kill her and her brother, Jorge, and break the windows in her apartment. Martinez also was allegedly told by Jorge that Velez threatened to burn down the Martinez family home.
Galvan proposed to have Blanca Martinez testify as to Velez's out-of-court statements in order to suggest that Velez should have been considered an alternative suspect. However, the proposed use of the Velez hearsay evidence would have introduced significant sources of unreliability. With respect to the alleged statement that Velez was going to burn the house down, a double hearsay problem existed since Blanca was prepared to testify about information she learned from Jorge, which, in turn, he allegedly heard from Velez. In addition to the danger that Velez misrepresented her intentions to Jorge, there is also the possibility that Jorge misrepresented Velez's intentions or that Blanca Martinez misunderstood them. Johnson, 844 F.2d at 486. Moreover, the hearsay statements attributed to Velez bear none of the indicia of reliability found to be significant in Chambers : Velez's statements were not made to a close acquaintance shortly after the crime occurred, there was no other corroborating evidence linking Velez to the crime, and Velez's statements were not self-incriminating since she merely made threatening statements and at no time confessed to the crime. 410 U.S. at 300-01. We therefore find that the trial court served a legitimate state interest when it ruled to exclude Velez's hearsay testimony.
We next evaluate whether Galvan can show that the excluded evidence was critical to his defense. We think that he cannot. The testimony that Galvan sought to have admitted could, at most, have persuaded a jury that Velez had threatened to burn Blanca Martinez's house and that Martinez was alarmed by this threat. This, by itself, is not enough to show the critical nature of the testimony in light of the other compelling evidence that the state had marshaled against Galvan. Johnson, 844 F.2d at 487. The excluded testimony could not have significantly diminished the weight of Galvan's own confession and the eyewitness testimony of Jose Ramirez. Thus, even if we disregarded its unreliability, the excluded hearsay evidence was still insufficiently exculpatory for this court to mandate its admission. We thus conclude that the trial court committed no error of constitutional magnitude when it excluded the hearsay evidence. As a result, we find that habeas relief is not warranted on the basis of Claim IV.
2. Trial Court's Exclusion of Evidence Undermining Existence of Probable Cause (Claim V)
In Claim V, Galvan returns to the issue of the propriety of the trial court's determination that there was probable cause for his arrest, which he raised in Claim III. Specifically, he argues that the trial court erroneously excluded evidence that would have shown that Michael Almendarez's statements were not sufficiently trustworthy to form the basis for probable cause to arrest. He claims that the trial court's exclusion violated his Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights, and, in addition, denied him due process of law.
Galvan argues that where the police arrest a person based upon a statement of a suspect of a crime -- in this case Michael Almendarez -- and where the suspect does not incriminate himself, the circumstances surrounding the suspect's statement are highly relevant in determining probable cause. Here, Galvan contends that the trial court erred in excluding the following information relevant to probable cause: (1) whether Almendarez was forced to go to the station; (2) whether he was handcuffed; (3) whether the police told him he would be put behind bars; (4) how long he was in the station and how long he was questioned before accusing Galvan; (5) whether other witnesses to the offense, specifically Rene Rodriguez, failed to identify Galvan; (6) whether the facts relative to the fire were different than those related by Almendarez; and (7) whether others may have caused the fire.
Although Galvan frames his claim in terms of the Fourth and Sixth Amendments, we think that the substance of his arguments indicates that he is again making a due process argument that the trial court's rulings denied him his constitutional right to present relevant evidence. Carbajol v. Fairman, 700 F.2d 397, 400-01 (7th Cir. 1983). As we discussed above in Part III.1, our task in evaluating the constitutional import of a trial court's decision to exclude certain evidence is to weigh the exculpatory significance of the evidence against the competing state interest in the procedural rule that prevented the defendant from presenting this evidence at trial. Cunningham, 941 F.2d at 538. Here we find that the balance tips in favor of the propriety of the state court's rulings.
We first address the exclusion of issues (1)-(4). Essentially, Galvan is arguing that the trial court prevented him from presenting a defense during the motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence, by excluding evidence that would have cast doubt upon the reliability of Almendarez's statement. Specifically, he contends that the fact that Almendarez may have believed he was a suspect in the investigation undermined the reliability of his accusation against Galvan, and therefore the subsequent arrest was without probable cause.
During the motion to suppress, Officer James Hanrahan testified as to what happened during the questioning of Almendarez. He stated that when Almendarez was confronted, he was told that they were Chicago police officers and that he had to go with them to the police station. He testified that Almendarez was not handcuffed when he was placed in the interview room at the police station, and that he was advised of his constitutional rights before the interrogation began. He further stated that once the questioning began, Almendarez admitted, within three to five minutes, that Galvan and Nanez told him that they had set the fire.
Almendarez then testified at the hearing for the defense. He stated that he was detained by the police at approximately 9:30 a.m. on June 8, 1987. He testified that he was not read his constitutional rights, and that he was not handcuffed. He further testified that the police did not believe him when he denied any knowledge of the fire. Instead, they accused him of committing the crime and told him to make it easy on himself by signing a statement. After ten or twelve hours in the police station, Almendarez told police that Galvan and Nanez admitted setting the fire. Almendarez then stated that he accused Galvan and Nanez only because it was what the police wanted to hear.
Officer Switski, a detective investigating the case, then testified in rebuttal. He stated that Almendarez gave the statement against Galvan and Nanez at approximately 11:00 a.m., and remained voluntarily at the station until 1:00 a.m. the following day, during which time he assisted the police with the investigation. Switski admitted that he never told Almendarez he was free to leave; that he never told him what to say, although he did inform him that he had witnesses who could place him at the scene.
The assistant state's attorney who interviewed Almendarez testified that he did not inform him of his constitutional rights. He also testified that he talked with Almendarez until about 8 p.m., during which time Almendarez made the statement against Galvan and Nanez. The state's attorney then stated that Almendarez's statement was reduced to writing around 12:30 a.m.
Thus, despite Galvan's assertions to the contrary, most of the information Galvan complains was excluded was in fact fully aired and considered by the trial court. Testimony regarding whether Almendarez was forced to go to the police station, how long he remained there, and whether he was handcuffed, was in fact heard and considered by the trial court. It is clear that the court evaluated the credibility of Almendarez's statement in light of the conflicting testimony regarding whether he was read his constitutional rights, whether he immediately made his accusation against Galvan, and whether he was detained against his will for several hours. To the extent that the court excluded specific pieces of evidence, we do not think that these were so critical to Galvan's defense to constitute a due process violation in light of the full consideration of the circumstances surrounding Almendarez's statement. Certainly, it was clear from the testimony of Almendarez that he claimed he was coerced into making a false statement by the police. We cannot find that the trial court's failure to admit, for example, Almendarez's specific assertion that the police were going to put him "behind bars" was of such significance as to warrant habeas relief where Almendarez clearly conveyed to the trial court that he lied to the police because that is what they wanted to hear. In this context, we cannot say that the trial court made an error of constitutional significance when it made its specific evidentiary rulings.
Additionally, we find that the trial court did not err in excluding issues (5), (6) and (7). With respect to (5), Galvan seems to argue that the trial court's exclusion of Rene Rodriguez's assertion that he did not see anyone in the alley prior to the fire constituted an error of constitutional magnitude (Pet. at 28). However, the fact is that the substance of Rodriguez's statement was fully explored before the trial court during the testimony of Officer Hanrahan (Pet.Stmt.of Facts at 4-5). Hanrahan acknowledged that Rodriguez stated that he did not see anyone in the alley prior to the fire, although he did say that he saw Galvan watching the fire (Pet.Stmt.of Facts at 4). Given that this issue was fully considered by the court, we see no constitutional violation. Further, Galvan's amorphous claim that the trial court excluded "facts relative to the fire [that] were different than those related by the informant Almendarez" (Pet. at 28), is not fully explained in his brief and is otherwise unsupported by the record. Finally, with respect to Galvan's claim that the trial court wrongfully excluded evidence that other persons may have started the fire, we have already considered and rejected that argument. Accordingly, we deny habeas relief on the basis of Claim V.
3. Right to Confront Non-Testifying Co-Defendant (Claim VI)
Finally, Galvan argues that the prosecution presented evidence that the co-defendant, Francisco Nanez, had made a confession, and that this evidence violated his Sixth Amendment right to "be confronted with the witnesses against him." In particular, at trial the prosecutor elicited the following information from the assistant state's attorney who took the recorded statements of Galvan and Nanez:
Q: At 11:05 p.m., on June 8, 1987, who did you take a court reported statement of, at that time?
A: Francisco Nanez.