United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable Thomas M. Durkin, United States District Judge
Andres Coronado brings this habeas corpus action pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging his armed habitual criminal
and armed robbery convictions in Illinois state court. For
the following reasons, the Court denies Coronado's
petition and declines to issue a certificate of
State Court Conviction
following facts are taken from the Illinois appellate
court's opinion on direct appeal from Coronado's
conviction. At about 10 a.m. on November 6, 2009, two
men entered Amigo's Gifts in Bensenville, Illinois to rob
it. People v. Coronado, 2012 IL App (2d) 110574-U,
¶ 2. A man in a grey hooded sweatshirt pointed a gun at
Hyo Lim, the proprietor of Amigo's, and “grabbed
the cash register on the counter.” Id. Lim
struggled briefly with the man until the second man jumped
over the counter and pushed Lim to the ground. Id.
Both men left the store after emptying the register.
Id. Lim was unable to identify the robbers.
Id. Coronado became a suspect based on an anonymous
phone call to the police. Id. ¶ 5.
papers for a van owned by Vincente Nunez were recovered at
the crime scene. Id. ¶ 3. Nunez testified at
trial that he loaned his yellow van to two men he knew as
Andres and Rudy in November 2009. Id. The van's
insurance papers were missing when Nunez got the van back.
Id. Jennifer Cones, a forensic scientist, testified
at trial that she had processed fingerprints recovered from
the counter at Amigo's Gifts and from the van insurance
papers. Id. ¶ 6. She testified that she matched
those fingerprints to Coronado's. Id. The jury
convicted Coronado of armed robbery and being an armed
habitual criminal under 720 ILCS 5/24-1.7(a)(1), and the
Court sentenced him to 28 years in prison. 2012 IL App (2d)
110574-U, ¶¶ 1; 7.
appealed his conviction, arguing that the trial court erred
by permitting Cones to testify that the fingerprints were
Coronado's without proper foundation. Id. ¶
8. The State responded that Coronado forfeited the issue by
failing to timely object. Id. The appellate court
agreed with the State and affirmed the conviction.
Id. ¶¶ 9-19.
appellate court found that Coronado “forfeited the
issue” of “the lack of foundation for Cones's
opinion” by failing to contemporaneously object or to
specifically object on this basis in pre-trial or post-trial
filings. Id. ¶¶ 13-16. The appellate court
explained that the operation of a forfeiture rule
“‘is particularly appropriate when a defendant
argues that the State failed to lay the proper technical
foundation for the admission of evidence, and a
defendant's lack of a timely and specific objection
deprives the State of the opportunity to correct any
deficiency in the foundational proof at the trial
level.'” Id. ¶ 14 (quoting People
v. McNeal, 955 N.E.2d 32, 53 (1st Dist. 2010)).
appellate court further concluded that “[e]ven
disregarding the forfeiture, the trial court properly
admitted the [fingerprint] evidence.” Id.
¶ 17. The court explained that “[o]nly where a
foundation is completely lacking does the issue become one of
admissibility.” Id. The court noted that Cones
“never testified to the number of points of comparison
that she found, the State did not introduce the scanned
images of the latent prints, Cones did not state which of
defendant's prints correspond with the latent lifts, and
the Automated Fingerprint Identification System record prints
were not before the jury.” Id. ¶ 10. But
Cones “testified in detail about processing the
fingerprints” in “nearly 30 pages” of
direct testimony, and “defense counsel extensively
cross-examined Cones about fingerprint analysis in general
and about her work on this case” in
“approximately 25 pages” of cross-examination.
Id. ¶¶ 13, 17. The court concluded that
“[t]here was more than sufficient foundation here that
the trial court was not required to strike, sua
sponte, Cones's testimony.” Id.
renewed his expert foundation argument, along with
ineffectiveness of trial and appellate counsel arguments, in
a pro se petition for leave to appeal
(“PLA”) to the Illinois Supreme Court. R. 11-4.
The Illinois Supreme Court denied Coronado's PLA on
November 27, 2013. People v. Coronado, 2 N.E.3d 1047
State Post-Conviction Proceedings
October 22, 2014, Coronado filed a pro se
post-conviction petition in state court arguing, among other
things, insufficiency of the evidence, defects in the
fingerprint evidence, ineffective assistance of trial counsel
for failure to object to the admission of the fingerprint
evidence, and ineffective assistance of appellate counsel for
failing to argue trial counsel's ineffectiveness. R. 1 at
39-46. The state court denied Coronado's post-conviction
petition on November 4, 2014. Id. at 3. Coronado did
not appeal because, in his view, the “[s]ame issues
already have been presented and denied by [the] Illinois
Supreme Court [ ] by way of denial of [the] PLA.”
Federal Post-Conviction Proceedings
filed his pro se petition for a writ of habeas
corpus in this Court on March 18, 2015, arguing that: (1) he
is actually innocent; (2) he was denied his “14th
Amendment Right” because the state court did not
resolve his claim regarding the foundation for Cones's
expert fingerprint testimony; and (3) his conviction violates
the Eighth Amendment because he was “convicted and
incarcerated without substantial proof.” R. 1 at 5-6.
Korte filed an answer to Coronado's petition arguing that
Coronado's claims are procedurally defaulted and