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McDowell v. Lemke

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

December 12, 2013

Antonio McDOWELL, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
Michael LEMKE, Warden, Stateville Correctional Center, Respondent-Appellee.

Argued Sept. 26, 2013.

Page 477

Timothy Chorvat, D. Matthew Feldhaus, Jenner & Block LLP, Chicago, IL, for Petitioner-Appellant.

Page 478

John R. Schleppenbach, Office of the Attorney General, Chicago, IL, for Respondent-Appellee.

Before POSNER, MANION, and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

KANNE, Circuit Judge.

Over fifteen years ago, Antonio McDowell was convicted in an Illinois trial court of committing a murder and carjacking on a single December afternoon. Today, he seeks a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the processes used to identify him as the perpetrator were fatally flawed. Because we find that he procedurally defaulted these claims by failing to adequately present them before each level of the Illinois courts, we decline to grant his petition.

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Murder and Carjacking

At approximately 3:00 PM on December 21, 1996, Martha Castro looked out her window and saw her husband, Mario Castro, lying on the ground. A man dressed in a black cap, jacket, and pants was leaning over him and searching his pockets. Mrs. Castro and her nephew, Alberto Varela, ran outside. Varela struck the man dressed in black. In response, the man in black picked up a gun and fired it once before running into the alley. Varela followed him briefly, but stopped once the man fired the gun a second time. Mr. Castro later died from a gunshot wound to his shoulder.

The Castros' neighbor, Juan Medina, looked out his window when he heard the gunfire. He saw the man in black searching Mr. Castro's pocket. Medina then walked into the other room to tell his wife Mr. Castro had been shot. When he returned, he saw Varela hit the man in the shoulder and the man fire a shot at Varela.

A few blocks away, Ruth Morales-Santana turned into the alley. When she parked and got out of her car, the man in black approached her, gun drawn, and demanded her car keys and purse. Morales-Santana handed over her bag and keys and the man climbed into her car.

B. The Police Investigation

At 3:30 PM the same day, Detective Renaldo Guevara traveled to the scene of the shooting, where he interviewed Varela and Medina. He then began looking for a black male in his early twenties who was about five foot seven or five foot eight inches tall and was wearing a black jacket and cap.

Detective Guevara did not find anyone right away. Almost seven months later, on July 12, 1997, Guevara went to Medina's home to show him some images from a book containing Polaroid photos. Medina identified one of the pictures on the third page of the book as someone who " looked like" the man in black, but asked for a more recent photo to be sure.

Later that month, on July 21, Detective Guevara returned with an array of five black-and-white photographs. Medina picked the photo of petitioner, Antonio McDowell, as depicting the man he saw standing over Mr. Castro's body. That afternoon, Guevara took the five-photo array to Morales-Santana's home, where she also selected the photo of McDowell. The next day, Guevara took the set of photos to Varela's home, and he similarly identified McDowell as the man in black. On July 23, 1997, Medina, Morales-Santana, and Varela each viewed a lineup and identified McDowell as the offender.

C. McDowell's Trial, Conviction, and Direct Appeal

Before his trial, McDowell filed a motion to suppress the ...


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