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.

Castellano v. Melvin

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

August 30, 2017

GREGORY CASTELLANO, Petitioner,
v.
MICHAEL MELVIN, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, United States District Court Judge.

         This matter is before the court on Petitioner Gregory Castellano’s (Castellano) pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus (Petition) brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (Section 2254). For the reasons stated below, the Petition is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         In 2008, in Illinois state court, Castellano was convicted by a jury of murder and Castellano was sentenced to fifty-three years of imprisonment. Castellano filed an appeal, which was denied. Castellano filed a petition for leave to appeal (PLA) with the Illinois Supreme Court, which was denied in September 2012. In March, Castellano filed a post-conviction petition, which was denied. The Illinois Appellate court affirmed the trial court, and in March 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the PLA. In October 2016, Castellano filed a motion for leave to file a post-conviction petition, which was denied. In December 2016, Castellano filed the instant Petition. Respondent has filed an answer and opposes the Petition.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         An 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 court proceeding.

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).

         DISCUSSION

         This court has liberally construed Castellano’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”). Castellano asserts in the Petition: (1) his trial counsel was ineffective for stating in his opening statement that he would call an alibi witness and not doing so (Claim 1), (2) that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to present Castellano’s parents as alibi witnesses (Claim 2), (3) that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to preserve a hearsay objection (Claim 3), (4) that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to preserve a Confrontation Clause objection (Claim 4), (5) that his counsel was ineffective at a post-trial ineffectiveness hearing (Claim 5), (6) that his appellate counsel was ineffective (Claim 6), and (7) that the admission of certain statements violated the Confrontation Clause (Claim 7).

         I. Procedurally Defaulted Claims

         Respondent argues that Claims 3,4, 6, and 7 are procedurally defaulted.

         A. Default

         Respondent contends that Castellano failed to raise Claims 3,4, 6, and 7 through one complete round of the state court appellate review process. A district court “cannot review a habeas petitioner’s constitutional issue unless he has provided the state courts with an opportunity to resolve it ‘by invoking one complete round of the state’s established appellate review process.’” Byers v. Basinger, 610 F.3d 980, 985 (7th Cir. 2010)(quoting O’Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845 (1999)). If a habeas petitioner failed to “properly assert[] his federal claim at each level of state court review,” the petitioner is deemed to have “procedurally defaulted that claim.” Malone v. Walls, 538 F.3d 744, 753 (7th Cir. 2008)(quoting Lewis v. Sternes, 390 F.3d 1019, 1025 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Johnson v. Hulett, 574 F.3d 428, 431 (7th Cir. 2009)(stating that “[t]o obtain federal habeas review, a state prisoner must first submit his claims through one full round of state-court review,” and that “[t]he penalty for failing to fully and fairly present [] arguments to the state court is procedural default”). A petitioner, in exhausting his state court remedies, has “‘the duty to fairly present his federal ...


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.