United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Lacy (which is how he spells his last name, although Illinois
court documents spell it “Lacey”), an Illinois
prisoner, seeks a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254. Doc. 6. He was convicted in 2012 of burglary and
sentenced to eighteen years' imprisonment. Lacy's
petition asserts that: (1) his Fourth Amendment rights were
violated when he was arrested pursuant to an invalid
“investigative alert”; and (2) his Fourteenth
Amendment due process rights were violated when he was
convicted on the basis of insufficient evidence. The habeas
petition is denied, and the court declines to issue a
certificate of appealability.
is the evidence introduced at Lacy's bench trial, as
described by the Appellate Court of Illinois. People v.
Lacey, 2014 IL App (1st) 123291-U, 2014 WL 4413491 (
Ill. App. Sept. 8, 2014).
point after 8:00 p.m. on April 29, 2011, the Calvary Baptist
Church, including the pastor's office, was burglarized.
Id. at ¶ 3. Fingerprints lifted from the
pastor's desk led to Lacy's arrest some six months
trial, Tommy Wright, the church's custodian and trustee,
testified that he was responsible for cleaning the offices in
the old and new church buildings, including the pastor's
office on the new building's second floor. Id.
at ¶ 4. The office had a desk with a glass top, chairs,
bookshelves, and a flat screen television set. Ibid.
Wright testified that he last cleaned the desk top with
Windex and paper towels on April 28, but later stated that he
did so on April 29. Ibid. Wright further testified
that when he left the church at 8:00 p.m. on April 29, there
were still people in the basement for a youth program, and he
told the janitor to lock up. Ibid.
Wright entered the church the next morning, he noticed
“a lot of stuff” on the floor. Id. at
¶ 5. There were no signs of forced entry in the old
building, but Wright found equipment missing from the sound
room and frames torn out of the basement doors leading to the
finance room. Ibid. In the new building, the doors
leading to the roof and the janitorial supplies room, and the
locks to the pastor's and the superintendent's
offices, were broken. Ibid. Upon entering the
pastor's office, Wright noticed that the television set
was missing and that there were fingerprints all over the
desk's glass top. Ibid. Wright recalled that the
fingerprints were not there when he cleaned the desk the
previous day. Ibid. The parties stipulated that the
fingerprints matched Lacy's. Id. at ¶ 7. A
counting machine from the finance office and some cash from
the secretary's file cabinet were missing as well.
Id. at ¶ 5. Wright denied that he or anyone
else in the church permitted anyone to remove those items
from the building. Ibid.
James Ray Flint, Jr., the church's pastor, testified that
he was in his office earlier in the day on April 29 and that
he locked his door when he left. Id. at ¶ 8.
Reverend Flint testified that he did not give anyone other
than his custodian permission to enter his office and that no
one else was allowed to use it for conferences.
Ibid. He further testified that he did not know
Lacy, had never seen him in the church or had a meeting with
him, and had not given him permission to enter his office.
Ibid. On cross-examination, Reverend Flint testified
that he brought individuals into his office only for
scheduled appointments. Ibid.
testified in his own defense. Id. at ¶ 9. He
acknowledged his prior convictions for burglary, stealing a
car, and drug possession, but maintained that he was innocent
of the church burglary. Ibid. Lacy testified that he
was released from prison on April 22, 2011, and went to the
church in his neighborhood around 11:00 a.m. on April 29 to
seek help. Ibid. Lacy entered the new building and
asked a woman coming out of the daycare where he could find
someone to speak with, and she directed him upstairs to the
business office. Ibid. Lacy walked up to the first
open door he saw. A man in the office asked how he could
help, and Lacy explained that he did not have any money,
food, or clothes. Ibid. Lacy testified that the man
in the office was dark, tall, bald, and did not look like the
pastor. Ibid. They conversed for five to fifteen
minutes, while Lacy sat in a chair in front of the desk.
Ibid. At the end of the conversation, Lacy and the
man stood at the side of the desk and the man put a hand over
Lacy's head and prayed over him. Ibid. Lacy did
not recall whether or not he touched the desk, but he
acknowledged the possibility of his doing so while denying
that he touched any item on the desk. Ibid. He then
left the church and never returned, and stated that he would
not burglarize a church because it was not moral.
court found Lacy guilty of burglary. Id. at ¶
10. Lacy appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient
to sustain a conviction. The Appellate Court of Illinois
affirmed the conviction, id. at ¶ 28, and the
Supreme Court of Illinois denied leave to appeal, People
v. Lacey, 21 N.E.3d 716 (Table) (Ill. 2014).
Fourth Amendment claim can be dispatched quickly. For one,
Lacy argues only that his arrest was illegal, not that any
illegally acquired evidence was used against him at trial.
Doc. 6 at 5; Doc. 13 at 5-8. Second, even if Lacy had raised
a genuine exclusionary rule argument, he would not be
entitled to habeas relief because he has not alleged, let
alone shown, that the state court denied him a fair hearing
on any Fourth Amendment claim. See Stone v. Powell,
428 U.S. 465, 494 (1976) (“[W]here the State has
provided an opportunity for full and fair litigation of a
Fourth Amendment claim, a state prisoner may not be granted
federal habeas corpus relief on the ground that evidence
obtained in an unconstitutional search or seizure was
introduced at his trial.”); Monroe v. Davis,
712 F.3d 1106, 1113 (7th Cir. 2013) (“Relief on a
Fourth Amendment claim thus requires a habeas petitioner to
show two things: (1) that the state court denied him a full
and fair hearing on his claim, and (2) that the claim was
leaves Lacy's insufficient evidence claim. “Federal
habeas relief may not be granted for claims subject to §
2254(d) unless it is shown that the earlier state court's
decision ‘was contrary to' federal law then clearly
established in the holdings of [the Supreme] Court, §
2254(d)(1); or that it ‘involved an unreasonable
application of' such law, § 2254(d)(1); or that it
‘was based on an unreasonable determination of the
facts' in light of the record before the state court,
§ 2254(d)(2).” Harrington v. Richter, 562
U.S. 86, 100 (2011) (one citation omitted). Lacy does not
dispute any of the facts upon which the state appellate court
relied in rejecting his insufficient evidence argument, so
the court will consider his petition under § 2254(d)(1)
court's decision is “contrary to” clearly
established federal law within the meaning of §
2254(d)(1) “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 did]
on a set of materially indistinguishable facts.”
Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002). To obtain
relief under the “unreasonable application” prong
of § 2254(d)(1), “a state prisoner must show that
the state court's ruling on the claim being presented in
federal court was so lacking in justification that there was
an error well understood and comprehended in existing law
beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.”
Richter, 562 U.S. at 103. “For purposes of
§ 2254(d)(1), an unreasonable application of
federal law is different from an incorrect
application of federal law.” Id. at 101
(internal quotation marks ...