United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM T. HART, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is before the court on Petitioner Craig Rashaan
Lomax's (Lomax) pro se petition for writ of
habeas corpus (Petition) brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
2254 (Section 2254) and Respondent Michael Melvin's
(Respondent) motion to lift stay and dismiss (Motion). For
the reasons stated below, the Petition is denied and the
Motion is granted.
a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois,
Lomax was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, two
counts of aggravated kidnapping, three counts of armed
robbery, and two counts of aggravated battery. People v.
Lomax, 2011 IL App (1st) 092186-U, ¶ 1. Lomax was
sentenced to two concurrent terms of natural life
imprisonment for the murder convictions, a concurrent
twenty-year sentence for one of the armed robbery
convictions, and two five-year sentences for the aggravated
battery convictions to run consecutively to the armed robbery
sentence. Lomax, 2011 IL App (1st) 092186-U, ¶
8. Lomax filed an appeal contending that the trial court had
erred in denying Lomax's motion to suppress his pre-trial
statements to police, and the trial court's denial of
Lomax's motion and its judgment were affirmed on July 22,
2011. Lomax, 2011 IL App (1st) 092186-U,
¶¶ 1, 21. Lomax then filed a petition for leave to
appeal (PLA) with the Illinois Supreme Court, which was
denied November 30, 2011. People v. Lomax, 962
N.E.2d 486 (table) (Ill. 2011).
filed a post-conviction petition raising an alleged
Brady violation on October 22, 2012 which was
dismissed on December 11, 2012, and the dismissal was
affirmed on December 12, 2014. People v. Lomax, 2014 IL
App (1st) 130477-U, ¶¶ 1, 4, 30. Lomax subsequently
filed a PLA, which was denied March 25, 2015. People v.
Lomax, 31 N.E.3d 771 (table) (Ill. 2015).
then filed a habeas petition in the Circuit Court of Cook
County on July 24, 2015 which was dismissed August 25, 2015.
Pet. pp. 144, 162. Lomax filed a motion for leave to file a
late notice of appeal in the Illinois Appellate Court on
January 12, 2016, which was denied January 22, 2016. Mot. Ex.
then filed a motion for leave to file a successive
post-conviction petition on March 9, 2016 based on the
alleged Brady violation. Mot. Ex. K.
August 29, 2016, Lomax filed the present Petition. Pet. p. 1.
September 28, 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court denied
Lomax's PLA from the Appellate Court denial of
Lomax's motion for leave to file a late notice of appeal
(from the dismissal of Lomax's state habeas petition).
Mot. Ex. J.
October 7, 2016, this court stayed the proceedings regarding
the Petition pending Lomax's ongoing state proceedings.
Circuit Court of Cook County denied Lomax's motion for
leave to file a successive post-conviction petition on
September 22, 2017. Mot. Ex. L.
Respondent moves to lift the stay and dismiss the Petition on
the ground that it is untimely. See 28 U.S.C. §
individual in custody pursuant to state court judgment may
seek a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Section 2254, which
provides the following:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a
person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court
shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was
adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless
the adjudication of the claim--(1) resulted in a decision
that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application
of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the
Supreme Court of the United States; or (2) resulted in a
decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of
the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State
28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). The decision made by a state court
is deemed to be contrary to clearly established federal law
“‘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 has]
done on a set of materially indistinguishable
facts.'” Emerson v. Shaw, 575 F.3d 680,
684 (7th Cir. 2009)(quoting Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S.
685, 694 (2002)). The decision by a state court is deemed to
involve an unreasonable application of clearly established
federal law “‘if the state court correctly
identifies the governing legal principle from [Supreme Court]
decisions but unreasonably applies it to the facts of the
particular case.'” Emerson, 575 F.3d at
684 (quoting Bell, 535 U.S. at 694).
court has liberally construed Lomax's pro se
filings. See Parker v. Four Seasons Hotels, Ltd.,
845 F.3d 807, 811 (7th Cir. 2017)(stating that a “trial
court is obligated to liberally construe a pro se
plaintiff's pleadings”)(citing Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Kelley v.
Zoeller, 800 F.3d 318, 325 (7th Cir. 2015); Nichols
v. Mich. City Plant Planning Dep't, 755 F.3d 594,
500 (7th Cir. 2014)); Greer v. Board of Educ. of City of
Chicago, Ill., 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir.
2001)(indicating that a court should “liberally
construe the pleadings of individuals who proceed pro
se”). Lomax asserts in the Petition: that the
State committed a Brady violation by failing to
disclose that it had paid to relocate one of its witnesses
(Claims 1 and 4), that Lomax's ...