2007, the Illinois Appellate Court rejected this argument and affirmed petitioner's conviction and sentence. Petitioner then filed a petition for leave to appeal ("PLA") to the Illinois Supreme Court, raising the same retroactivity argument. On March 26, 2008, the court denied the PLA.

On October 3, 2008, petitioner filed a pro se post-conviction petition in the Circuit Court of Cook County, alleging that his direct appeal counsel was ineffective for failing to argue that the evidence used to convict him of first-degree murder was insufficient. Petitioner was appointed counsel, who filed a supplemental post-conviction petition, alleging that: (1) the prosecution violated petitioner's due process rights by knowingly presenting false testimony to the grand jury from a Chicago detective; (2) trial counsel was ineffective because he failed to challenge a defective indictment and preserve the issue for appeal; and (3) petitioner's direct appeal counsel was ineffective because he did not raise the due process or sufficiency of evidence claims. The trial court denied the post-conviction petition on September 10, 2010.

Petitioner appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court, raising the same three arguments presented in the supplemental post-conviction petition. On March 20, 2012, the state appellate court affirmed the trial court's denial of the post-conviction petition. Petitioner subsequently filed a PLA to the Illinois Supreme Court, arguing that: (1) the prosecution violated petitioner's due process rights by knowingly presenting false testimony to the grand jury, and (2) petitioner's direct appeal counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge the sufficiency of evidence. On September 26, 2012, the state supreme court denied the PLA.

On October 15, 2012, petitioner filed the instant petition for a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, raising four claims:

A: The evidence presented at trial was insufficient to convict petitioner of first degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt;
B: The prosecution knowingly presented the grand jury false testimony from a Chicago detective to procure an indictment;
C: Direct appeal counsel was ineffective for failing to argue that: (1) the evidence was insufficient to convict petitioner of first degree murder; (2) the prosecution knowingly presented the grand jury false testimony; and (3) trial counsel was ineffective for not challenging the indictment; and
D: Petitioner was denied his due process and equal protection rights because the Illinois Appellate Court failed to apply the amended Illinois juvenile transfer statute to his case retroactively.

LEGAL STANDARDS

I. Procedural ...


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