United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. WOOD United States District Judge.
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.
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)).
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).
The Murder Trial
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.
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
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. 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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