United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
JESSE B. MARTINEZ, Plaintiff,
RANDY PFISTER, Defendant.
DER-YEGHIAYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Petitioner Jesse Martinez's
(Martinez) pro se petition for write of habeas
corpus (Petition) brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254
and pro se motion to stay the habeas corpus
proceedings. For the reasons stated below, the Petition is
denied and the motion to stay is denied.
December 17, 2001, Martinez was convicted in a jury trial for
first degree murder, attempted first degree murder,
aggravated battery with a firearm, armed violence, and home
invasion. On December 15, 2005, Martinez's conviction was
affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court (Appellate Court).
Martinez then filed a petition for leave to appeal (PLA) with
the Illinois Supreme Court, and the PLA was denied on May 24,
2006. The record does not reflect that Martinez appealed the
denial of that petition. On December 1, 2006, Martinez filed
a post-conviction petition. On March 3, 2010, Martinez filed
an amended petition and on May 18, 2012, Martinez filed a
supplemental addendum. On December 19, 2012, the trial court
granted a motion to dismiss Martinez's post-conviction
petition. On April 27, 2015, the Illinois Appellate Court
affirmed the trial court decision. On September 30, 2015, the
Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Court's
decision and denied Martinez's PLA. On March 4, 2016,
Martinez filed the instant Petition. Respondent has filed an
answer and opposes the Petition. On November 28, 2016,
Martinez filed a motion to stay the habeas corpus proceedings
and Respondent opposed Martinez's motion.
individual in custody pursuant to state court judgment may
seek a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Section 2254, which
provides the following:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the adjudication of the claim--(1) resulted in a decision
that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application
of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the
Supreme Court of the United States; or (2) resulted in a
decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of
the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). The decision made by a state court
is deemed to be contrary to clearly established federal law
“‘if the state court applies a rule different
from the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court] cases, or
if it decides a case differently than [the Supreme Court has]
done on a set of materially indistinguishable
facts.'” Emerson v. Shaw, 575 F.3d 680,
684 (7th Cir. 2009)(quoting Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S.
685, 694 (2002)). The decision by a state court is deemed to
involve an unreasonable application of clearly established
federal law “‘if the state court correctly
identifies the governing legal principle from [Supreme Court]
decisions but unreasonably applies it to the facts of the
particular case.'” Emerson, 575 F.3d at
684 (quoting Bell, 535 U.S. at 694).
court has liberally construed Martinez's pro se
filings. See Perruquet v. Briley, 390 F.3d 505, 512
(7th Cir. 2004)(stating that “[a]s [the plaintiff] was
without counsel in the district court, his habeas petition
[wa]s entitled to a liberal construction”); Greer
v. Board of Educ. of City of Chicago, Ill., 267 F.3d
723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001)(indicating that a court should
“liberally construe the pleadings of individuals who
proceed pro se”). Martinez asserts in the
Petition: (1) that the Appellate Court erred in finding that
Martinez's right to due process was not violated where
Martinez claims that the State concealed incentives given to
key witnesses (Claim 1), (2) that the Appellate Court erred
in denying Martinez's claim for ineffective assistance of
counsel (Claim 2), (3) that the Appellate Court erred in
holding that Martinez's right to due process and fair
trial was not violated when the court permitted a State
witness to attribute a statement to Martinez which was never
disclosed (Claim 3), (4) that the Appellate Court erred by
making an unreasonable determination of facts as presented in
State court (Claim 4), and (5) that the Appellate Court erred
by denying Martinez leave to file his supplemental brief
indicated above, Martinez argues in Claim 1 that his right to
due process was violated where the State allegedly concealed
financial incentives given to key witnesses. Martinez alleges
that the State withheld information from his counsel, which
violated Martinez's due process rights under Brady v.
Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). For a Brady
claim, a petitioner must show: (1) “that the government
failed to give him evidence favorable to his defense, that
would tend to show his innocence, or that could be used to
impeach witnesses at trial, ” and (2) “that the
evidence suppressed was material; that ‘there is a
reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed
to the defense, the result of the proceeding would have been
different.'” Morgan v. Hardy, 662 F.3d
790, 800 (7th Cir. 2011)(quoting in part Strickler v.
Greene, 527 U.S. 263, 281 (1999)).
instant action, the record reflects that Martinez argued on
appeal that the State failed to produce information regarding
Melissa Sandoval's (Sandoval) financial incentives for
providing her testimony. The record reflects that the
prosecution offered to Sandoval's mother that they would
provide financial assistance to relocate Sandoval. (R. Ex.
A:33-34). The financial assistance included moving expenses,
first month of rent, and security deposit. The record
reflects that the prosecution tendered a note to
Martinez's counsel prior to Sandoval's testimony.
(Pet. 58). The record further reflects that the note outlined
the financial arrangement between the government and
Sandoval. (Pet. 58). Sandoval testified as a witness to the
Martinez's alleged crimes, and Sandoval provided adverse
testimony against Martinez. (Pet. 58-60). The Appellate Court
found that Martinez's attorney was properly notified of
the arrangement between the prosecution and Sandoval. (R. Ex.
A:34-37). In addressing the merits of the claims in a Section
2254 habeas petition, the federal court “presume[s]
state factual findings to be correct, unless the petitioner
rebuts the presumption by clear and convincing
evidence.” Morgan v. Hardy, 662 F.3d 790,
797-98 (7th Cir.2011) (stating that “[t]he presumption
of correctness also applies to factual findings made by a
state court of review based on the trial record”). The
Appellate Court found that the prosecution properly disclosed
information to Martinez's counsel prior to Sandoval's
testimony and did not commit a discovery violation. The
Appellate Court also found that even if the prosecution did
not disclose this information, the result of the proceeding
would have been the same. Martinez fails to rebut the
presumption by clear and convincing evidence that the
prosecution failed to provide favorable evidence to Martinez.
Even absent such an evidentiary burden, it is clear that the
prosecution did not commit a Brady violation.
Therefore, Claim 1 lacks any merit.