United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTHEW F KENNELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
bench trial held in 2013, an Illinois judge convicted Louis
Hall of two counts of delivery of a controlled
substance-heroin-and sentenced him to two concurrent ten year
prison sentences. Hall has petitioned this Court for a writ
of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. For the
reasons stated below, the Court finds that Hall's claims
are procedurally defaulted and that he has not provided a
basis to excuse the defaults. The Court therefore denies
August 23, 2012, Chicago police officer William Murphy set up
surveillance of Hall after observing what he believed to be
narcotics transactions in an alley on Chicago's West
Side. Upon setting up surveillance in his patrol vehicle,
Murphy observed four men convene spontaneously in an alley
and form a line, with Hall standing at the front. Officer
Murphy then saw Hall walk toward a nearby doorway, retrieve
some items, and make hand-to-hand transactions with the men.
In particular, he observed each man hand to Hall an unknown
amount of money in exchange for a then-unidentified object.
Believing he had witnessed narcotics transactions, Murphy
radioed for backup. Two Chicago Police Department patrol cars
arrived on the scene, and officers detained Hall and the four
men. Upon a search, the officers discovered that each man
possessed an object (or several objects) that appeared to be
narcotics, each identically wrapped. An officer on the scene
testified that he overheard Hall confess to selling heroin
for someone named Tony.
August 24, 2012, the state filed criminal complaints in the
Circuit Court of Cook County, alleging four narcotics
delivery charges-two for an amount of heroin less than one
gram, and two for an amount of heroin more than one gram but
less than fifteen grams. On September 25, the state filed an
information in which it elected to charge only the two counts
involving larger quantities. The information also alleged
possession charges against two of the men in the
alley-Eduardo Delbosque and Pedro Rivera-for possession of
quantities of heroin just over one gram.
appeared at a preliminary hearing on September 20, 2012,
during which a Chicago Police Department officer-Officer
Gutkowski-testified to the events leading up to Hall's
arrest. Gutkowski had been in communication with Murphy
during his surveillance of Hall and was one of the officers
who moved in to arrest the suspects. After hearing
Gutkowski's testimony, the presiding judge found that
there was probable cause on the two charges Hall faced.
See Pet. at 42. The judge also found probable cause
on the charges against Delbosque and Rivera but made a
finding of no probable cause for the other two purchasers.
Id. at 30-31. Because the counts for delivery of
less than one gram were not charged at that point, the judge
did not make findings on those charges.
bench trial, the judge noted that the evidence was largely
circumstantial, as, he said, it tends to be in "any
given case involving narcotics" absent an undercover
sting. Trial Tr., Pet. at 84. The judge then summarized the
evidence as follows:
Murphy testified that he was driving around and saw the
defendant Louis Hall making various transactions. He
couldn't tell what they were. Basically, he saw various
transactions, and he pulled over and conducted surveillance,
before he pulls over, five or six purported transactions. He
then pulls over to watch.
He then sees, according to the testimony that I heard, Louis
Hall set up a line, like in the alley more or less, and four
or five male Hispanics approached the line, not all at once.
They end up in the line at one time together.
The defendant then leaves the line and goes to 3534 West
Chicago at the rear door of the building, bends down,
apparently picks up something . . . returns back to the line,
and hands each of the four people, after they give him some
money, hands them some items or object or objects, whatever.
As it turns out, the stipulations were that each of the four
guys had what turned out to be heroin. Each of the four
packages were the same. A silver tinfoil packet with blue
tape, all packets exactly the same, blue tape, silver packet
taped to it. They're all receiving something from Louis
Hall. And they all wind up with silver packets with blue
tape, which turns out to be heroin.
That would be rather unique, circumstantially, that those are
narcotics they're getting from Louis Hall. They're
giving him money. They get something in return. The cop
can't actually see what it is at that point from that
vantage point. Circumstantially, it's the same thing.
Each of the four guys wind up with silver packets with blue
tape. Each contained heroin.
The odds would be in the quadrillions, get something from a
guy, the same packaging, and they're getting it in a line
from a person named Louis Hall. It doesn't make any sense
giving Louis Hall money for something other than narcotics
under those circumstances . . . .
And then you add it together with the statement there was
some impeachment about who was present, who said what
supposedly, but impeachment in the case of people are
approaching Louis Hall, giving him money, whatever amount
they're giving him, who knows how much it was, for
something in return. And the ...