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Miles v. Burris

April 18, 1995




Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 94 C 2645--Charles P. Kocoras, Judge.

Before POSNER, Chief Judge, BRIGHT *fn* and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

KANNE, Circuit Judge.



Petitioner Isaac Miles was convicted in an Illinois state court of murdering Bradley Washington. He was sentenced to forty years in prison and is currently incarcerated. Miles appealed, and the Illinois Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction. People v. Miles, 176 Ill. App. 3d 758, 531 N.E. 2d 891 (Ill. App. Ct. 1988). The Illinois Supreme Court refused to hear his case. People v. Miles, 125 Ill. 2d 571, 537 N.E.2d 816 (1989). Miles petitioned for post-conviction relief, but was denied. Over seven years later, Isaac Miles sought a federal writ of habeas corpus as provided by 28 U.S.C. sec. 2254.

Miles alleges that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him at trial when a police officer testified for the prosecution that an anonymous informant had tipped the police that Miles committed the murder. Miles also claims that he received constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel during the trial and direct appeal phases of his case. The district court denied his petition, and Miles now appeals.

I. Background

The Illinois Court of Appeals' findings state as follows:

At trial, Raymond Washington, no relation to the victim, testified for the State. On December 15, 1985, at approximately 9:45 in the evening, he was walking toward the Dreamweavers Motorcycle Club, which was also a pool hall, on the south side of Chicago. At that time, he saw the victim standing at a phone booth in front of the pool hall "getting ready to dial the telephone" and the defendant standing behind him. Both the victim and defendant were facing Washington at this time. As Raymond Washington walked toward the pool hall, he saw defendant walk behind the victim, pull a gun out of his jacket pocket with his right hand and shoot the victim in the back of the head. Washington was approximately 10 feet away from defendant and the victim at that time. After the shooting, defendant ran through the alley next to the pool hall. When the victim fell, he was holding the phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The victim was not armed, had not said anything to defendant and had not made any threatening gestures toward defendant before he was shot. Immediately thereafter, Washington entered the pool hall but did not tell anyone about the shooting. The police arrived approximately five minutes after the shooting but Washington did not tell them what he had seen because he did not want to get involved. He also testified that the lighting was "bright" and that he had gotten a good look at defendant's face. A couple of days after the shooting, Washington told the police what he had seen. He looked through police mug shot books but failed to identify anyone as the shooter. On December 31, Washington identified defendant out of a lineup as the shooter. Washington also testified that he had not made any anonymous phone calls to the police before the 31st. On cross-examination, Washington reiterated that the street lighting where the shooting occurred was bright and that defendant and the victim were approximately 10 feet away from him at the time of the shooting. He also testified that he was able to identify defendant out of the lineup because he "got a good look at his face."

Chicago police officer Raymond Jasten also testified for the State. When he and his partner arrived at the shooting scene the victim was lying with his feet at the base of the telephone booth and was holding a smoking cigarette in his right hand. He also testified that the telephone was hanging off the hook and that there was a fluorescent light over the telephone and "a street light right over the area." Chicago police detective Thomas Brankin corroborated Jasten's testimony regarding the lighting at the crime scene and the fact that the phone was dangling off the hook after the shooting. Detective Brankin also testified that when Raymond Washington viewed the lineup on the 31st, he did not wait until its completion before positively identifying defendant but identified him as soon as he saw him.

Chicago police defective Thomas Ptak testified that while on duty on December 30th, he received an anonymous phone call. The caller told the detective that the man "shot at 69th and Union was shot by a man by the name of Isaac Miles, whose name was--whose nickname was called, Ike." As a result of the phone call, the police arrested defendant the same day.

On his own behalf, defendant testified that he could not actually remember where he was on December 15, 1985. However, he assumed he was at home, 5740 South Lafayette, from nine to ten at night. He then stated, however, that he could not say he spent the entire night at home. Defendant denied shooting Bradley Washington, who he admitted having known since 1977. On cross-examination, defendant admitted telling the police a different story, after he was arrested, of his whereabouts on the night of December 15. Specifically, he told them that if he left his apartment that night, he and his girlfriend, Irene Ealey, walked to 57th and State at about 7 p.m. and called for a cab from there which arrived about an hour later. They took the cab to 4544 South Ellis, where they stopped to see someone named Brownie. After finding that Brownie was not home, they took the cab to the home of Irene Ealey's mother at 7839 South Muskegon, where Irene got out of the cab. Defendant took the cab back to Brownie's, who was still not home. He then took the cab to his mother's home at 4810 South Calumet, arriving there at about 11 or 12 p.m., and remained there the rest of the evening.

Irene Ealey testified for the State in rebuttal. She admitted being defendant's girlfriend in December 1985. However, she denied having gone on the evening of December 15 to any of the locations enumerated by defendant. She also denied knowing a person named Brownie.

Miles, 176 Ill. App. 3d at 761-63, 531 N.E.2d at 892-93.

II. Confrontation Clause

Miles has shown neither the Illinois Court of Appeals' findings nor the proceedings of any of the Illinois courts to be questionable or erroneous. Therefore, we presume the Illinois Court of Appeals' findings to be correct. 28 U.S.C. sec. 2254(d); Milone v. Camp, 22 F.3d 693, 699 (7th Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 720 (1995). We review de novo whether the petitioner's constitutional rights were violated, id. at 698, but we will grant relief only if any such errors "had substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury's verdict." Brecht v. Abrahamson, __ U.S. __, __, 113 S.Ct. 1710, 1714 (1993) (quoting and adopting the standard of Kotteakos v. United ...

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