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People v. Dixon

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

April 3, 2018

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
MARCUS T. DIXON, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Rock Island County, No. 02-CF-35 Illinois, Honorable Walter D. Braud, Judge, Presiding.

          JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McDade and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          HOLDRIDGE JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 The defendant, Marcus T. Dixon, appeals the denial of his postconviction petition at the second stage of postconviction proceedings. The defendant argues that his postconviction counsel failed to provide a reasonable level of assistance in that counsel failed to shape the defendant's pro se claims into proper legal form in the amended petition filed by counsel.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 Following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm (720 ILCS 5/12-4.2(a)(1) (West 2002)). The court sentenced the defendant to 20 years' imprisonment on each count. On appeal, we affirmed the defendant's conviction. People v. Dixon, No. 3-03-0041 (2005) (unpublished order under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 23).

         ¶ 4 On January 25, 2006, the defendant filed a pro se postconviction petition. The defendant attached a signed, unnotarized affidavit to his petition describing the manner in which he was arrested. On January 31, 2006, the court appointed postconviction counsel for the defendant. Over the next five years, the court appointed three separate attorneys, and they each withdrew. On April 20, 2011, the court appointed the defendant's fourth and final postconviction attorney.

         ¶ 5 On January 2, 2015-nearly four years after his appointment-counsel filed an amended petition for postconviction relief. After setting forth the procedural history of the case, the amended petition stated:

         "A. [The defendant's] Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel was violated by [trial counsel] for the following reasons:

1.Counsel failed to order a fitness evaluation of defendant prior to trial. [Citation.]
2.Counsel failed to investigate facts or interview witnesses prior to trial. [Citation.]
3.Counsel failed to file any pre-trial motions on the defendant's behalf.
4.Counsel failed to call witnesses at trial that would have corroborated the defendant's defense. [Citation.]
5.Counsel failed to file a motion to quash defendant's arrest when there were witnesses who would have provided testimony in support of such motion.
6. Counsel failed to impeach witnesses at trial when there were contradictory statements made. [Citation.]

         B. [The defendant's] Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel was violated by appellate ...


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