Virgil gray convicted as sex offender


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A sex offender will leave prison on and return to his home nearby Healesville High School. The school have heightened their security measures by installing cameras in high-risk areas. The school was warned of his release by a victim, who was a child at the time of the assault, and were notified of the man's listing as a serious sex offender on the Victorian Register of Sex Offenders. The principal said he had spoken with police and the Education Department about how to respond accordingly.

The victim told Herald Sun there should be tougher laws around the Register of Sex Offenders that can ban offenders from living within close proximity of areas used by children. The principal said he did not want to cause the neighbourhood to panic, and was told that this particular offender was low risk.

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Defendant's request to this court to overrule Metcalfe implicates the doctrine of stare decisis. As we have explained:. Sharpe , Ill. Mihelcic , Ill. We have also acknowledged that stare decisis is not an inexorable command. However, any departure from that doctrine must be specially justified; prior decisions should not be overruled absent good cause. We noted in Sharpe that good cause to depart from stare decisis exists when governing decisions are unworkable or badly reasoned.

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Defendant here has not shown that this is the case with our decision in Metcalfe. Defendant merely prefers that this court adopt a different approach to claims of ineffectiveness of counsel during jury selection because some federal court circuits and a handful of state courts have done so. This hardly constitutes a groundswell of opposition to this court's reasoning in Metcalfe.

In addition, it appears to us that the analysis defendant favors amounts to little more than an end run around Cronic. Once it is determined that counsel was deficient for not striking a biased juror, prejudice is presumed because the defendant was deprived of an impartial jury and that makes the trial fundamentally unfair. Thus, only the deficient performance prong of the Strickland test is considered, the defendant does not have to actually demonstrate prejudice, and a new trial is required.

This court rejected the defendant's Cronic argument in Metcalfe , Ill. We now turn to defendant's argument that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to seek juror A. As stated above, counsel's actions during jury selection are generally considered a matter of trial strategy. Accordingly, counsel's strategic choices are virtually unchallengeable.

Palmer , Ill. Defendant initially argues that voir dire is not "exempt" from a Strickland analysis. We point out, however, that this court has never held that an attorney's performance during voir dire is not subject to scrutiny under Strickland , nor does defendant cite any case from this court so holding.

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Rather, we have recognized, as have other reviewing courts, that decisions made during jury selection involve trial strategy to which courts should be highly deferential. Strickland itself emphasized the deference due counsel's strategic decisions:. It is all too tempting for a defendant to second-guess counsel's assistance after conviction or adverse sentence, and it is all too easy for a court, examining counsel's defense after it has proved unsuccessful, to conclude that a particular act or omission of counsel was unreasonable.

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Defendant portrays A. In doing so, defendant focuses only on the last few answers A. This selective focus on those answers given by A. The entire voir dire of A. Even after saying that he believed sex offenders should be locked up for life, A. He said that he did not think a sex offender background would influence his decision on the case. Not satisfied with that answer, defense counsel pressed A.

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Only then did A. Other prospective jurors also expressed negative feelings about sex offenders. Trial counsel exercised peremptory challenges to some, but not all, of these jurors. For example, juror 41 stated that he had young children at home. He was uncertain whether he could be neutral in making a decision about a sex offender.

Defense counsel exercised a peremptory challenge to this juror. Juror stated that a member of his family had an experience with a sex offender some years ago. When asked if that would affect him if he were dealing with a sex offender on an issue that had nothing to do with a sex offense, this juror stated that it probably would not. Defense counsel did not exercise any challenge to juror Thus, counsel was sensitive to the fact that revealing defendant's sex offender status might give rise to doubt on the part of some venire members that they could be fair and impartial.

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Defendant's attorney was faced with a difficult case, given the strong evidence against defendant, and his chosen strategy reflected that difficulty. Highlighting defendant's sex offender status was a risky choice, given largely negative views of sex offenders by the general public.

Based upon his decisions as to when to exercise peremptory challenges, it does not appear that counsel expected prospective jurors to be able to completely put those views aside. Considering the entire voir dire of A. In addition, there were other factors that counsel may have taken into consideration, such as the fact that A. Attorneys consider many factors in making their decisions about which jurors to challenge and which to accept.

As we have stated, this is part of trial strategy, which is generally not subject to challenge under Strick-land. Reviewing courts should hesitate to second-guess counsel's strategic decisions, even where those decisions seem questionable. In People v. Begay , Ill. During voir dire , the juror stated that her mother had been assaulted at knifepoint during a robbery.

When the trial court asked the juror whether that experience would affect her ability to be fair and impartial, the juror said it would. The court then stated, "All right. So you wouldn't be fair, either? In rejecting the defendant's argument that her counsel's performance was deficient under Strickland , the appellate court theorized that defense counsel could have believed that the juror would sympathize with the defendant, who claimed that when the offenses occurred, she was being attacked by a knife-wielding aggressor. Thus, the appellate court found trial counsel's decision to be a strategic one. Here, A. However, unlike the juror in Begay , A. While some might find defense counsel's failure to challenge A. In addition, at the time of A. Under these circumstances, given A. Thus, we disagree with defendant that A. Defendant argues that Metcalfe is distinguishable because this court found that the prospective juror there, Grevus, could have been biased against the State and not the defendant; thus, the Metcalfe juror's bias was less personal than the alleged bias of A.

However, the bias of the juror in Metcalfe was very personal. She had been a crime victim and had had an unfavorable experience at the trial based on her cross-examination by the defendant's counsel. While it is true that Grevus might have been prejudiced toward the criminal justice system as a whole based on the fact that her attacker was not convicted, she also may have been prejudiced against defendants and defense attorneys. Unlike the juror in the instant case, Grevus was definite that her experiences would affect her ability to be fair and impartial.

Taking his entire voir dire questioning into account, A. Thus, we do not find Metcalfe distinguishable on this basis. Accordingly, we conclude that trial counsel's failure to challenge juror A. For the reasons stated, we decline to overrule our decision in Metcalfe. Further, we conclude that the failure of defendant's trial attorney to challenge juror A. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the appellate court. Although I agree with the majority that defendant has failed to make a sufficient showing of ineffective assistance of counsel, I disagree with its reliance on the first Strickland prong, addressing instead only the objective reasonableness of trial counsel's performance.

Because the majority does not reach the merits of the second Strickland prong, requiring a showing of prejudice, its lengthy initial discussion of the proper standard of review for the prejudice prong appears to be unnecessary, as Justice Karmeier notes in his special concurrence.

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See Ill. As Justice Karmeier correctly recognizes, if the majority does not address the merits of the prejudice prong, its discussion of the standard of review applicable to that prong is unnecessary. I do not join Justice Karmeier's special concurrence, however, because I believe the court should have limited its discussion to the prejudice prong. The prejudice prong should have been addressed by the majority for two reasons. First, the pressing need in both our appellate court and the appellate bar for guidance on the proper standard of review of the Strickland prejudice prong was a probable factor in this court's decision to allow defendant's petition for leave to appeal.