In this case, after the attenuation hearing, the trial court
concluded that Davis' confession was sufficiently attenuated from
his illegal arrest to be purged of the primary taint and
therefore that it could be admitted into evidence. Specifically,
the trial court observed that Davis had been given Miranda
warnings at least three times over the course of his confinement,
that in the lengthy period between Davis' arrest and confession
the police confronted him with newly discovered evidence — both
statements from other witnesses which contradicted statements
Davis had made, and physical evidence — upon which he had an
ample opportunity to reflect, and that the police did not engage
in any misconduct that showed a flagrant disregard for Davis'
rights. See Davis' Brief to Ill.App.Ct., at 8-9 (transcript
excerpt) (attached as Exh. B to Respondent's Answer).
In affirming the trial court's attenuation findings, the
Illinois Appellate Court cited Brown as critical to its
analysis, discussed each of the Brown factors and then applied
them to the facts of this case. The court found the 31-hour time
lapse between Davis' arrest and confession to weigh in favor of
attenuation, especially because Davis was confronted with both
physical and testimonial evidence uncovered by the police
independent of Davis' illegal confinement, upon which he was able
to reflect for at least 14 hours without being questioned. The
court saw no purposeful and flagrant exploitation of Davis'
rights, observing that "[d]etectives repeatedly administered
Miranda warnings before questioning defendant, and defendant
signed a written waiver of rights form. There was no evidence of
police misconduct; defendant was provided with food and drink,
was given an opportunity to sleep, and was escorted to the
washroom at his request." People v. Davis, No. 1-97-3772, slip.
op. at 7-8 (Ill. App.Ct. Oct. 21, 1998). Balancing all of these
considerations together, the court found the facts to support the
trial court's finding that Davis' confession was sufficiently
attenuated from his arrest to be purged of its taint. See id.
Indeed, the attenuation question is one of degree that "must be
answered on the facts of each case," and "[n]o single fact is
dispositive." Brown, 422 U.S. at 603, 95 S.Ct. 2254. The state
courts in this case engaged in the correct constitutional
analysis, balancing all of the applicable considerations, so we
cannot consider the attenuation issue here. See Dortch v.
O'Leary, 863 F.2d 1337, 1342 (7th Cir. 1988). While Davis would
most likely respond that the state courts weighed the critical
factors incorrectly, we are precluded from entertaining such an
argument on collateral review. The Seventh Circuit has repeatedly
held "that a claim is Stone-barred if the petitioner simply
argues that the state court made a mistake in applying Fourth
Amendment law." Turentine v. Miller, 80 F.3d 222, 225-26 (7th
Cir. 1996). Rather, federal courts can review Fourth Amendment
habeas claims only if "the state court made an egregious error
(e.g., failed to apply Supreme Court precedent directly on point
after the argument was clearly presented), thus effectively
depriving the petitioner of the ability to vindicate his federal
rights in state court." Id. at 226. We cannot consider a Fourth
Amendment habeas claim on the merits just because we might have
reached a different result. See Dortch, 863 F.2d at 1342. And
the Supreme Court has cautioned against mistrusting the
competence of state courts to fairly adjudicate federal
constitutional rights, warning us not to assume "that there now
exists a general lack of appropriate sensitivity to
constitutional rights in the trial and appellate courts of the
several States." Stone, 428 U.S. at 493-94 n. 35, 96 S.Ct.
Even if we could evaluate the merits of Davis' arguments that
the Brown factors were improperly applied, our review would be
extremely limited in scope. Under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1), we can
only grant a writ of habeas corpus if the state courts were
"unreasonable" in applying clearly established federal law to the
facts of a case. We accord state court factual findings a high
degree of deference and presume them to be correct, since we
cannot second-guess a state trial court's assessment
of the credibility of witnesses whose demeanor we did not
observe. See Marshall v. Lonberger, 459 U.S. 422, 432-34, 103
S.Ct. 843, 74 L.Ed.2d 646 (1983); Sumner v. Mata, 455 U.S. 591,
598, 102 S.Ct. 1303, 71 L.Ed.2d 480 (1982).
To prevail, Davis would have to show that the state courts'
judgments were not even "minimally consistent with the facts and
circumstances of the case," Hennon v. Cooper, 109 F.3d 330, 335
(7th Cir. 1997), or in other words that they were "at such
tension with governing U.S. Supreme Court precedents, or so
inadequately supported by the record, or so arbitrary that a writ
must issue." Hall v. Washington, 106 F.3d 742, 749 (7th Cir.
1997). Once we are convinced that a state court asked the right
constitutional question, its conclusion with respect to the
specific facts of the case cannot be deemed "unreasonable" so
long as it "is one of several equally plausible outcomes." Id.
For the foregoing reasons, we deny Davis' petition for a writ
of habeas corpus. It is so ordered.
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