The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge
This matter is before the court on Petitioner Jeffery Nicolaides' (Nicolaides) petition for writ of habeas corpus (Petition). For the reasons stated below, the court denies the Petition.
In 2006, a jury convicted Nicolaides in Illinois state court of first degree murder and he was sentenced to a prison term of thirty-eight years. Nicolaides appealed the conviction, contending that he was arrested without probable cause and that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress his videotaped confession. On June 30, 2008, the Illinois Appellate Court held that Nicolaides' arrest was unlawful because the police lacked probable cause. The Illinois Appellate Court vacated the conviction and sentence and remanded the case for a hearing to assess whether Nicolaides' inculpatory statements while in police custody were attenuated from the illegal arrest. At the remanded attenuation hearing, the state trial court found that the inculpatory statements made by Nicolaides while in police custody were sufficiently attenuated from his unlawful arrest and subsequently reinstated the first degree murder conviction.
On May 11, 2010, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the trial court's finding that the inculpatory statements were sufficiently attenuated from his unlawful arrest. Nicolaides then filed a petition for leave to appeal (PLA) in the Illinois Supreme Court. On September 29, 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the PLA. On February 8, 2011, Nicolaides filed the instant pro se Petition.
An individual in custody pursuant to state court judgment may seek a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which provides the following:
An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the 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). The decision made by a state court is deemed to be contrary to clearly established federal law "'if the state court applies a rule different from the governing law set forth in [Supreme Court] cases, or if it decides a case differently than [the Supreme Court has] done on a set of materially indistinguishable facts.'" Emerson v. Shaw, 575 F.3d 680, 684 (7th Cir. 2009)(quoting Bell v. Cone, 535 U.S. 685, 694 (2002)). The decision by a state court is deemed to involve an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law "'if the state court correctly identifies the governing legal principle from [Supreme Court] decisions but unreasonably applies it to the facts of the particular case.'" Emerson, 575 F.3d at 684 (quoting Bell, 535 U.S. at 694).
Nicolaides presents two claims in his Petition: (1) that his arrest was not supported by probable cause, and (2) that his inculpatory statements made while in police custody were not sufficiently attenuated from his unlawful arrest.
I. Initial Unlawful Arrest
Nicolaides argues that the police lacked probable cause to support his warrantless arrest. The Illinois Appellate Court already concluded that Nicolaides was initially arrested without probable cause. The attenuation hearing and subsequent rulings by the state courts held that there was a separate basis to convict Nicolaides for his crime apart from evidence obtained through his initial arrest. As the Illinois Appellate Court indicated, the mere fact that an arrest is unlawful does not automatically render any subsequent inculpatory statement inadmissible. (Ex. H 6). Thus, Nicolaides' arguments concerning his initial arrest do not provide a basis for challenging his conviction.
In addition, in federal habeas proceedings, a claim is non-cognizable if the state has provided "an 'opportunity for full and fair litigation of a Fourth Amendment claim in state court. . . ." Ben-Yisrayl v. Buss, 540 F.3d 542, 552 (7th Cir. 2008)(citing Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465, 481-82 (1976)(indicating in addition that "[a]s a general principle, absent a subversion of the hearing process, [the Court] will not examine whether the state courts made the right decision"). The lawfulness of Nicolaides' arrest was brought before the Illinois appellate court twice and the court ultimately determined that the conviction was proper despite the lack of probable cause for the initial arrest. The court also concluded that by the time that Nicolaides was given Miranda warnings and made the inculpatory statements, the police possessed the necessary probable cause. (Ex. H 7-9). The state courts provided thorough and well-reasoned analyses for their ...