Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Riley v. Calloway

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

March 28, 2017

SPENCER RILEY #B41194, Petitioner,
v.
VICTOR CALLOWAY, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ANDREA R. WOOD United States District Judge.

         Petitioner Spencer Riley, a prisoner at the Danville Correctional Center, brings this habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 to challenge his armed habitual criminal conviction from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Riley argues that his Fifth Amendment guarantee against Double Jeopardy, as explained by the United States Supreme Court in Ashe v. Swenson, 397 U.S. 436 (1970), bars his conviction as an armed habitual criminal due to his prior acquittal on a related murder charge. Ashe holds that the doctrine of issue preclusion applies in criminal cases pursuant to the United States Constitution's protection against Double Jeopardy. Bravo-Fernandez v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 352, 358 (2016) (citing Ashe, 397 U.S. 436). When a jury has returned a verdict of not guilty in a criminal case, the Court must determine what the acquitting jury “necessarily decided” to arrive at the verdict and give preclusive effect to those issues in a future trial of that defendant. Id. at 359 (citing Ashe, 397 U.S. at 444). In this case, the state court concluded that the preclusive effect of Riley's acquittal at his murder trial did not bar his subsequent conviction as an armed habitual criminal. This Court agrees with that decision and thus finds that Riley cannot demonstrate that the state court ruling was contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly-established federal law. Consequently, the Court denies Riley's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

         I. Background

         The following facts are drawn from the state court record. (Dkt. Nos. 3-1, 16.) Ashe requires the Court to evaluate that record from the perspective of “‘realism and rationality, '” “‘set in a practical frame and viewed with an eye to all of the circumstances of the proceedings.'” Id. at 359 (quoting Ashe, 397 U.S. at 444). Furthermore, pursuant to the requirements of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”), the state court's findings of fact are presumed correct, and Riley has the burden of rebutting the presumption of correctness by clear and convincing evidence. Brumfield v. Cain, 135 S.Ct. 2269, 2282 n.8 (2015) (citing 28 U.S.C. 2254(e)(1)).

         Cedric Hudson (also known as “G-Loe”) was shot multiple times on the evening of October 30, 2007, in a vacant lot in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. Illinois v. Riley, No. 1-10-1607, 2012 IL App (1st) 101607-U, at 2-3 (Ill.App.Ct. June 28, 2012) (Dkt. No. 3-1 at 3-4). Riley was charged with Hudson's murder, as well as being an armed habitual criminal. Riley, No. 1-10-1607, 2012 IL App (1st) 101607-U, at 2 (Dkt. No. 16-1 at 27-34). The murder and armed habitual criminal charges were severed, with Riley's jury trial on the murder charge occurring first. Riley, No. 1-10-1607, 2012 IL App (1st) 101607-U, at 2 (Dkt. No. 16-3 at 7).[1]

         A. The Murder Trial

         The evidence at the murder trial showed that at 10:43 p.m. on the night of Hudson's killing, a Chicago police officer heard several gunshots. (Dkt. No. 16-4 at 28-29.) The officer drove one block to a vacant lot where he found Hudson lying face-down in the dirt, having been shot multiple times. Id. at 31. The lot was not very well lit but there were streetlights in the area. Id.

         A police crime scene investigator recovered a .380 cartridge from the vacant lot. (Dkt. No. 16-5 at 70.) He also found several plastic cups and bottle, including a plastic cup close to Hudson's body. Id. at 67-68. A second responding police officer recovered a fired bullet from under Hudson's shirt. Id. at 110. No gun was found at the scene. Indeed, the police were unable to recover the gun that killed Hudson at any point during their investigation. But Hudson's autopsy revealed that he had been shot six times. Id. at 81. Several bullets and bullet fragments were recovered from Hudson's body during the autopsy. Id. at 82. The autopsy also showed that Hudson's blood alcohol level was 0.16. Id. at 93.

         An Illinois State Police forensic scientist examined the firearms evidence recovered from the crime scene and autopsy. Id. at 110-12. The scientist is a recognized expert in firearms identification. Id. at 111. She opined that five of the recovered bullets were .380 caliber and fired from the same gun. Id. at 112. Three other recovered bullets were not fired from the same gun that fired the first five bullets, and an additional four bullets could neither be identified nor eliminated as being fired from the same gun as the other bullets.[2] Id. at 112-13. A .380 caliber cartage was also recovered at the crime scene. The expert entered the cartage data into a ballistic database but was unable to make an identification match. Id. at 113.

         A DNA expert examined the evidence recovered at the crime scene to determine if Riley or the victim could be connected to any of the items. Riley's DNA did not match any DNA found on the evidence. Id. at 114. Although Hudson's DNA was not a match for any DNA found on items at the crime scene, the expert concluded that Hudson's DNA could not be excluded as the source of the DNA found on one of the cups. Id.

         A fingerprint expert also examined the recovered evidence to see if any of the items contained Riley's fingerprints. Id. at 116. The expert concluded that most of the recovered items-with the exceptions of one plastic drinking cup and one glass bottle-did not show fingerprints suitable for comparison to Riley's fingerprints. Id. For the two items that did allow comparison, Riley's fingerprints were not found on those items. Id.

         Chicago Police Detective Daniel Gorman and his partner Detective Halloran responded to the shooting. Id. at 37. The detectives led the police investigation of the killing. Although both detectives participated in the investigation, only Gorman testified at trial. The police investigation eventually led the detectives to interview Demetrice Allen (also known as “Mimi”) at the Chicago Police Department Area One police station on January 8, 2008. Id. at 42-43. The interview with Allen resulted in the detectives focusing their investigation on Riley. Id. at 44. The detectives also issued investigation alerts for Frederick Brown, Kenneth Head (also known as “Little K”), and Kenneth Gardner. Id. An investigation alert is a notification in the police department's computer system that if a police officer stops the individual for an unrelated matter, that individual should be brought to the detectives for questioning. Id. at 43. The detectives interviewed Rashee Mackmore, (also known as “Sheeba”) on January 11, 2007 and Head on January 23, 2008. Id. at 45.

         The detectives arrested Riley on March 9, 2008 in front of his home. Id. Riley lives a half a block from the vacant lot where Hudson was killed. Id. at 46. In addition to arresting Riley, the detectives re-interviewed Allen, Brown, and Head on March 9, 2008. Id. at 47-48. A Cook County Assistant State's Attorney participated in the interviews and took written statements from the three men. Id.

         Two days later on March 11, Riley was taken to a court hearing at the Circuit Court of Cook County Criminal Courts building. Id. at 49. Following the hearing, the police detectives returned him to the Area One police station. Id. Detective Gorman testified that Riley, on his own, began speaking about the case during the drive back to the police station. Id. According to Detective Gorman, Riley “believed it was his friend Sheeba [Mackmore] that identified him as the shooter. And then he said dead men can't come to court and testify.” Id. at 50. Detective Gorman also testified that Riley told him during the ride that “come trial time, those witnesses would come to court and testify that the police forced them to identify” him. Id.

         Brown, Allen, and Head were called as prosecution witnesses at the murder trial. Brown and Allen are cousins, who were living together at the time of Hudson's killing. (Dkt. No. 16-4 at 35, 48). Hudson and Allen were best friends. Id. at 50. Head was also friends with Hudson, Brown, and Allen. Id. at 63. And Brown, Allen, and Head all knew Riley. Id. at 35, 64. All three also had prior felony convictions-Brown had a prior narcotics conviction, id. at 48; Head had prior convictions for delivery of cocaine and residential burglary, id. at 61; and Allen had three prior felony drug convictions and was in custody for violating his probation for a domestic battery conviction at the time he testified, id. at 103.

         During his testimony, Brown explained that he was standing at the vacant lot with Hudson and Allen at 10:30 p.m. on the night of the shooting. Id. at 36. They were among a group of a dozen or so men and women-including Head and Mackmore-drinking and socializing. Id. at 38-39. At some point, Brown saw Hudson and Mackmore speaking to each other. Id. at 40. At the same time, Brown saw Riley arrive separately from his house across the street. Id. at 40-42. Riley was wearing all black, including a hooded sweatshirt (or “hoodie.”) Id. Riley was walking with his hands in the hoodie's pockets. Id. According to Brown, he witnessed Riley walk up to Hudson and say, “don't talk to my boss like that.” Id. at 44. Riley then pulled a black gun from the sweatshirt's front pocket and struck a bystander with it. Id. at 44-45. Brown then witnessed Riley shoot Hudson once. Id. Brown ran from the scene and heard five or six more shots. Id. at 45. Although Brown explained that he did not initially speak to the police because he was scared, he did not explain why he was afraid. Id. at 51.

         Head also testified that Riley shot Hudson. But there were significant differences between Head's testimony and Brown's testimony. Head testified that he was also drinking with the group at the vacant lot around 10:30 p.m. on the evening of the shooting. Id. at 66. According to Head, Riley arrived by car with another man instead of walking to the lot from his home as Brown testified. Id. at 67. Head further testified that Hudson also arrived in a separate car around the same time that Riley arrived. Id. at 68. Hudson walked towards Riley holding up his hands. Id. at 68-69. Riley pulled a gun from his back pants pocket and shot Hudson. Id. at 69-70. Head saw Riley shoot Hudson once. Id. at 70. He then heard five more shots as he fled. Id.

         Head also admitted to initially lying to the police during his January 23 interview when he told them he did not see the shooting. Id. at 74. He explained that he lied because he was scared, but he did not explain why he was scared. Id. at 76. Head expressed concern about speaking to the police at that time because he did not have a lawyer present and he could not read any papers presented to him because he was illiterate. Id. at 74. Head eventually spoke to the police because he knew he needed to tell the truth. Id. at 98-99.

         Head was impeached at trial by his March 9 statement. That statement is consistent with Brown's version of events: that Riley walked to the lot wearing a hooded sweatshirt and then shot Hudson. Id. at 81-82. Head further said in the March 9 statement that he saw Riley pull a black handgun from the sweatshirt's front pocket and shoot Hudson while he was talking to Mackmore. Id. at 83-84. On cross-examination, however, defense counsel pointed out that the March 9 statement also included that, “Kenneth states he did not go to the police because he was worried about retribution.” Id. at 86. Defense counsel asked Head to define the word “retribution;” Head responded that he did not know the word. Id. Head also conceded that he told the police that he had a fight with the victim on the night of the murder, but claimed he had walked away. Id. at 88.

         Allen testified that he was present at the lot with Hudson, Brown, Head, and Mackmore, along with several other people. Id. at 104-05. According to Allen, however, Riley was not present and Allen did not see Hudson being shot. Id. at 106. The prosecution attempted to impeach Allen with his prior statement to the police and Assistant State's Attorney, which was consistent with Brown's statement in stating that Riley shot Hudson because of how Hudson was talking to Mackmore. Id. at 111. The major difference between the two statements was that Allen's prior statement said that Riley was wearing a white hoodie, while Brown said it was black hoodie. Id. When asked about his prior statement at trial, Allen responded that he could not recall any part of it and he did not provide any in-court testimony implicating Riley.

         The prosecution also attempted to impeach Allen with his April 3, 2008 grand jury testimony, in which he again gave a statement consistent with Brown's testimony identifying Riley as the shooter. Id. at 116. Allen responded that he could not recall his grand jury testimony. He explained that he was drunk and did not know what happened. Id. at 147. He said he signed the written statement that the Assistant State's Attorney wrote in March 2008 because there was a warrant out for his arrest and he was told that he would go to jail if he did not sign the statement. Id. at 148.

         Upon the close of the prosecution's case, Riley chose not to testify on his own behalf. (Dkt. No. 16-5 at 120). The defense then rested without presenting any evidence. Id.

         During closing arguments, the prosecution argued that the jury should reject any concerns about inconsistencies in the witnesses' testimony and prior statements because Riley's statement to Detective Gorman showed his intent to intimidate witnesses. (Dkt. No. 16-5 at 143). The prosecution portrayed Riley as a confident, callous killer who murdered Hudson in front of a dozen witnesses who knew him. Id. His callousness extended to the fact that he did not attempt to flee following the shooting, but instead continued to live in his home across the street from the murder scene for many months until his arrest. The prosecution noted that, despite the alleged intimidation by Riley, both Brown and Head identified Riley as the shooter in court. The prosecution also argued that the jury should believe Allen's prior statements to the police and grand jury testimony that implicated Riley.

         Defense counsel argued that there was no physical evidence connecting Riley to the crime-i.e., the only evidence was that of the three eyewitnesses Brown, Head, and Allen. Id. at 163-64. With the importance of the eyewitnesses established, defense counsel proceeded to attack their credibility. He noted how the eyewitnesses disagreed over: (1) the course of the events; (2) the color of Riley's clothing (black or white); and (3) from where he pulled the weapon (front sweatshirt pocket or back pants pocket). Id. at 166. He also pointed out that the credibility of the witnesses was inherently questionable, as they had multiple convictions between them and two of the three were serving prison sentences when they testified, even appearing in court in prison jumpsuits. Id. at 173. Defense counsel also argued that the fact that there might have been more than one gun involved in the shooting impeached the eyewitnesses because they only mentioned one gun in their testimony. Id. at 171-72.

         Defense counsel also argued that the timeline of the police investigation demonstrated reasonable doubt. Id. at 168-70. The police interviewed Allen, Mackmore, and Head in January 2008. Id. But the police did not arrest Riley until March 2008. Id. Defense counsel noted that there was no explanation for the delay between the January 2008 interviews and the March 2008 arrests. Id. The police stated that Riley became the focus of their investigation following the January 2008 interviews. If Riley was the target in January 2008, defense counsel argued, it would seem reasonable for the police to have arrested him at that time. That the prosecution did not provide an explanation for why the police waited until March 2008 to arrest Riley allowed defense counsel to cast doubt on the statements obtained by the police. Defense counsel also pointed out that Head did not even know the meaning of a word that was in his written statement. Id. at 170. Finally, defense counsel suggested that Head was the actual killer because he had a fight with the victim on the evening of the killing. Id. at 169.

         In its rebuttal argument, the prosecution attempted to bolster the credibility of the witnesses. The prosecutor made an argument that he would make again at the subsequent armed habitual criminal trial-with regard to the witnesses' disagreement about whether Riley was wearing black or white clothes, the prosecutor argued, “I have been in front of you now for three or four days. You know I have been wearing a shirt and tie, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.