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Thomas v. Garnett

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

October 31, 2014

BRYAN J. THOMAS, Petitioner,
v.
JASON GARNETT, [1] Chief of Parole, Respondent.

OPINION

SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

In October 2013, Petitioner Bryan J. Thomas filed a Petition Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 for Writ of Habeas Corpus by a Person in State Custody (d/e 1). Petitioner argues that the state trial judge who sentenced him did not order a term of mandatory supervised release but that the Illinois Department of Corrections has added a three-year term of mandatory supervised release to Petitioner's sentence. Thereafter, the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District, directed the trial court to issue an amended sentencing order reflecting the three-year term of mandatory supervised release. Petitioner argues that the addition of the mandatory supervised release term increased his sentence without due process and in violation of double jeopardy.

The Court finds that an evidentiary hearing is not warranted. See Rule 8(a) of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts. Moreover, although Petitioner has not exhausted all of his available state court remedies, an application for writ of habeas corpus may be denied on the merits notwithstanding the failure to exhaust. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(2). For the reasons that follow, the Court finds that the Seventh Circuit's recent decision in Carroll v. Daugherty, 764 F.3d 786 (7th Cir. 2014) forecloses relief on Petitioner's claim. Therefore, the Petition is DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

In June 2004, a jury found Petitioner guilty of unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance in Adams County Circuit Court Case No. 04-CF-73. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to 20 years' imprisonment. The judgment made no mention of a term of mandatory supervised release. See Exhibit to Petition (d/e 1, p. 16).

Petitioner appealed, arguing that the State's case hinged on the testimony of an accomplice that was insufficient to support Petitioner's conviction, two of the jurors falsely stated during voir dire that they were unacquainted with Petitioner, and the trial court failed to make an adequate inquiry into Petitioner's pro se allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel. The appellate court affirmed. People v. Thomas, No. 4-04-0552 (Ill.App.Ct. April 7, 2006) (d/e 12-1). The Illinois Supreme Court denied Petitioner's petition for leave to appeal. People v. Thomas, No. 102645 (Ill. Sept. 27, 2006) (d/e 12-2).

At some point, Petitioner learned (presumably from the Illinois Department of Corrections) that he would have to serve a three-year term of mandatory supervised release following his 20-year sentence. See 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(d)(1) (West 2004) (providing a three-year term of supervised release for a Class X felony). In 2006, Petitioner filed a postconviction petition arguing, among other issues, that mandatory supervised release was unconstitutional. See Petition ¶ 11(a) (d/e 1). The trial court denied the petition. Id.

In April 2011, Petitioner filed a motion in the trial court asserting that the three-year term of mandatory supervised release should be vacated as void. See Petition ¶ 11(b) (d/e 1). Petitioner challenged the addition of three years of mandatory supervised release to Petitioner's term by the Illinois Department of Corrections because mandatory supervised release was not "issued" by any court. Id . In July 2013, the trial court denied the motion, and Petitioner appealed.

On appeal, Petitioner argued that the Illinois mandatory supervised release statute, 730 ILCS 5-8-1(d)(1), was unconstitutional because the statute automatically added a term of mandatory supervised release to judicially imposed sentences. See 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(d)(1) (West 2004) ("Except where a term of natural life is imposed, every sentence shall include as though written therein a term in addition to the term of imprisonment, " which, for those sentenced after February 1, 1978, is identified as a mandatory supervised release term). Petitioner also argued that the statute was contrary to Hill v. Wampler , 298 U.S. 460, 464 (1936), which held that "[t]he only sentence known to the law is the sentence or judgment entered upon the records of the court."

On February 14, 2013, the appellate court entered a summary order remanding the case with directions. People v. Thomas, No. 4-11-0871 (Ill.App. Feb. 14, 2013) (d/e 1, p. 18). The appellate court found that the mandatory supervised release statute could be interpreted in a way to preserve its constitutionality. People v. Thomas, No. 4-11-0871 (Ill.App. Feb. 14, 2013) (d/e 1, p. 20). Specifically, the court interpreted the statute "as requiring that the applicable term of [mandatory supervised release] actually be written in every sentence." Id . Therefore, the court remanded the case with directions to the trial court to issue an amended sentencing order reflecting the three-year term of mandatory supervised release. Id . The Illinois Supreme Court denied Petitioner's petition for leave to appeal. See People v. Thomas, No. 115789 (Ill. May 29, 2013) (d/e 1, p. 21).

On remand, the trial court amended the original sentencing order and mittimus by adding a three-year term of supervised release to be served by Petitioner upon his release from the Illinois Department of Corrections. See Exhibit to Petition (d/e 1, p. 22). Petitioner thereafter filed a Motion in Prohibition From Increasing the Sentence in Conjunction with the Appellate Court Mandate. Petition ¶ 11(c) (d/e 1); see also Exhibit to Petition (d/e 1, p. 23). Petitioner argued that the trial court should modify Petitioner's sentence to include three years of mandatory supervised by giving Petitioner a 17-year term of imprisonment plus three years of supervised release for a total of 20 years. Otherwise, according to Petitioner, the court was violating due process and penalizing Petitioner for successfully pursuing his right to appeal. See Exhibit to Petition (d/e 1, p. 24). The trial court denied Petitioner's motion. See Exhibit to Petition (d/1, p. 26). Petitioner appealed. That appeal remains pending.

On October 3, 2013, Petitioner filed the § 2254 petition at issue herein. Petitioner argues that the addition of the three-year term of mandatory supervised release following remand from the appellate court increased Petitioner's sentence without due process of law and in violation of double jeopardy. Petition ¶ 12 (d/e 1).

In April 2014, Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss as Unexhausted (d/e 12) because Petitioner failed to exhaust his state court remedies. Respondent noted that the appeal of the trial court's denial of Petitioner's Motion in Prohibition From Increasing the Sentence in Conjunction with the Appellate Court Mandate is still pending.

In August 2014, this Court directed the parties to file supplemental briefs in light of Carroll v. Daugherty, 764 F.3d 786 (7th Cir. 2014), which addressed and rejected the same basic issue raised by Petitioner in this case. Respondent filed a brief arguing that Carroll forecloses relief ...


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