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James v. Spiller

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

October 7, 2014

THOMAS R. JAMES, Petitioner,
v.
TOM SPILLER, Warden, Respondent.

OPINION

COLIN S. BRUCE, District Judge.

On April 1, 2014, Petitioner Thomas R. James filed a pro se Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (#1) under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner then filed Motions to Stay State Court Proceedings on May 2, 2014 (#8) and May 27, 2014 (#10). The Government filed an Answer and Response to Petitioner's Motion for Stay (#11) on June 10, 2014. On June 17, 2014, Petitioner filed a Reply (#13) and a Response to the Motion to Stay (#14). This court has carefully and thoroughly reviewed the arguments of the parties and the provided documentation. Following this careful consideration, Petitioner's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (#1) and Motions to Stay (#8, #10) are DENIED.

FACTS

Petitioner is currently incarcerated at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center in Pinckneyville, Illinois. Tom Spiller is the Center's warden. In September 2002, Petitioner was convicted of armed robbery in the Circuit Court of Vermilion County, Illinois, and sentenced to thirty-two years of imprisonment. This court denied Petitioner's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus stemming from that case. James v. Gaetz, No. 09-2094 (C.D. Ill. 2009).

In April 2004, Petitioner was convicted of armed robbery in the Circuit Court of Champaign County, Illinois, and sentenced to thirty years of imprisonment. This sentence was joined with his prior sentence. Petitioner appealed his conviction, arguing that: (1) he was denied a speedy trial because he was not brought to trial until 208 days after he had filed a demand under the intrastate detainer statute; and (2) his attorney's failure to seek dismissal on that ground constituted ineffective assistance of counsel. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed Petitioner's conviction. People v. James, No. 4-04-0500 (Ill.App.Ct. 2006). Petitioner then filed a Petition for Leave to Appeal, which the Illinois Supreme Court denied on September 27, 2006. People v. James, 857 N.E.2d 678, 678 (Ill. 2006).

Since his direct appeal was ineffective, Petitioner initiated a series of collateral attacks. For instance, Petitioner filed a Petition for Relief from Judgment on July 7, 2006, which the trial court dismissed on July 13, 2006. The Illinois Appellate Court dismissed Petitioner's appeal from that decision for lack of jurisdiction on April 24, 2008. People v. James, No. 4-06-0648 (Ill.App.Ct. 2008). The next motion that Petitioner filed was a Motion to Depart Downward on September 26, 2008. He then filed a barrage of other pro se pleadings in the state trial court.

Petitioner's present habeas claim arose from a 2013 filing. On January 2, 2013, Petitioner tried to file a Motion for Leave to File a Petition for Injunctive Relief with the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District. The Fourth District, finding that it lacked jurisdiction over the original action, transferred the case to the Illinois Supreme Court, which promptly denied Petitioner's motion. James v. People, No. M13161 (Ill. May 29, 2013). Petitioner then filed a Motion to Reconsider. The Illinois Supreme Court denied the motion. James v. People, No. M13161 (Ill. Sept. 26, 2013).

Instant Litigation

On April 1, 2014, Petitioner, as a person in state custody, filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus (#1) under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner asks this court to (1) vacate his Vermillion County and Champaign County convictions and (2) grant him per diem credit for time served from March 8, 2002. Petitioner asserts that that he was deprived of due process because the Illinois Appellate Court (1) did not assume original jurisdiction of his Petition for Injunctive Relief and (2) transferred the petition to the Illinois Supreme Court.

On May 2, 2014, Petitioner filed a Motion for Stay of State Court Proceedings (#8) under 28 U.S.C. § 2251. Petitioner requests that this court stay state court proceedings in Champaign County case No. 2002 CF 850 and Vermilion County case No. 2002 CF 141 retroactive to March 8, 2002, because a habeas corpus proceeding is pending before this court.

On May 27, 2014, Petitioner filed a second Motion to Stay (#10). In it, Petitioner additionally requests that, if this court grants a stay of state proceedings from March 8, 2002, the court also bar the Government from re-prosecuting the cases.

The Government filed an Answer and Affirmative Defenses (#11) on June 10, 2014. On June 17, 2014, Petitioner filed a Reply (#13) and a Response to Motion to Stay (#14).

ANALYSIS

Habeas ...


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