Adefeyinti v. Varga, Case No. 15 C 0704

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
Writing for the CourtAMY J. ST. EVE, District Court Judge
PartiesADEKUNLE ADEFEYINTI, (#M32077), Petitioner, v. JOHN VARGA, Warden, Dixon Correctional Center, Respondent.
Decision Date19 July 2016
Docket NumberCase No. 15 C 0704

ADEKUNLE ADEFEYINTI, (#M32077), Petitioner,
v.
JOHN VARGA,1 Warden, Dixon Correctional Center, Respondent.

Case No. 15 C 0704

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION

July 19, 2016


MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Court Judge:

Before the Court is pro se Petitioner Adekunle Adefeyinti's petition for a writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). For the following reasons, the Court denies Petitioner's habeas petition and declines to certify any issues for appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).

BACKGROUND

When considering habeas petitions, federal courts must presume the factual findings made by the last state court to decide the case on the merits are correct unless the habeas petitioner rebuts those findings by clear and convincing evidence. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Miller v. Zatecky, 820 F.3d 275, 280 (7th Cir. 2016). Where Petitioner has not provided clear and convincing evidence to rebut this presumption, the following factual background is based on the Illinois Appellate Court's findings in People v. Adefeyinti, No. 1-12-3388, 2014 IL App (1st)

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12388-U (1st Dist. July 22, 2014) (unpublished).

I. Factual Background

The State charged Petitioner by indictment in connection with a June 12, 2011 incident involving an individual identified as J.C. At Petitioner's 2012 bench trial, J.C. testified that on June 12, 2011, she was in the vicinity of 47th Street and Cicero Avenue on the south side of Chicago working as a prostitute. She explained that Petitioner drove up to her in a black limousine, after which they agreed to oral and vaginal sex in exchange for $150. Further, J.C. testified that Petitioner wanted her to go with him to his house and smoke marijuana, but he had to first switch his car and change out of his work attire at the limousine company where he worked. Initially, J.C. rode in the front seat of the limousine, but later moved to the back because Petitioner did not want anyone to see her. After driving on the expressway, Petitioner parked the limousine in a parking lot and climbed into the back seat. At that time, J.C. asked him for money. Petitioner showed J.C. his wallet, but did not give her any money. Petitioner and J.C. then had oral and vaginal sex. They left the limousine and went to Petitioner's car.

Shortly thereafter, J.C. asked Petitioner if she could smoke in the car. When Petitioner said no, J.C. exited Petitioner's car and smoked a cigarette near the passenger side of the vehicle. She scratched the license plate number on a pack of matches because she thought the situation was suspicious. Next, J.C. testified that Petitioner then "tried to beat her to the door" of the car, hit the gas, and pulled away while J.C. was hanging off the side of the car. She specifically testified that Petitioner "saw me standing right there, he looked right at me and hit the gas and tried to run me into ... a yellow minivan." After Petitioner fled, J.C. made her way to a Chicago Transit Authority ("CTA") train station and asked a man for a phone so she could call home.

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Her next memory was of waking up in the hospital.

At the hospital, J.C. spoke to Chicago Police Detective Joan Burke, who later took J.C. to certain locations in Chicago to trigger her memory, at which time J.C. located Petitioner's limousine at a limousine housing station. Later, J.C. identified Petitioner from a photographic array and a physical lineup at the police station. J.C. also testified about the severity of her injuries, including her facial paralysis, as well as the damage to her clothing and a ring that she had been wearing on the day of the incident.

On cross-examination, J.C. denied meeting Petitioner two or three weeks prior to the June 12, 2011 incident. She also denied that she called Petitioner on the day of the incident to meet him and go to a party. She stated, however, that she could not recall if she told Detective Burke that Petitioner planned on withdrawing $600 from an ATM to split with her. Instead, she testified that Petitioner wanted her "to swipe the card to get some money off the card" and that she would receive $150 while Petitioner would keep the rest of the money. She further stated that Petitioner told her that he shares his ATM card with his wife and that Petitioner's wife did not know he had the card at that time. Petitioner told J.C. that if she swiped the card for him, his wife would think the card was stolen. Furthermore, J.C. recalled Petitioner receiving telephone calls from a female while they were in the car and that Petitioner explained to the female how to fix a television.

Also on cross-examination, J.C. clarified that when Petitioner drove away, her feet were on the running board of the car. She explained that by the time she got on the running board, Petitioner looked at her and then took off. In addition, she testified that as the car was moving, Petitioner was looking at her while she was trying to jump off the running board, but that she

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could not move. At that time, she looked up and saw that she was going to run into another vehicle before she blacked out.

Also at Petitioner's 2012 bench trial, Anthony Harris, a CTA Security Officer, testified that on the day of the incident he was working at the CTA Brown Line Stop at 4645 North Damen Avenue on Chicago's north side. At approximately 5:00 a.m., he noticed a woman dressed in torn clothing without shoes, who had blood on her face and hands. The woman approached him to ask if she could use his phone. Harris then testified that the woman, later identified as J.C., was unable to dial the number because something was wrong with her arm. After Harris noticed blood coming from J.C.'s mouth, he called an ambulance. He then noticed a gash on her head "four inches wide and maybe like six or seven inches long."

In addition, Chicago Police Detective Rich Szczepkowicz testified at Petitioner's bench trial that he was assigned to investigate the incident and interview J.C. at the hospital. Detective Szczepkowicz testified that in relation to J.C.'s injuries, "[t]he nurses and doctors speculated it was consistent with either being dragged by a car, run over by a car, [or] perhaps hit by a car." Later, Detective Szczepkowicz received information that led him to the 1800 block of West Leland Avenue near the Damen Stop on the CTA Brown Line. There, residents had noticed blood trails on their property. In addition to blood, an evidence technician found a braid of hair and a broken ring.

Detective Joan Burke testified at trial explaining that J.C. told her that the injuries were caused by a male in his early 30's and described a limousine housing station. A few days later, Detective Burke took J.C. to two limousine housing stations, one of which J.C. immediately identified as the spot where Petitioner had taken her. Once there, J.C. identified the exact

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limousine Petitioner drove the day of the incident because it was parked in the same spot and she recognized some damage to its back end. Based on her conversation with J.C., Detective Burke began looking for "a male Jamaican in his 30's, a limousine driver, black suit." The owner of the limousine company, A-1 Limousine, provided Detective Burke with a "run worksheet" from the day of the incident, which lead her to Petitioner.

After Detective Demetrius Kolliopoulos and Detective Burke arrested Petitioner, Detective Burke told Petitioner that she was investigating J.C.'s injuries. At trial, Detective Burke testified that Petitioner then told her that he met a girl around 79th Street and Stony Island Avenue on the south side of Chicago while he was driving a black limousine and that they decided to go to the north side of Chicago. He explained that after changing vehicles to his own car, he became tired and did not want to drive the girl back to the south side of Chicago. Also, Petitioner told Detective Burke that he explained to J.C. that he would give her money to take the train south, but that he was not going to drive her. He further stated that he pulled the car over to an ATM machine and got out of the car, at which time J.C. also got out of the car to have a cigarette. Detective Burke testified that Petitioner also told her that when he returned to his car, "he felt that he was just done with her and he got in, he saw her at his back passenger door and he locked the car doors." He stated that he then "hit the gas and pulled away." Petitioner told Detective Burke that "all he heard was boom."

Kamana Mbekeani, a trauma, surgery, and critical care physician, also testified at Petitioner's 2012 bench trial. More specifically, Dr. Mbekeani testified that J.C.'s head and scalp wounds were life-threatening, and that it is common for people with head injuries to black out. Further, she stated that in cases such as J.C.'s, where her scalp was pulled off, the most

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common cause is "the person being dragged at a different speed than the hair itself." Dr. Mbekeani explained that J.C.'s scalp appeared to have been "pulled on an object and the object moved forward and she was dragged with it." When shown pictures of J.C.'s knees and toes, Dr. Mbekeani testified the injuries were consistent with being dragged on the ground. When asked on cross-examination whether J.C. made any indication that sexual activity took place on the night of the incident, Dr. Mbekeani responded that J.C. "was incomprehensible" on the night of the accident and unable to effectively communicate with the medical staff.

After the Circuit Court denied defense counsel's motion for a directed finding under 725 ILCS 5/115-4(k), Petitioner testified at trial. Specifically, he stated that he first met J.C. and her two friends three weeks before the incident at a restaurant on 79th Street and Stony Island Avenue in Chicago. He explained that he gave one of the girls his business card and that J.C. told him her name was Kelly....

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