Illinois Post-Conviction Blog

Timely updates on Illinois post-conviction law

Illinois Post-Conviction Blog is owned and operated by attorney Nate Nieman, a post-conviction and appellate lawyer in Rock Island, IL. The IPCB was created as a resource for criminal defense lawyers and clients seeking to keep abreast of the quickly developing body of law concerning criminal collateral attacks in Illinois state courts. The IPCB is specifically focused on providing timely reporting and analysis of recent decisions involving Illinois’ Post-Conviction Hearing Act, §2-1401 petitions, state habeas corpus and mandamus actions, and the like.

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The appellant in People v. Dixon, 2019 IL App (1st) 160443 appealed the decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County to deny him access to his trial attorney’s file, after moving to represent himself, on the grounds that denial of access to those files rendered his waiver of post-conviction counsel invalid. The Appellate Court of Illinois First District ultimately reversed and remanded for new second-stage postconviction proceedings. Following a conviction at jury trial for first degree murder and aggravated battery, appellant Charles Dixon, expressing dissatisfaction with his representation, filed motions to discharge his attorney. Id. at ¶ 8.…
The appellant in People v. Knapp, 2019 IL App (2d) 160162 appealed the decision of the Circuit Court of McHenry County to summarily dismiss his pro se petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel on grounds that the record positively rebutted his claims. The Appellate Court of Illinois Second District reviewed and ultimately affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of McHenry County and assessed statutory State’s Attorney Fees. Following a conviction at trial for attempted first degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery and mob action, appellant Justin Knapp was sentenced to 16 years in Illinois Department of Corrections.…
The appellant in People v. Galvan, 2019 IL App (1st) 170150, appealed the decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County to dismiss his third-stage successive post-conviction petition on the grounds that the trial court misapplied the standard and made improper findings in regard to the petitioner’s actual innocence claims and failed to address several arguments related to Galvan’s denial of due process claims. The Appellate Court of Illinois First Judicial District reviewed and ultimately reversed the judgment of the trial court, granted appellant’s third-stage successive postconviction petition, and remanded. Following conviction at a jury trial for aggravated arson…
In the People v. Hoover, 2019 IL App (2d) 170070, the Appellate Court of Illinois Second District reviewed and ultimately affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Stephenson County denying Hoover leave to file a successive petition under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act, on the grounds that the proposed petition did not satisfy the cause and prejudice prongs of section 122-1(f) of the Act. Following a reneged-upon plea deal, confession and jury trial, appellant Michael Hoover was found guilty of first degree murder and armed robbery in July of 1994. Id. at ¶ 2-6. At sentencing, the court heard…
The appellant in People v. Conway, 2019 IL App (2d) 170197, appealed the decision of the Circuit Court of Winnebago County denying leave to file a second petition for post-conviction relief under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act, on the grounds that the State improperly participated in the trial court’s determination regarding leave. The Appellate Court of Illinois Second District reviewed and ultimately affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. Following a conviction at trial for armed robbery, appellant Erick D. Conway was sentenced to life imprisonment as a habitual criminal. Id. at ¶ 3. Conway’s conviction was…
In People v. Morales, 2019 IL App (1st) 160225, the First District Appellate Court reviewed and ultimately reversed the decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County dismissing Morales’ post-conviction petition at the first stage of proceedings, and remanded for second-stage proceedings consistent with the Post-Conviction Hearing Act. Appellant Ismael Morales was convicted at trial, along with five codefendants, of the 2007 robbery and murder of Francisco Reyes. The decisions in Morales’ (and codefendants’) case have been the subject of numerous appeals before the court, a number of which have resulted in remands for new trial. The subject of the…
On May 31, Illinois House Bill 1438, better known as the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, passed the Illinois House of Representatives by a vote of 66-47. The Act now awaits the signature of Governor J.B. Pritzker – a vocal supporter of the bill – prior to making Illinois the 11thstate in the United States to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. Once the Act is signed, the sale, possession, production (through the licensure system) and recreational use of marijuana by persons 21 years or older will become legal in Illinois, effective January 1, 2020. In addition to ending the…
In the People of the State of Illinois v. Luster T. Scott, 2019 IL App (2d) 160439, the Appellate Court of Illinois Second District reviewed and ultimately affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Du Page County to dismiss appellant’s pro se post-conviction petition at the second stage of proceedings. Appellant Luster Scott was adjudicated guilty at trial of two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, as well as one count each of attempted vehicular hijacking, attempted armed robbery, aggravated battery with a firearm, and aggravated battery. These charges were related to a December 11, 2002 shooting in…
In the People v. Burns (2019 IL App (4th) 170018), the Appellate Court of Illinois Fourth District reviewed and ultimately overturned the decision of the Circuit Court of Macon County to grant the State’s motion for dismissal of defendant’s amended pro se post-conviction petition. Appellant Emerson T. Burns was convicted of first-degree murder of his six-month-old child, A.S. and sentenced to 50 years in prison following a bench trial in June 2011. Immediately thereafter, appellant unsuccessfully appealed his conviction, which was affirmed by the Appellate Court of Illinois Fourth District. Id. at ¶ 5. In December 2013, pursuant to…
The appellant in People v. Allen, 2019 IL App (1st) 162985, appealed the decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County denying leave to file his third successive pro se petition on the grounds that appellant’s mental illness renders him incapable of meeting the threshold burden of showing an arguably meritorious claim. Appellant Allen was convicted of home invasion and the first-degree murder of his sister, Debbie Whitebear. Id. at ¶ 4. During appellant’s trial proceedings, Allen was diagnosed with a “psychotic delusional disorder.” Id. at ¶ 6. Appellant’s diagnosis, made following the examination and testimony (at a fitness…
On May 8, 2019, the Appellate Court of Illinois Fourth District, having previously denied appellant Demario D. Reed’s appeal of the Macon County Circuit Court’s decision to deny post-conviction relief in People v. Reed, 2019 IL App (4th) 170090, re-affirmed their judgment (originally filed on March 27, 2019) and denied a subsequent petition for re-hearing. The court’s background and analysis in the modified opinion remains largely the same, yet the analysis section is augmented significantly by their revised consideration of the precedential value of People v. Shaw, 2018 IL App (1st) 152994. Shaw was initially cited by appellant in his…
In People v. Buffer, 2019 IL 122327, the Illinois Supreme Court reviewed, and ultimately affirmed, an appellate court’s decision to overturn the Cook County circuit court’s dismissal of a pro se post-conviction petition filed by the petitioner, Dimitri Buffer. The petition asserted that a 50-year prison sentence for a crime committed by a 16-year-old was unconstitutional, as applied to the petitioner. The circuit court of Cook County initially dismissed the petition, yet their dismissal was promptly reversed by the appellate court, who held that the petitioner’s sentence was “imposed without consideration of his youth and its attendant characteristics” Id. at ¶…
The appellant in People v. Reed, 2019 IL App (4th) 170090 No. 4-17-0090 appealed the decision of the Macon County circuit court to deny post- conviction relief to defendant, Demario Reed. Reed was serving a prison sentence of 15 years for armed violence (720 ILCS 5/33A-2(a), 33A-3(a) (West 2014)), when he filed a post-conviction petition, arguing that “newly discovered evidence he presented to the court in the postconviction hearing proved, clearly and convincingly, that he actually was innocent” of the charges for which pled guilty as part of a negotiated plea deal with the State. Id. at ¶ 1. Prior…
The petitioner in People v. Howery, 2018 IL App (3d) 160603 appealed the denial of his pro se motion for leave to file a successive post-conviction petition and motion for discovery. While serving a life sentence for four counts of first-degree murder, four counts of felony murder, and one count of aggravated assault, petitioner unsuccessfully appealed his convictions and sentence in 2007 (People v. Howery, No. 3-05-0674) and 2011 (People v. Howery, 2011 IL App (3d) 090650-U). Following both appeals, petitioner filed a pro se motion for leave to file a successive post-conviction petition, alleging that “new developments in the field of fire…