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Chaney v. Cross

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 15, 2017

CARLTON L. CHANEY Petitioner,
v.
JAMES CROSS, JR., Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Herndon, United States District Judge

         This matter is now before the Court on Carlton L. Chaney's petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. (Doc. 1).

         In 1997, separate juries convicted Mr. Chaney (Petitioner) of armed robbery, carjacking, two counts of using a firearm while committing a crime of violence, and possessing a firearm as a felon. Chaney v. United States, 101 Fed.Appx. 160, 162 (7th Cir. 2004). He received a sentence of 430 months: “concurrent terms of 130 months for armed bank robbery, 130 months for carjacking, and 120 months for possession of a firearm by a felon, plus consecutive terms of 60 months and 240 months for using a firearm during the bank robbery and carjacking.” Id.

         Petitioner attacks his conviction for use of a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), as it relates to the armed robbery. He argues he is entitled to habeas relief pursuant to Rosemond v. United States, 134 S.Ct. 1240 (2014).

         Relevant Facts and Procedural History

         In its preliminary review of the petition, this Court summarized the facts of Petitioner's case as follows:

On April 18, 1997, at approximately 9:20 A.M., three masked African-American males robbed the NBD Bank in Indianapolis, Indiana. One robber stood in the lobby area, waived a gun, and told everyone in the bank to keep their hands up. The other two robbers rushed behind the teller area, and one of those two pointed a gun at a teller and dumped cash from the drawers into a pillowcase. The robbers then ran out of the bank, jumped into a dark blue Cadillac that had been stolen earlier that day, and sped away.
Two civilians witnessed the bank robbery and earnestly gave chase. The first, James Nulf, was the husband of one of the bank employees. He followed the robbers until they stopped on Inland Drive and watched as the robbers stood outside the Cadillac and talked to each other. Nulf then saw one of the robbers walk east on Inland Drive, while the other two drove away in the Cadillac. The second witness, Donna Dauby, was driving by the bank when she saw the robbers leave the bank and speed off. Like Nulf, she also followed the robbers to Inland Drive. As she drove towards the Cadillac, a Chevrolet Suburban drove toward her, veered around the Cadillac, and sideswiped the driver's side of Dauby's vehicle. The Suburban then careened off of Dauby's vehicle and crashed into a nearby house.
By the time police arrived at the scene, the Suburban was abandoned, but police did find a black mask in the vehicle, along with $16, 890 stuffed in a pink and white pillowcase, an Indiana identification card for “Jesse James” with Carlton Chaney's picture, and various car repair documents (some bearing the name “Troy Smith”). Six fingerprints, later identified as Chaney's, were on the inside of the Suburban. As for the stolen Cadillac, it was recovered in a nearby apartment complex: its rear window was broken and covered with duct tape, and the ends of the duct tape matched the end of a roll found in the Suburban.
At 9:30 A.M. on the same day, an unmasked African-American male entered the home of Mary and William Howe, threatened them with a gun, and demanded the keys to their car. The Howe's residence was located one street away from the abandoned Suburban. The robber took the Howe's car and drove off. While Mr. Howe could not identify the assailant, Mrs. Howe ultimately identified Chaney as the man who entered the Howes' home.
Police arrested Chaney on May 2, 1997, as he left an apartment that he had leased in the name of Michael Troy Smith. During the arrest, Chaney fled from the police in his car, pointed his gun at officers when he was stopped, and then fled again. He was ultimately captured when he lost control of his vehicle. When arrested, Chaney was carrying an Indiana driver's license in the name of Troy Smith (with his picture on it), and police found a handgun on the floor of his vehicle. Chaney was charged with bank robbery, carjacking, using and carrying a firearm in relation to a bank robbery, using and carrying a firearm in relation to carjacking, and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

Chaney v. Cross, 2015 WL 1228918, at *1-2 (S.D. Ill. Mar. 16, 2015) (internal citations omitted) (Doc. 3).

         At trial, Petitioner's jury received an aiding and abetting instruction, which provided a person is guilty of a crime if he “knowingly aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures the commission of a crime.” (Doc. 1, p. 28). The instruction further explained, “However, that person must knowingly associate himself with the criminal venture, participate in it, and try to make it succeed.” Id. The jury returned a general verdict form, convicting Petitioner of all counts. Chaney, at *2.

         Petitioner appealed his conviction and the Seventh Circuit rejected the challenge, citing the “overwhelming” evidence against Petitioner:

Chaney's identification and fingerprints were found in a car containing the pillowcase full of cash from the bank robbery and a mask identified by a teller as the one worn by the leader of the robbers. The car contained repair records under Chaney's “Troy Smith” alias, suggesting that it was Chaney's car. Mrs. Howe identified Chaney as the man who took the Howes' car at gunpoint. When the police later attempted to arrest Chaney, he fled from them and threatened them with a gun. Witnesses testified that Chaney's gun was similar to the one used in the bank robbery and the carjacking.

United States. v. Chaney, 165 F.3d 33, at *4 (7th Cir. Oct. 23, 1998). Petitioner then unsuccessfully sought relief via two § 2255 motions and several § 2241 petitions. See, e.g., Chaney v. Cross, 2014 WL 1041036, at *1 (S.D.Ill. Mar. 18, 2014); Chaney v. United States, 2008 WL 818565, at *1 (S.D.Ill. Mar. 21, 2008); Chaney v. O'Brien, 2007 WL 1189641, at *1 (W.D.Va. Apr. ...


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