Illinois Post-Conviction Blog

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.

Latest from Illinois Post-Conviction Blog - Page 2

The appellant in People v. Johnson, 2019 IL App (2d) 170646, appealed the decision of the trial court denying his motion for leave to file a successive post-conviction petition. The Second District ultimately affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

Derron Johnson was found guilty of first degree murder, based on the theory that he was accountable for the conduct of another individual, Andrew Proctor, who committed the acts resulting in the victim’s death. Johnson was subsequently sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment. On direct appeal, the appellate court affirmed the conviction and sentence. Id. at ¶ 3.

Johnson filed
Continue Reading Appellate Court holds that petitioner’s 27-year sentence is not de facto life sentence

The appellant in People v. Coffey, 2020 IL App (3d) 160427, appealed the trial court’s order denying his motion for leave to file a successive post-conviction petition, arguing on appeal that the trial court erred in permitting the State to participate in the proceedings on the motion to reconsider the denial of his motion for leave. The Third District ultimately vacated the decision of the circuit court and remanded for new proceedings for the trial court to consider the motion for leave without participation from the State.

Coffey was convicted at a bench trial of first-degree murder and sentenced
Continue Reading Appellate Court holds that State cannot participate in motion to reconsider denial motion for leave to file successive petition

The appellant in People v. Gunn, 2019 IL App (4th) 170653, appealed the trial court’s order dismissing his amended post-conviction petition at the second-stage of proceedings, arguing that the petition made a substantial showing of a constitutional violation. Ultimately, the Appellate Court of Illinois Fourth District reversed the decision of the circuit court and remanded for a third-stage evidentiary hearing.

Kendall Gunn was charged by indictment with three counts of first-degree murder for causing the death of Shane Howard. At trial, both the State and defense presented evidence and elicited witness testimony indicating that Gunn may have acted in
Continue Reading Order denying post-conviction petition reversed where trial counsel promised in opening statement that defendant would testify and then advised defendant not to testify during trial

The appellant in People v. Hawkins, 2019 IL App (3d) 160682, appealed the trial court’s order dismissing his pro se post-conviction petition at the second stage on the grounds that the court erred by ordering that he be shackled without stating the reasons for doing so and that post-conviction counsel failed to comply with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 651(c). The Appellate Court of Illinois Third District ultimately vacated the circuit court’s order and remanded for new second-stage proceedings, beginning with the appointment of new post-conviction counsel.

Anthony Hawkins was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated unlawful use of a
Continue Reading Appellate Court reverses order denying post-conviction petition because pro se petitioner was shackled during second-stage proceedings

The appellant in People v. Thornton, 2019 IL App (1st) 170677, appealed the trial court’s decision dismissing his pro se petition for  post-conviction relief on grounds that he stated an arguable claim that his 70-year sentence, for a crime he committed as a juvenile, is an unconstitutional de facto life sentence and remand is necessary as the circuit court failed to properly admonish him, pursuant to People v. Shellstrom, 216 Ill. 2d 45, before re-characterizing his petition. The First District ultimately vacated his sentence and remanded the matter for a new sentencing hearing.

Altai Thornton entered an open guilty
Continue Reading Appellate Court vacates petitioner’s 70-year sentence as being a de facto life sentence, even though his sentence was day-for-day eligible

The appellant in People v. Johnson, 2019 IL App (1st) 162999, appealed the trial court’s order dismissing his petition for post-conviction relief at the second stage, where Johnson argued that his trial counsel and appellate counsel were ineffective. The  First District ultimately affirmed the decision of the circuit court, finding that the issues raised by Johnson had been litigated prior to trial and, thus, neither his trial counsel nor his appellate counsel could be ineffective for failing to raise it.

Michael Johnson was convicted of acting as a hit man for a drug dealer, Marc Norfleet, and killing a
Continue Reading Appellate Court holds that second-stage dismissal was proper where claim had already been litigated before trial

The appellant in People v. Pabello, 2019 IL App (2d) 170867, appealed the trial court’s order deny his post-conviction petition following a third-stage hearing. The Second District ultimately affirmed the judgment of the circuit court, finding that post-conviction counsel provided reasonable assistance.
Pabello was convicted of two counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child in Lake County. Id. at ¶ 3. On appeal, this court affirmed. Pabello then filed a pro se post-conviction petition, which advanced to the second stage of proceedings, resulting in the appointment of post-conviction counsel. Counsel amended the petition pursuant to Illinois Supreme
Continue Reading Second District holds that “Reasonableness” standard governs post-conviction counsel’s performance at third stage

The appellant in People v. Johnson, 2019 IL App (1st) 163169 appealed the trial court’s order dismissing his pro se petition for post-conviction relief on standing grounds. The First District affirmed the decision of the trial court.
Recardo Johnson pled guilty to unlawful restraint in exchange for a sentence of two years’ imprisonment. Upon entering his plea, Johnson stated that he understood he was giving up certain rights by pleading guilty, including his right to plead not guilty and have a jury trial. Johnson confirmed that he was not threatened or promised anything in exchange for his plea. Id. at
Continue Reading Appellate Court holds that trial court can dismiss petition on standing grounds at first stage

The appellant in People v. Handy, 2019 IL App (1st) 170213 appealed the trial court’s decision denying him leave to file a successive post-conviction petition, arguing that he met the cause-and-prejudice test. The First District ultimately affirmed the decision of the circuit court.
Dante Handy was convicted of armed robbery, home invasion, residential burglary, aggravated battery of a senior citizen, kidnapping, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle, for which he was sentenced to  four consecutive 30-year prison terms. Handy was 18 ½ years old when he committed the crimes. As a result of violations
Continue Reading First District holds that adult cannot rely on Miller or Proportionate Penalties Clause to argue de facto life sentence

The appellant in People v. Gallano, 2019 IL App (1st) 160570 appealed the trial court’s decision dismissing his post-conviction petition on the grounds that post-conviction counsel failed to comply with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 651(c) by failing to amend the petition to include notarized affidavits from two potential witnesses. The Appellate Court of Illinois First District ultimately affirmed the judgment of the circuit court.
Gallano was found guilty at a jury trial of first-degree murder and concealment of homicidal death and sentenced to concurrent prison terms of 60 years and 5 years, respectively. Id. at ¶ 5. The initial conviction
Continue Reading Counsel did not provide unreasonable assistance of counsel where claims were meritless

The appellant in People v. Moore, 2019 IL App (3d) 170485, appealed the trial court’s order denying his motion for leave to file a successive post-conviction petition on the grounds that appointed counsel provided unreasonable assistance. The Third District ultimately affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
Moore was found guilty of seven counts of first-degree murder and one count each of home invasion, aggravated criminal sexual assault, robbery, residential burglary, and arson. Appellant was sentenced to death, which was subsequently commuted by Governor George Ryan (in 2003) to a term of natural life imprisonment. Id. at ¶ 3. Thirteen years
Continue Reading Court holds that petitioner does not have right to counsel (or to complain about counsel) before court grants motion for leave to file successive petition

The appellant in People v. Borizov, 2019 IL App (2d) 170004 appealed the decision of the trial court dismissing his pro se post-conviction petition, which alleged ineffective assistance of appellate counsel for failing to raise each issue in the motion for a new trial. The Appellate Court of Illinois Second District affirmed the decision of the circuit court.
Borizov was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of solicitation to commit murder. Following conviction, Borizov filed a motion for new trial, alleging 31 trial errors. One of the alleged errors was that a juror should have been
Continue Reading Appellate Counsel was not Ineffective for Failing to Brief All Issues in Motion for New Trial

The basic facts of People v. Buchanan, 2019 IL App (2d) 180194 are not very notable. The defendant was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. The defendant later filed a 2-1401 petition, alleging that his conviction and sentence were void because an associate judge presided over his case. The petition was dismissed, the defendant appealed, and the Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD) was appointed.
OSAD then moved to withdraw in the Appellate Court under Pennsylvania v. Finley and People v. Lee, arguing that Buchanan’s claim was properly dismissed by the trial court. What the Appellate
Continue Reading Appellate Court Questions Whether Appellate Defender’s Office Should Handle Post-Conviction Appeals

The appellant in People v. Abdullah, 2019 IL 123492 appealed the trial court’s order denying his petition for relief from judgement pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the decision of the circuit court, with directions.

Abdullah was charged and convicted of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and aggravated battery with a firearm in June 2005. Id. at ¶ 3. Abdullah was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of 40 years (for first degree murder) and 20 years (for attempted first degree murder). Shortly thereafter, the State filed a
Continue Reading Ill. Sup. Ct. holds that State’s motion to reconsider sentence could not be heard after defendant filed notice of appeal

In People v. Bates, 2019 IL 124143, the Illinois Supreme Court was asked to decide whether statements made by counsel during a hearing on a motion for new trial, stating his surprise at the depth of evidence introduced and admission that he would have had the evidence tested by experts if he’d known the depth, constituted an admission of ineffective assistance of counsel requiring a Krankel hearing.
Bates was originally arrested and charged with home invasion, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and other crimes arising from two separate incidents. Id. at ¶ 3. The state alleged crimes against two separate
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court holds that trial court is not required to conduct Krankel inquiry unless it is initiated by the defendant

The appellant in People v. Fathauer, 2019 IL App (4th) 180241 appealed the trial court’s order dismissing his post-conviction petition on grounds that the court erred by granting post-conviction counsel’s motion to withdraw in light of a stated claim for ineffective assistance of counsel and post-conviction counsel’s failure to amend his pro se petition. The Fourth District Appellate Court affirmed.

Fathauer was originally convicted of participation in methamphetamine manufacturing and obstruction of justice, and sentenced to concurrent terms of 20 years and 3 years imprisonment. Id. at ¶ 1. On direct appeal, both his conviction and sentence were affirmed
Continue Reading Trial court properly granted Kuehner motion where post-conviction counsel provided evidence that claims were frivolous