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December 26, 1997


The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORGLE

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Before the court is Timothy Medley's Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (1995). For the following reasons, the petition is denied.


 On July 16, 1991, at approximately 3:50 p.m., Willie Adams ("Adams") observed Timothy Medley ("Petitioner") approach a parked vehicle near the corner of Karlov and Gladys streets in Chicago, Illinois. Adams noticed Petitioner having a "heated" conversation with the car occupant Kenneth Gilbert ("Gilbert"). Eventually, Gilbert got out of the car and followed Petitioner down an alley adjacent to Karlov street. Emotions escalated as the two men continued their conversation behind a building. Adams testified that as Gilbert walked away, Petitioner pulled a knife from his sock, clenched it in his fist, and moved toward Gilbert. At that moment, Adams yelled at Gilbert to "watch your back!" Gilbert turned, saw Petitioner approaching, and ran down the alley. Petitioner eventually caught Gilbert, at which time, Adams saw Petitioner stab Gilbert twice.

 Murtis Brown ("Brown") was in her house on south Karlov street when she saw Gilbert and the Petitioner engaged in an animated discussion. She observed the two men enter the alley. About two minutes later, Gilbert came running out of the alley with Petitioner in pursuit and carrying a knife. Brown lost sight of the two men as they ran behind other buildings. Although she never saw Petitioner stab Gilbert, Brown did notice blood on the knife blade when Petitioner returned to the area of Gilbert's parked car.

 Later in the afternoon of July 17, Petitioner gave a formal written statement in the presence of O'Grady and an assistant state's attorney. Petitioner stated that on July 16, 1991, he saw Gilbert parked outside his house on south Karlov street. They started to have an argument. Petitioner suggested they go into the alley. As hostilities escalated, Petitioner claimed that Gilbert swung at him. Petitioner then stated that he pulled a knife and stabbed Gilbert twice. Gilbert ran off, and Petitioner pursued. Petitioner eventually caught Gilbert, stabbed him a couple more times, threw the knife in a vacant lot, and walked back to his house. After reviewing the written statement, Petitioner added that when Gilbert originally swung at him in the alley, it was with "some kind of pipe."

 In November 1992, Petitioner waived his right to a jury trial in favor of a bench trial. On November 25, 1992, Petitioner testified in his own behalf. Petitioner stated that prior to the events of July 16, 1991, he had seen Gilbert on more than one occasion outside his home selling drugs. Petitioner was upset because he feared Gilbert's presence could jeopardize his status with the Department of Children and Family Services ("DCFS"). Petitioner testified that at the time of the incident, his children were in the custody of the DCFS. However, the trial court would not allow Petitioner to testify about what action the DCFS might have taken had it discovered Gilbert was selling drugs outside Petitioner's home.

 Petitioner further testified that on July 16, 1991, he was returning from a methadone treatment clinic when he saw Gilbert parked outside his home. The two men exchanged angry words and proceeded to the alley. Petitioner testified that he began to walk away when Gilbert swung at him with a pipe and knocked him down. After Petitioner got to his feet, he stabbed Gilbert four times. As Gilbert ran to his car, Petitioner stabbed him again. On cross-examination, Petitioner admitted that he could not recall if he initially told O'Grady that Gilbert swung at him with a pipe.

 On December 22, 1992, Petitioner was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. On direct appeal, Petitioner argued that (1) the state improperly impeached him by failing to perfect the impeachment, (2) the trial court erred by sustaining the state's objection to Petitioner's testimony about his status with the DCFS, (3) the evidence only supported a second degree murder conviction, and (4) the Illinois first degree murder statute was unconstitutional. On March 25, 1993, the Illinois appellate court rejected Petitioner's arguments and affirmed the conviction.

 On June 24, 1996, Petitioner sought leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. Petitioner raised the following issue: whether the appellate court wrongfully held that a party who initiates a verbal argument has no legal claim to second degree murder. On October 2, 1996, the Illinois Supreme Court summarily denied the appeal.

 On November 27, 1995, Petitioner sought post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court of Cook County. In his pro-se petition, Petitioner argued that (1) the trial court committed reversible error by admitting hearsay testimony, (2) insufficient evidence was presented at trial to support a first degree murder conviction, (3) the burden of proof should have shifted to the deceased, and (4) his trial counsel rendered ineffective legal assistance. However, because Petitioner failed to provide proper supporting affidavits and evidence, the circuit court summarily dismissed the petition on April 15, 1996.

 Subsequently, Petitioner appealed the dismissal of his post-conviction petition, arguing the same claims before the circuit court. However, the Illinois appellate court once again rejected all of Petitioner's claims. Petitioner did not seek leave to appeal his post-conviction arguments to the Illinois Supreme Court.

 On February 11, 1997, Petitioner filed the instant pro-se petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Petitioner raises the following claims: (1) Petitioner was denied the right to present evidence; (2) ineffective assistance of counsel; (3) improper impeachment of Petitioner on cross-examination; (4) the Illinois first degree murder statute is unconstitutional; and (5) insufficient evidence was adduced at trial to support the first degree murder conviction. *fn1"


 A federal court may not address the merits of a habeas petition unless the state courts first have a full and fair opportunity to review the claims. Farrell v. Lane, 939 F.2d 409, 410 (7th Cir. 1991). This threshold requirement is satisfied if the petitioner: (1) exhausts all available state remedies; and (2) raises all claims in the habeas petition throughout the course of the state proceedings. Momient-El v. Detella, 118 F.3d 535, 538-41 (7th Cir. 1997). If a petitioner fails to satisfy either of these requirements, the petition is barred. Id.

 A petitioner exhausts his state remedies by presenting his claims to the highest state court for a ruling on the merits, id. at 538, or "when the claims could not be brought in state court because no remedies remain available at the time the federal petition is filed." Farrell, 939 F.2d at 410 (citations omitted). In the instant case, the record indicates, and Respondent concedes, that Petitioner exhausted his state remedies. Thus, the court looks to the second obstacle barring substantive review.

 Procedural default occurs when: (1) a petition to the federal court includes new claims that the petitioner failed to raise at the state level, see Momient-El, 118 F.3d at 540-41; or (2) the state court declined to address a claim because the petitioner failed to comply with a state procedural requirement, see Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 729-30, 115 L. Ed. 2d 640, 111 S. Ct. 2546 (1990). In this case, Respondent asserts that two of Petitioner's five claims are subject to procedural default.

 A. Procedural Default

 1. Right to Present ...

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