MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Aaron Wade's petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The petition is denied.
In September of 1993, Petitioner Aaron Wade and his brother Alvin Wade were found guilty following a bench trial of the 1986 murder (in the first degree) of Neal Wallace. Wade was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
His conviction and sentence were affirmed on appeal. He petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court for leave to appeal, but the court denied his petition. Wade neglected to pursue any collateral attacks on his conviction through the state system.
He now attacks his conviction in the federal courts pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254.
II. HABEAS CORPUS
A federal court may grant habeas relief if the petitioner demonstrates that "he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).
Supplementing that general standard, however, is the corollary that habeas relief may not be granted unless the state court's adjudication of the claim "(1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States; or (2) resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Section 2254(d)(1)'s reference to clearly established federal law "as determined by the Supreme Court" means that the court "must look exclusively to Supreme Court caselaw in reviewing a petitioner's claim." Sweeney v. Parke, 113 F.3d 716, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 10732, No. 96-1680, WL 242245 *2 (7th Cir. May 12, 1997) (emphasis added).
Before a federal court reviews a habeas petition, however, the petitioner must (1) exhaust all remedies available in state courts; and (2) fairly present any federal claims in state court first, or risk procedural default. McGowan v. Miller, 109 F.3d 1168, 1172 (7th Cir. 1997).
With those general standards in mind, the court will address Wade's arguments.
Wade offers four arguments in support of his attack on the state-court murder conviction. Each argument will be addressed in turn.
A. Confrontation Clause4
Wade and his brother shot Wallace several times in the head, neck, and shoulder. The shooting occurred outside at a gas station "mini-mart" complex. The manager of the complex -- Robert Williams -- heard the gunshots. He ran outside and saw Wallace on the ground. Williams asked Wallace who shot him. Wallace replied: "the Wade boys did it to me." Wallace's statement was admitted at trial under the excited utterance exception to hearsay. Wade does not contest the admissibility of the statement.
Wallace had some more things to say before he died, however. Shortly after Wallace made the statement to Williams he spoke to a police officer. The police officer asked Wallace what happened. Wallace said that he did not know the identity of the individuals who shot him; he stated that three unknown black males did it. Wallace also said that he "would handle the situation" himself. The statements to the officer were not admitted at trial. Wade argues that the failure to admit the statement that "unknown" individuals were involved -- which, of course, contradicts Wallace's first statement that the "Wade boys did it" -- resulted in a constitutional violation.
The Court agrees.
The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment "provides that in all criminal prosecutions, an accused has the right to be 'confronted with the witnesses against him.'" United States v. Hamilton, 107 F.3d 499, 503 (7th Cir. 1997). The protection granted by the Confrontation Clause, however, is much broader -- as is the case with many constitutional provisions -- then its plain language suggests. In Delaware v. Van Arsdall, 475 U.S. 673, 89 L. Ed. 2d 674, 106 S. Ct. 1431 (1986), the Supreme Court held that a violation of the Confrontation Clause occurs if the defendant is:
prohibited from engaging in otherwise appropriate cross-examination designed to show a prototypical form of bias on the part of the witness, and thereby to expose to the jury the facts from which jurors could appropriately draw inferences relating to the reliability of witnesses.