The opinion of the court was delivered by: RUBEN CASTILLO
Flynt Lee, the Pro Se Petitioner in this case, has filed a Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the constitutionality of his state conviction for armed robbery.
On direct appeal, Petitioner argued that the corpus delicti of armed robbery had not been proven and that there was insufficient evidence to convict him. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the armed robbery conviction and sentence. Petitioner claims that he appealed these issues to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Petitioner now seeks a Writ of Habeas Corpus from this Court, alleging the following claims for relief: (1) denial of effective assistance of counsel and the right to appeal (apparently by virtue of his counsel's Finley brief) (Pet. at 10); and (2) denial of due process (Pet. at 11). Petitioner supplements these claims in an attached "Memorandum of Law," wherein he asserts, in addition to the aforementioned issues, the following claims: (1) whether the post-conviction petition should have been dismissed; and (2) whether the trial judge was biased.
After review of the Petition, the Court finds that Petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief. Petitioner's vaguely alleged due process claim
has not been preserved on either direct or post-conviction review, because this claim was not raised in those proceedings and therefore was not fairly presented to the Illinois Supreme Court for a decision on the merits. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b). See also Engle v. Isaac, 456 U.S. 107, 125 n.28, 71 L. Ed. 2d 783, 102 S. Ct. 1558 (1982); Verdin v. O'Leary, 972 F.2d 1467 (7th Cir. 1992); Farrell v. Lane, 939 F.2d 409, 410 (7th Cir. 1991). Accordingly, Petitioner has failed to exhaust any potential state remedies for his alleged due process claims in state court. This failure results in a procedural default for purposes of habeas review, because state law remedies are no longer available.
Resnover v. Pearson, 965 F.2d 1453, 1458 (7th Cir. 1992). Moreover, this default bars all habeas relief unless Petitioner can show cause for the default and resulting prejudice. McCleskey v. Zant, 499 U.S. 467, 493, 113 L. Ed. 2d 517, 111 S. Ct. 1454 (1991); Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 492, 91 L. Ed. 2d 397, 106 S. Ct. 2639 (1977). Petitioner has failed to make this showing. Therefore, the due process ground raised in the habeas petition is dismissed with prejudice.
Petitioner's Finley claim is equally meritless. Although Petitioner claims that he raised this claim in his Petition for Leave to Appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, thereby exhausting his state court remedies, Petitioner's post-conviction counsel was entitled to withdraw once the appeal seemed pointless. Pennsylvania v. Finley, 481 U.S. 551, 555, 558-59, 95 L. Ed. 2d 539, 107 S. Ct. 1990 (1987) Moreover, there is no constitutional right to post-conviction counsel. Id. Accordingly, Petitioner cannot challenge the representation he received as ineffective, and Petitioner's ineffective assistance claim (or any other Constitutional claim) based on the Finley motion is meritless. Id. Therefore, the Court must dismiss the claim for procedural default.
The issue of whether the post-conviction petition should have been dismissed is not a claim arising under a federal statute, a United States treaty, or the United States Constitution. Therefore, this Court lacks jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 2254
to review this claim.
For the reasons given in this Opinion, Flynt Lee's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus is dismissed with prejudice. This case is terminated.
United States District ...