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Lee v. Lamb

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

December 4, 2017

ANTHONY LEE, Petitioner,
v.
NICHOLAS LAMB, Warden, Lawrence Correctional Center, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Honorable Edmond E. Chang United States District Judge.

         Anthony Lee has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, challenging his 1996 state-court convictions for rape and kidnapping. He argues that his lawyer did not provide effective assistance, in violation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.[1] R. 96, Am. Pet.[2] The state responds that Lee cannot obtain relief because the Illinois Appellate Court rejected Lee's claim on the merits, and did not unreasonably apply federal law. R. 107, Answer at 15. The Court agrees: the Illinois Appellate Court's decision on Lee's ineffective-assistance claim was not unreasonable, so Lee's habeas petition must be denied. But because it is a close enough question, a certificate of appealability will issue.

         I. Background

         Anthony Lee was convicted in a bench trial of kidnapping and raping a woman, whom the parties refer to as L.M. At trial, the only defense witness was Lee himself. Defense counsel did not call five witnesses who Lee says would have corroborated his version of the events (or at least parts of Lee's version). Counsel's failure to call-and, Lee asserts, to even investigate-the five witnesses is the basis of this habeas petition. To understand how those witnesses might have fit into the case, it is necessary to learn about the prosecution's evidence.

         A. Trial Court Proceedings

         1. The State's Case

         The state's first witness, Teresa Baragas, testified that, at around 3 o'clock in the morning on April 15, 1995, she awoke to hear a young woman banging on her door. Am. Pet. Exh. 5, Trial Tr. Vol. B at 13:22-14:14:8. The young woman, whom Baragas identified as L.M., was screaming and saying that she had been raped. Id. at 14:21-24. Baragas testified that L.M. was completely naked and that she had black eyes and her face was “marked up and scarred.” Id. at 14:10-20.

         Next, the state called L.M. She testified that, in the early morning hours of April 15, 1995, she argued with a friend at the Sweet Water Lounge in Calumet City. Am. Pet. Exh. 5, Trial Tr. Vol. B at 18:5-19:2. L.M. left the lounge around 1:00 a.m. and began to walk down State Street toward her sister's house. Id. at 18:13-18. As she was walking, she was approached by two men in a Cadillac, who asked whether she needed a ride. L.M. declined. Id. at 19:6-12. The car pulled away, but it soon turned around and pulled over. Id. at 19:19-24. The passenger, Burlmon Manley, got out of the car and grabbed L.M. from behind. L.M. testified that she kicked and screamed, but that Manley bound her hands and dragged her into the back seat of the Cadillac. Id. at 20:6-24. L.M. identified Lee as the driver of the Cadillac. Id. at 21:24.

         L.M. testified that the two men took her to a liquor store or lounge in Hammond, Indiana. Am. Pet. Exh. 5 Trial Tr. Vol. B at 22:6-7. She stated that Lee went into the store to get drinks while Manley remained in the back seat with her and kissed and fondled her without consent. Id. at 22:14-23:24. Lee then drove the car back to Chicago. Id. at 25:1-18. During the drive, Manley and L.M. had a conversation about Manley's job and their birthdays. Id. at 26:7-12. Manley also asked whether L.M. had ever been with a black man, and continued to stroke and kiss her despite her protests. Id. at 26:7-27:5.

         Lee eventually parked the car in an unfamiliar place. Lee got out of the driver's seat and into the back seat next to L.M. Am. Pet. Exh. 5 Trial Tr. Vol. B at 28:16-29:17. Lee began to pull off L.M.'s clothing, hitting her in the head with his fists when she told him to stop. Id. at 29:19-30:22. Lee then forced L.M.'s head down into Manley's lap and forced her to perform oral sex on Manley. Id. at 31:18-32:11. At some point, Lee left the car and went into a nearby “crack house.” Id. at 32:22-23. After several minutes of oral sex, Manley pushed L.M. onto her back in the back seat and vaginally raped her. Id. at 33:12-34:14. About five minutes later, Lee came back to the car and beat L.M. again with his fist, swearing at her and striking her in the head and face ten to fifteen times. Id. at 34:17-36:6. Lee threatened to take L.M. into the crack house and sell her to the men inside, who, according to Lee, would rape and kill her. Id. at 36:10-13.

         L.M. further testified that Lee became more and more angry that L.M. was “hysterical, ” and told Manley “fuck this bitch, go in the trunk and get the nine.” Am. Pet. Exh. 5 Trial Tr. Vol. B at 38:21-39:4. Manley got out of the car and got a handgun from the trunk. Id. at 39:6-7. Manley gave the gun to Lee, who held it to L.M.'s forehead as he raped her vaginally and anally. Id. at 39:6-42:4. L.M. testified that she had bruises on her back and sides from Lee forcing her down in the back seat. Id. at 42:22-24. At some point, Manley, who had been driving, stopped the car and had an argument with Lee. Id. at 43:11-44:17. Lee got back in the driver's seat and Manley left the car and went into a building. Id. at 45:4-10. Lee drove another few blocks, then stopped the car again. Id. at 45:24-46:2. Lee reclined the driver's seat, and, still holding the gun, told L.M. “okay, bitch, you are going to suck me off now.” Id. at 46:4-23. Lee pushed L.M.'s head down and forced her to perform oral sex until he ejaculated. Id. at 47:1-48:3. At this point, L.M. realized that Lee had dropped the gun. Id. at 48:10-11. Seeing her chance, L.M. started striking Lee in the face. Id. at 48:18-23. During the scuffle, L.M. was able to open the door and tumble out of the car. Id. at 49:5-10. Lee “took off like a maniac, ” and L.M. ran to a nearby house and started beating on the door, naked and screaming for help. Id. at 49:19-50:9. Teresa Baragas answered the door and called the police. Id. at 50:10-16.

         The state introduced photographs of L.M. taken in the days after the attack. The photographs showed evidence of a severe beating: L.M.'s eyes were blackened, and her nose and mouth were swollen. Am. Pet. Exh. 5 Trial Tr. Vol. B at 51:19-22. Another photograph showed bite marks on L.M.'s left hand, which resulted in a permanent scar. Id. at 53:16-21. Other photographs showed bruising on L.M.'s back and arms from being restrained and forced down. Id. at 55:8-17.

         Next, the state called Detective Robert Morrison, who read a written statement given by Lee during police interrogation. Am. Pet. Exh. 6, Trial Tr. Vol. C at 8:18-20. In the statement, Lee related that Manley had consensual sex with L.M. in Lee's car, and that L.M. had performed oral sex on Lee in exchange for an offer of drugs. Id. at 14:4-15:17. Finally, the state presented evidence of Lee's prior felony stalking conviction. Id. at 37:11-38:2.

         2. Lee's Case

         Lee's trial counsel called only Lee himself as a witness. Lee testified that L.M. got into the car voluntarily after she spoke with Manley for a few minutes. Am. Pet. Exh. 7, Trial Tr. Vol. D at 59:19-24. L.M. directed them to Dad's liquor store in Hammond, Indiana. Id. at 60:13-61:9. At the liquor store, Manley and Lee both got out of the car and went inside, leaving L.M. alone in the car for about 20 minutes. Id. at 61:18-62:17. Lee testified that he left his keys in the car with L.M. Id. at 62:2-5. The group then drove to L.M.'s house in Hammond so that L.M. could drop something off. Id. at 63:13-18.

         The three returned to Chicago, where they stopped to let L.M. buy marijuana from a street dealer. Am. Pet. Exh. 7, Trial Tr. Vol. D at 64:4-6. They continued to Merrill Park, where they sat around drinking and talking. Id. at 64:7-17. At the park, L.M. and Lee got into a fight because L.M. put out a cigarette on the carpet of Lee's car. Id. at 64:19-6. Lee swore at L.M. and hit her on the head. Id. at. 66:6-67:10. The two fought, and Lee punched L.M. and bit her. Id. at 67:17-22.

         Lee got out of the car and sat on a nearby stump drinking beer for about 30 minutes. Am. Pet. Exh. 7, Trial Tr. Vol. D at 68:5-14. Manley got out of the car and asked if Lee had condoms, and Lee gave Manley two condoms from the trunk. Id. at 69:20-70:1. Lee waited on the stump another 20 or 30 minutes. Id. at 70:13-14. When he came back to the car, he saw Manley lying on top of L.M. Id. at 70:21-24. Lee got into the car and drove to 84th and Buffalo, where Manley got out. Id. at 71:13-20.

         After Manley left the car, L.M., who was naked, got into the front passenger seat. Am. Pet. Exh. 7, Trial Tr. Vol. D at 72:2-9. According to Lee, L.M. abruptly hit him in the eye, jumped out of the car, and said “you bastards are going to pay for this.” Id. at 72:11-15. Lee testified that he never had intercourse or oral sex with L.M. Id. at 72:19-23. On redirect, Lee's counsel asked about Lee's statement to police (in which he stated that he asked L.M. to perform oral sex on him). Lee explained that he was not ...


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