United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey, United States District Judge.
Astol Arroyo brings a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging his conviction
in the Circuit Court of Cook County. In 1997, Petitioner was
convicted of three counts of armed violence and one count of
conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection with
gang-related violence. Petitioner was sentenced to three
consecutive 16-year terms for the armed violence charges, as
well as a concurrent seven-year term for the conspiracy
charge. Petitioner is classified as a Class X felon.
Petitioner remains incarcerated at the Dixon Correctional
Center in Dixon, Illinois, where he is in the custody of
Respondent John Varga, the facility's warden.
following reasons, the Court denies the Petition, and
declines to grant a certificate of appealability.
facts and procedural posture summarized below are drawn from
the state court record. This Court presumes that the state
court's factual determinations are correct for the
purpose of habeas review, as Petitioner neither contests them
nor points to any clear and convincing evidence to the
contrary. See § 2254(e)(1); Kidd v.
Lemke, 734 F.3d 696, 703 (7th Cir. 2013).
State Court Proceedings
Petitioner's 1997 conviction by the Cook County Circuit
Court, he appealed. [16-1] at 1. The Illinois Appellate Court
affirmed the lower court's ruling, id. at 15,
and the Illinois Supreme Court denied leave to appeal. [16-2]
at 3. The claims raised on direct appeal are not relevant to
Petitioner's habeas petition.
first petition for post-conviction relief was dismissed as
untimely. Id. Although that petition was untimely,
the Illinois Appellate Court granted a resentencing hearing
based upon the Illinois Supreme Court's decision in
People v. Cervantes, 723 N.E.2d 265 (Ill. 1999).
Id. In November 2005, Petitioner was resentenced to
three consecutive 16-year terms for the armed violence
convictions, as well as a concurrent term of seven years for
his conviction for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
Id. The resentencing resulted in Petitioner
receiving a total of 48 years in custody. [16-25] at 255. As
of the date of resentencing, Petitioner had served 3, 478
days that the trial court credited toward the new sentence.
Id. at 256.
then filed two successive petitions for post-conviction
relief with the Cook County Circuit Court and the Illinois
Appellate Court; both were denied. [16-2] at 13; [16-3] at 2.
The claims in those post-conviction relief petitions are not
relevant to Petitioner's habeas petition.
Request for Good Conduct Credit
2013, Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with
the Cook County Circuit Court to compel the Director of the
Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC Director) to grant
him good conduct credit, pursuant to 730 ILCS §
5/3-6-3(a). [16-31] at 30. The claims before this Court arise
from that petition.
conduct credit reduces an inmate's sentence. See
§ 5/3-6-3(a). Granting good conduct credit is
discretionary for the DOC Director, as governed by section
5/3-6-3(a). Activities that may earn good conduct credit
include, among other things, participating in educational,
vocational, and correctional industry programs. Id.
classes of offenders, however, remain ineligible to receive
good conduct credit, including Class X felons. Id. A
Class X felon is a person over the age of 21 who is convicted
of a Class 1 or Class 2 felony after having twice been
convicted of an offense equivalent to a Class 2 or greater
felony in Illinois, when the charges are brought and tried
separately and arise from different acts. 730 ILCS §
5/5-4.5-95. Petitioner was convicted as a Class X felon.
Despite his classification, Petitioner requested good conduct
credit from DOC in 2011. [16-31] at 37-40. The DOC Director
denied Petitioner's request because Petitioner, as a
Class X felon, is ineligible for good conduct credit under
Illinois law. Id. at 37-38.
argues that a plain reading of section 5/3-6-3 required the
DOC Director to grant him 55 months of good conduct credit
for completing two correctional industry assignments, a
vocational assignment, and his GED. Id. at 33.
Alternately, Petitioner argues that he is entitled to the
good conduct credit because section 5/3-6-3 is ambiguous.
[16-31] at 32-33. The Cook County Circuit Court denied the
mandamus petition, finding ...