Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 93 C 3464--John F. Grady, Judge.
Before POSNER, Chief Judge, and COFFEY and FLAUM, Circuit Judges.
ARGUED SEPTEMBER 22, 1995
In 1978 Alvoil Cawley was convicted of murder in Illinois state court for his role in the fatal shooting of James Duncan on December 9, 1977, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. After the denial of both his direct appeal and his post-conviction appeal in state court, Cawley filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court under 28 U.S.C. sec. 2254. The district court denied the petition, finding that Cawley had procedurally defaulted the arguments made in the petition. We affirm.
In his direct appeal Cawley challenged the sufficiency of the evidence, the basis for his conviction on a theory of accountability, the lack of a preliminary hearing, and the severity of his sentence. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the conviction and the sentence. People v. Cawley, 396 N.E.2d 865 (Ill. App. Ct. 1979). Cawley did not file a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. He did, however, file a pro se post-conviction petition in state court, alleging that the trial court failed to tender the instruction for murder to the jury. After this, things got sloppy. Counsel was appointed, but over two years passed before the filing of an amended petition, which did not contain any affidavits, records, or other supporting evidence for the claims made. After the petition was dismissed, Cawley appealed, and the Illinois Appellate Court reversed and remanded the case, ordering that new counsel be appointed and that this counsel submit supporting materials with the new petition. *fn1
Even with new counsel, however, another two years passed before a new petition was filed in 1989. This petition claimed ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel on direct appeal for failing to raise a Brady violation by the state. The alleged violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), was that the state did not produce certain fingerprint and weapons test results. The court rejected Cawley's claim without a hearing. In his appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, Cawley again raised the Brady claim and also alleged ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel for failing to challenge (in the post-conviction petition) the jury instructions given at his trial. *fn2 The Illinois Appellate Court again denied his claims, and Cawley again failed to file a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. *fn3 Cawley maintains that he did not file this petition because the earlier delays and state court proceedings put him in a state of "listless depression," which lasted several months. Cawley subsequently filed a motion to file a late petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, but his motion was denied.
One year later, on June 9, 1993, Cawley filed a pro se federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus, raising the following claims: 1) denial of due process by the trial court's failure to tender jury instructions on murder; *fn4 2) ineffective assistance of appellate counsel in failing to obtain the trial transcript for the direct appeal; 3) error by the post-conviction court in dismissing his Brady claim without an evidentiary hearing; and 4) ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel in failing to pursue the Brady issues. The district court held that, by failing to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court on his post-conviction petition, Cawley had procedurally defaulted all of his constitutional claims. The district court also held that Cawley had not shown cause for the procedural default and therefore denied his petition. *fn5
In this appeal Cawley (now represented by counsel) argues that the district court erred in finding his claims procedurally defaulted and in finding that he had not established cause and prejudice for any procedural default. The respondents have never claimed that Cawley failed to exhaust his state remedies, as he is required to do before he can pursue federal habeas review. Castille v. Peoples, 489 U.S. 346, 349 (1989). The exhaustion requirement insists that if the state courts have not yet had a full and fair opportunity to consider the petitioner's constitutional claims and remain open to address these claims, the petitioner must take his claims there first. United States ex rel. Simmons v. Gramley, 915 F.2d 1128, 1132 (7th Cir. 1990); Engle v. Isaac, 456 U.S. 107, 125 n.28 (1982). Since the Illinois state courts are no longer open to Cawley's claims, he has exhausted his state remedies.
Exhaustion, however, is not the only procedural hurdle that must be overcome before a federal court can hear the merits of a petition for habeas corpus. A federal habeas petitioner must also show that he raised the claims being made on habeas during the state proceedings and that he gave the highest state court an opportunity to address these claims. Jones v. Washington, 15 F.3d 671, 674-75 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 114 S. Ct. 2753 (1994); Mason v. Gramley, 9 F.3d 1345, 1347-48 (7th Cir. 1993). Failure to take such claims all the way to the highest state court results in procedural default, unless the petitioner can show cause and prejudice. Id. at 1348; see also Wainwright v. Sykes, 433 U.S. 72, 86-91 (1977).
We have sometimes referred to procedural default as an "independent and adequate state ground" that preempts the need for separate analysis of federal claims. Jenkins v. Gramley, 8 F.3d 505, 507 (7th Cir. 1993) (citing Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 746-51 (1991)). In other words, if the state in which the habeas petitioner was convicted would treat failure to appeal as a procedural default barring further review, that default likewise bars federal review of the claim. Thus the federal courts insist that the habeas petitioner respect the structure of the state court system, by complying with its rules and appellate scheme, before they will provide independent, collateral review of the petitioner's claims. We also noted in Jenkins that Illinois generally treats a failure to appeal as a procedural default barring further review. Id. at 507. The Illinois Supreme Court has stated as follows: "It is clear that a defendant's failure to appeal the dismissal of a post-conviction petition, coupled with the doctrines of res judicata and waiver, ordinarily bars further consideration of all claims which could have been raised." People v. Core, 272 N.E.2d 12, 13-14 (Ill. 1971). Consequently, failure to appeal the dismissal of a post-conviction petition in Illinois state court will ordinarily be treated as an independent and adequate state ground (as if a state court had actually found the claims procedurally barred), preempting further habeas review in federal court.
Cawley correctly recognizes that we do not always require an Illinois petitioner to invoke the Illinois post-conviction process before we will review his or her federal habeas corpus petition. We have previously recognized that Illinois significantly limits the scope of post-conviction relief available through its doctrines of res judicata and waiver: "[W]here a convicted person has appealed from the judgment of conviction, the judgment of the reviewing court makes res judicata all issues actually decided by that court[,] and all issues which could have been presented to that court and which were not are considered to have been waived." Perry v. Fairman, 702 F.2d 119, 121 (7th Cir. 1983) (emphasis added) (quoting People v. James, 263 N.E.2d 5, 7 (Ill. 1970)). While Illinois provides an exception to its strict doctrines of waiver and res judicata on the grounds of "fundamental fairness," People v. Hamby, 205 N.E.2d 456, 458 (Ill. 1965), we recognize that this exception has been interpreted very narrowly. United States ex rel. Williams v. Brantley, 502 F.2d 1383, 1385 (7th Cir. 1974). Hence we have declined to require a petitioner to invoke the Illinois post-conviction process where such action would be futile. Id. at 1386; Britz v. Thieret, 940 F.2d 226, 229 (7th Cir. 1991). In fact, we have held that a federal habeas corpus petition should be dismissed ...