United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Western Division
Vincent E. Smith, R11677, Petitioner,
Steven Duncan, Warden, Respondent.
G. Reinhard Judge.
following reasons, petitioner's 28 U.S.C. § 2254
petition ;  is denied. The court declines to issue a
certificate of appealability. The matter is terminated.
10, 2016, petitioner Vincent E. Smith, a prisoner confined at
the Lawrence Correctional Center, filed this pro se
habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254
challenging his 2011 home invasion, armed robbery, armed
violence, and unlawful restraint convictions from the
Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit Court, McHenry County,
Illinois. See ; .
evidence at trial was that petitioner had broken into a home
with an accomplice, who attacked a victim before stealing the
victim's money. Both of the men wore ski masks, although
at least defendant's mask had large holes allowing for
some amount of his face to be seen. Four eyewitnesses to the
crime, three of whom knew defendant previously, testified
that he was one of the masked men. Three of the witnesses
positively identified him during a photo line up, while one
stated at the line up that she was almost sure, although not
absolutely sure, that it was him. Petitioner raised an alibi
defense, namely that he was drinking at a bar the night in
question. The bar owner and bartender testified that he was
drinking at the bar the night in question, but also testified
that he closed his tab several hours before the events of the
crime occurred. Petitioner's girlfriend testified that
she picked him up at closing time and took him home. In
rebuttal, the prosecution introduced a recorded conversation
where the girlfriend asked petitioner what she should tell
investigators about the night of the crimes. The prosecution
also presented a recording of a phone call to petitioner from
an unknown person. The unknown person related a newspaper
article about the home invasion, and petitioner replied
“How was that when - when we was masked?”
See [6-9] at 26.
the prosecution had advised the court that it intended to
proffer the recorded conversation of the girlfriend during
its case-in-chief, but because defendant indicated that he
was going to introduce the girlfriend's testimony
regardless, the prosecution was allowed to present the
recorded conversation in rebuttal. With regard to the other
recorded conversation introduced in rebuttal, defendant
objected that it should have been presented during the
case-in-chief, but his objection was overruled. As such, the
evidence shows that the prosecution was willing and able to
introduce both recorded conversations, at a minimum the
conversation with the girlfriend, regardless of whether
defendant presented an alibi defense.
his conviction, petitioner filed a direct appeal, and the
judgment was affirmed. He did not file a PLA with the
Illinois Supreme Court. He later filed a pro se
postconviction petition, arguing that his trial counsel was
ineffective for presenting an unreasonable alibi defense. His
petition was denied, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed,
and a PLA to the Illinois Supreme Court was denied.
instant petition, petitioner raises a single claim of
ineffective assistance of trial counsel, namely counsel's
decision to present an alibi defense, which he contends
prejudiced him because it opened the door to the prosecution
proffering additional evidence of guilt in rebuttal.
Respondent has answered the petition , and petitioner has
filed a reply . This matter is now ripe for the
to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
(“AEDPA”), the decision under review is the
Illinois Appellate Court's ruling in petitioner's 725
ILCS 5/122-1 postconviction petition, “the last state
court that substantively adjudicated [petitioner's]
claim.” See Alston v. Smith, 840 F.3d 363, 367
(7th Cir. 2016). Under AEDPA, a reviewing court may only
grant habeas relief if the state court's adjudication of
(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;
(2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable
determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented
in the State court proceeding.
v. Bartley, 495 F.3d 487, 492 (7th Cir. 2007). When
assessing the first prong:
A state court decision contradicts clearly established law if
it applies a legal court unreasonably applies Supreme Court
precedent if it identifies the correct legal rule but applies
it in a way that is objectively unreasonable.
v. Gossett, 842 F.3d 531, 537 (7th Cir. 2016). When
assessing the second prong, “[i]n assessing the
reasonableness of the state court's decision, the federal
court assumes that the state courts' factual
determinations are correct unless the defendant ...