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Lamb v. Smith

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

October 11, 2019

ANTOINE LAMB, M15463, Petitioner,
v.
KIM SMITH, Warden, Taylorville Correctional Center, Respondent.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          SARA L. ELLIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Petitioner Antoine Lamb, currently incarcerated at Taylorville Correctional Center, is serving a seven-year sentence for aggravated criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault by force, and criminal sexual assault by a person holding a position of authority. Lamb has petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Lamb raises three grounds for relief: (1) ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failing to file a motion to suppress Lamb's statements, (2) ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel, and (3) the trial court's imposition of an indefinite mandatory supervised release (“MSR”) term in violation of state sentencing guidelines and the Double Jeopardy Clause. This Court reaches Lamb's claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel; however, Lamb has not shown that the state court's decision on this issue was contrary to or an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. The Court finds the remainder of Lamb's claims procedurally defaulted or not cognizable on federal habeas review. Thus, the Court denies Lamb's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

         BACKGROUND

         The following facts are drawn from the state appellate court opinions on direct and post-conviction review. The Court presumes that the state court's factual determinations are correct for the purposes of habeas review because Lamb has not pointed to clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Todd v. Schomig, 283 F.3d 842, 846 (7th Cir. 2002). The Court thus adopts the state court's recitation of the facts and begins by summarizing the facts relevant to the petition.

         I. Lamb's Trial

         On April 25, 2009, Lamb, his girlfriend at the time (L.D.), the victim (S.S.), and S.S.' brothers were playing cards and drinking at L.D.'s home. At the time of the incident, S.S. was almost fifteen years old. L.D. had one glass of vodka, and Lamb drank the remainder of the bottle. Between midnight and one a.m., the game ended, and everyone dispersed. S.S. went downstairs to watch the end of a movie.

         After the movie ended, S.S. went up to her room. S.S. closed the door but did not lock it. She then got into bed wearing a tank top, bra, and black track shorts. S.S.' bed had two sheets on it; S.S. only got under the first sheet. S.S. heard her bedroom door open and Lamb enter. Lamb proceeded to get into bed with S.S. Lamb asked if S.S. saw him as a father figure, to which S.S. agreed. Lamb left after fifteen to twenty minutes.

         S.S. left the room thereafter, going downstairs for a brief window of time. She heard a door open and shut and returned to her room believing Lamb had gone to bed. S.S. got back in bed, under both sheets. A few moments later, Lamb reentered S.S.' room and got under both sheets. S.S. testified that Lamb began to touch her during this encounter, removing her shorts. She said Lamb touched “her butt” and her “vaginal area.” Doc. 12-9 ¶ 8. Lamb did not say anything and left the room shortly after.

         After Lamb left the bedroom, S.S. got up, put on her shorts, and returned to bed. After a short period of time, Lamb reentered the bedroom again. Lamb got back into the bed with S.S. and asked why she had put her shorts back on. S.S. did not answer Lamb. Lamb asked S.S. to take off the shorts, and, when she did not comply, he took them off for her. S.S. testified that Lamb began touching her again and tried to “stick his penis inside [her] vagina area.” Id. ¶ 9 (alteration in original). S.S. further testified that Lamb was “on top of” her and that she started to scream. Id. S.S. pushed Lamb, and he left the room. Before leaving, Lamb said “I'm still the same old grouchy Darnall.”[1] Id. S.S. put her underwear in the corner of her closet and then went downstairs. She fell asleep in front of the television.

         S.S. did not tell anyone of the incident that night. The next morning, Lamb drove S.S. and her brothers to their grandmother's house. Lamb dropped the siblings off and picked them up later that afternoon. S.S. had planned on telling her grandmother about the incident but decided against it because her grandmother had been sick.

         On Monday, at school, S.S. told one of her friends about the incident. Another friend saw her crying and came over to help. S.S. told both of them what had happened. S.S.' friends took her to speak to a coach. Afterward, L.D. took her to the hospital.

         Later that day, two police officers waited at Lamb's home for him to return from work. The officers took Lamb to the police station for questioning. Lamb was not under arrest at this time. The detectives read Lamb his Miranda warnings. Lamb acknowledged his rights and agreed to speak to the officers.

         Lamb initially told the police officers that he remembered playing the card game, going to bed, and then waking up on the couch. He claimed not to remember anything in between the game and waking up. After about an hour, the officers told Lamb that S.S. made an allegation against him. Lamb informed the detectives that he did not see S.S. in that way, stating that “if it happened, it was an accident, ” and then “I didn't do it. I don't remember, but it's possible if she says it.” Id. ¶ 21. He acknowledged that he had not known S.S. to be a liar. Lamb also said that his biggest fear was that he did it and now owed S.S. an apology. Lamb also provided a written statement along these lines. The following day, officers again interviewed Lamb, reading Lamb his Miranda rights and proceeding after Lamb agreed to speak with the officers. During this second interview, when asked if Lamb recalled entering S.S.' bed, Lamb responded, “I don't doubt that it probably happened.” Id. ¶ 23.

         The state charged Lamb in a five-count indictment, with Lamb proceeding to a jury trial on May 10, 2010, on three of the counts. S.S., L.D., one of S.S.' brothers, and two of S.S.' friends testified. Two of the officers who conducted the investigation also testified, as did two forensic scientists who tested a sexual assault evidence collection kit taken from S.S., and the nurse who collected that kit. The nurse noted she did not observe any trauma on S.S.' body but that such a finding was not unusual. Although chemical tests ...


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