Dixon v. Snyder, No. 00-2142

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore Ripple, Kanne, and Williams; Kanne
Citation266 F.3d 693
Decision Date20 September 2001
Docket NumberNo. 00-2142
Parties(7th Cir. 2001) Carl Dixon, Petitioner-Appellee, v. Donald I. Snyder, Respondent-Appellant

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266 F.3d 693 (7th Cir. 2001)
Carl Dixon, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
Donald I. Snyder, Respondent-Appellant.
No. 00-2142
In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Argued January 10, 2001
Decided September 20, 2001

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 97 C 2844--John A. Nordberg, Judge.

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Copyrighted Material Omitted

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Before Ripple, Kanne, and Williams, Circuit Judges.

Kanne, Circuit Judge.

This appeal raises one crucial question: whether the Illinois Appellate Court's determination that Carl Dixon was not deprived of the effective assistance of counsel in his state court murder trial was unreasonable in light of Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1984). We find that the court's determination was unreasonable, and thus affirm the order of the district court granting Dixon's petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

I. History

In an appeal from a ruling on a petition for habeas relief, we review the district court's findings of fact for clear error. See Denny v. Gudmanson, 252 F.3d 896, 900 (7th Cir. 2001). Under the statutory framework governing habeas review, "state court factual findings are presumed to be correct unless the petitioner rebuts the presumption with 'clear and convincing' evidence." Sanchez v. Gilmore, 189 F.3d 619, 623 (7th Cir. 1999), cert. denied sub nom. Sanchez v. Schomig, 529 U.S. 1089, 120 S. Ct. 1724, 146 L. Ed. 2d 645 (2000); 28 U.S.C. sec. 2254(e). The district court's opinion provided a substantially more thorough discussion of the facts than either of the Illinois Appellate Court opinions. Compare Dixon v. Washington, No. 97 C 2844, 2000 WL 640885 (N.D.Ill. March 31, 2000) with People v. Dixon, 628 N.E.2d 399 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993) and People v. Dixon, 701 N.E.2d 566 (1996). The district court did not determine that any of the state courts' factual findings were incorrect, it simply supplemented the factual discussions in the state court opinions after a review of the trial record. As we find the district court's discussion to be an accurate recitation of the facts in this case, we incorporate it here:

. . . Patrick Marshall [and] . . . Christopher Carlisle [were standing next to each other on the sidewalk] when a green car pulled up. A man got out and shot Marshall three times with a .25 caliber handgun. Marshall attempted to run away, but only made it a half of a block before collapsing and dying . . . .

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Carlisle was standing next to the body when the first police officer arrived on the scene. He told the officer that his friend had been shot by a black male who got out of a car. Carlisle, however, did not identify the shooter by name. He then went to the police station at 103rd where he apparently stayed overnight and was interviewed by detectives investigating the case. Sometime the next day . . . he was interviewed by an assistant state's attorney named David Studenroth. After the interview, Carlisle signed a three-page statement . . . [identifying] Carl Dixon as the black male who shot Patrick Marshall. Specifically, the statement said that Dixon got out of the green car and asked Marshall, "where's my shit at." Marshall responded, "I'll get it to you, man," and Dixon then shot Marshall.

Dixon was indicted for first degree murder. He hired attorney William H. Wise (hereinafter, defense counsel) to defend him. Many months before trial, defense counsel learned that Carlisle--the only eyewitness against his client--was prepared to recant the May 12th statement he gave to the police. On January 26, 1991, Carlisle visited defense counsel's office and gave him an affidavit, in which Carlisle stated that "Carl Dixon was not the person [who] pulled the trigger of [the] gun that killed" Patrick Marshall.

Although defense counsel had a signed statement, he took the extra step of having Carlisle repeat his recantation in front of a court reporter. Two weeks later, on February 9, 1991, Carlisle returned to defense counsel's office and gave a court-reported statement. He again asserted that Dixon was not the shooter and further explained that he only signed the statement implicating Dixon because he had been held at the police station for 14 hours and was told he could go home if he signed it. Before trial, defense counsel assured his client that, because the State's main witness had recanted, there was no need to prepare a defense and no need for Dixon to testify.

Dixon, 2000 WL 640885, at *1 (footnote omitted).

When the trial began on October 30, 1991, Dixon waived his right to a jury and a two-day bench trial took place. During trial, the state focused on an incident which it believed provided the motive for the murder. Ashadu McPherson, the victim's cousin, testified that on the evening of May 11th he was with Patrick Marshall, Dixon, and a group of other men. Dixon was showing off his new black 9 millimeter gun. When the gun was handed to Marshall, he ran away with it. Dixon then ran into his house and came out with a shotgun, which he put in the trunk of his car (a Monte Carlo with a red panel, according to one witness).

Dixon drove around looking for Marshall for several hours, accompanied by McPherson, Charles Jemison, and another man. Dixon said that if he did not get his gun back he was going to have to do something to Marshall. McPherson's and Jemison's testimony about the ride was similar in most respects but conflicted on one key point: whether Dixon had a .25 caliber handgun with him (the police had located .25 caliber shell casings at the scene). McPherson testified that, at one point in the evening, he saw Dixon sitting in the driver's seat with a small handgun in his lap, which McPherson believed was either a .22 or .25 caliber handgun. Jemison, on the other hand, had been sitting in the front seat and testified that he did not see Dixon with a handgun.

The State's only direct evidence that Dixon killed the victim was Carlisle's May

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12th statement. When called by the State, Carlisle testified that he did not know who had shot the victim. When specifically asked whether Carl Dixon was the man, Carlisle invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. When the trial judge ordered him to answer the question, Carlisle said that Dixon was not the man who shot Patrick Marshall.

The State next attempted to question Carlisle about the May 12th statement that he signed at the police station. Carlisle admitted that he had been at the police station and had been interviewed by assistant state's attorney Studenroth. When asked whether he signed the statement, Carlisle again asserted his Fifth Amendment privilege. The trial judge allowed him to invoke it and prevented any further questioning about the statement. Counsel declined to cross-examine Carlisle but asked that the writ of habeas corpus be carried over for the next day of trial in case he wanted to use Carlisle as a rebuttal witness.

On the second day of trial, the state called Studenroth, who testified that he interviewed Carlisle on May 12th and that Carlisle signed and initialed each page of the three- page statement Studenroth had written. When the State asked about the contents of the statement, the trial judge sustained defense counsel's objection and asked the State to tell him "under what theory of exception to the hearsay rule you are attempting to get this hearsay document into evidence." The State indicated that it was relying on Section 115-10.1 of the Illinois Code of Criminal Procedure.

Section 115-10.1 is an Illinois statute which allows prosecutors to introduce prior inconsistent statements as substantive evidence rather than solely for impeachment purposes. 725 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/115-10.1.1 "Passed by the Illinois legislature in 1984, Section 115-10.1 was an attempt to solve the problem of the 'turncoat witness,' who makes a statement to the police implicating the defendant but then comes to trial and recants." Dixon, 2000 WL 640885, at *8. Therefore, "even though the eyewitness recants at trial, the fact finder may nonetheless rely on the witness's earlier statement in order to convict the defendant." Id. This was a substantial change from the previous Illinois law, under which a prior inconsistent statement could only be used for impeachment. See, e.g., People v. Bryant, 447 N.E.2d 301, 305 (Ill. 1983) ("This court has repeatedly disapproved prosecutorial efforts to impart substantive character to prior inconsistent statements under the guise of impeachment."). Section 115-10.1 sets forth three foundational requirements that had to be met in order to admit Carlisle's prior inconsistent statement as substantive evidence: 1) the prior statement had to be inconsistent with the testimony at trial; 2) the witness had to be subject to cross-examination concerning the statement; and 3) the statement had to describe an event of which the witness had personal knowledge and had to be signed by the witness.

After the State indicated that it was relying on section 115-10.1 to admit the May 12th statement, the trial judge asked how the statement was inconsistent with Carlisle's in-court testimony. The State explained that, in court, Carlisle said that Dixon was not the shooter but his May 12th statement indicated that Dixon was the shooter. Counsel then objected, contending that the statement should not be considered as substantive evidence. Rather than arguing that one of the three statutory requirements had not been met, however, defense counsel relied upon an

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Illinois Supreme Court rule that was irrelevant and a case which predated the passage of section 115-10.1.

The trial judge interrupted defense counsel's arguments and told him that he was "still going to have to deal with 115-10.1." Counsel continued to argue that the State could not use the statement substantively because "[i]t's been the...

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45 practice notes
  • Williams v. Anderson, No. 3:99CV0570.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Indiana
    • November 19, 2001
    ...v. United States, 261 F.3d 694 (7th Cir.2001); United States ex rel. Bell v. Pierson, 267 F.3d 544 (7th Cir.2001), and Dixon v. Snyder, 266 F.3d 693 (7th Cir. B. Failure to Review Discovery Williams first argues that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to adequately review the dis......
  • Bullock v. Carver, No. 00-4023.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • July 23, 2002
    ...U.S. 1, 114 S.Ct. 2004, 129 L.Ed.2d 1 (1994), recognized in Davis v. Singletary, 119 F.3d 1471, 1482 (11th Cir.1997). Cf. Dixon v. Snyder, 266 F.3d 693, 703 (7th Cir.2001) (finding that if counsel had been aware of relevant state law, his actions would been "even more Certainly, an attorney......
  • Harris v. Thompson, No. 12–1088.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • October 18, 2012
    ...law made performance objectively deficient under Strickland );Barrow v. Uchtman, 398 F.3d 597, 605 (7th Cir.2005) (same); Dixon v. Snyder, 266 F.3d 693, 703 (7th Cir.2001) (same); see also Medina v. Diguglielmo, 461 F.3d 417, 428–29 (3d Cir.2006) (trial counsel's failure to object to compet......
  • Wrinkles v. Buss, No. 05-2747.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 12, 2008
    ...v. Uchtman, 398 F.3d 597, 605 (7th Cir.2005) (holding ignorance of relevant law objectively deficient under Strickland); Dixon v. Snyder, 266 F.3d 693, 703 (7th Cir.2001) (same). Counsels' choice between two unconstitutional options is not a strategic choice worth deference. 537 F.3d 815 Ac......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
45 cases
  • Williams v. Anderson, No. 3:99CV0570.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Indiana
    • November 19, 2001
    ...v. United States, 261 F.3d 694 (7th Cir.2001); United States ex rel. Bell v. Pierson, 267 F.3d 544 (7th Cir.2001), and Dixon v. Snyder, 266 F.3d 693 (7th Cir. B. Failure to Review Discovery Williams first argues that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to adequately review the dis......
  • Bullock v. Carver, No. 00-4023.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • July 23, 2002
    ...U.S. 1, 114 S.Ct. 2004, 129 L.Ed.2d 1 (1994), recognized in Davis v. Singletary, 119 F.3d 1471, 1482 (11th Cir.1997). Cf. Dixon v. Snyder, 266 F.3d 693, 703 (7th Cir.2001) (finding that if counsel had been aware of relevant state law, his actions would been "even more Certainly, an attorney......
  • Harris v. Thompson, No. 12–1088.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • October 18, 2012
    ...law made performance objectively deficient under Strickland );Barrow v. Uchtman, 398 F.3d 597, 605 (7th Cir.2005) (same); Dixon v. Snyder, 266 F.3d 693, 703 (7th Cir.2001) (same); see also Medina v. Diguglielmo, 461 F.3d 417, 428–29 (3d Cir.2006) (trial counsel's failure to object to compet......
  • Wrinkles v. Buss, No. 05-2747.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 12, 2008
    ...v. Uchtman, 398 F.3d 597, 605 (7th Cir.2005) (holding ignorance of relevant law objectively deficient under Strickland); Dixon v. Snyder, 266 F.3d 693, 703 (7th Cir.2001) (same). Counsels' choice between two unconstitutional options is not a strategic choice worth deference. 537 F.3d 815 Ac......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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