initial post-conviction proceeding, the record rebutted his claim that he could not
have raised the trial court’s failure to admonish at that time.
In addition, the trial court’s finding that there was not “cause” for failing
to raise the issue in the initial proceeding was subject to the manifest weight of
the evidence standard of review. The trial court’s finding was not against the
manifest weight of the evidence; the failure of a post-conviction petitioner (or his
counsel) to recognize the factual or legal basis of a claim does not constitute
Finally, although the case law at the time of the initial proceeding was
against defendant on the failure to admonish issue, the claim itself was not new
and had been raised unsuccessfully for several years. A lack of precedent for a
particular position does not constitute “cause” for failing to raise the issue; even
where the law is unfavorable, an issue must be raised to preserve it for review.
(Defendant was represented by Assistant Defender Kerry Bryson, Ottawa.)
People v. Wrice, 2012 IL 111860 (No. 111860, 2/2/12)
1. Under People v. Wilson, 116 Ill.2d 29, 506 N.E.2d 571 (1987), use of a
coerced confession as substantive evidence of guilt cannot be harmless error.
Here, the court modified the rule to hold that use of a physically coerced
confession as substantive evidence of guilt cannot be harmless error.
2. The court rejected the State’s argument that the Wilson rule will allow
petitioners to easily establish “prejudice” for purposes of the “cause” and
“prejudice” test, and will therefore invite frivolous claims of coerced confessions
in successive post-conviction petitions. First, a post-conviction petitioner must
show both “cause” and “prejudice” in order to obtain leave to file a subsequent
post-conviction petition. Here, the State conceded that the defendant had
established “cause” for failing to raise the issue in his earlier petitions.
Second, meeting the “cause” and “prejudice” test does not entitle the
petitioner to relief. Instead, the petition merely proceeds to adjudication, with the
petitioner required to carry the burden to establish the truth of his allegations.
Because defendant alleged that newly discovered evidence showed that his
confession was the product of police torture, and the State conceded that
defendant had shown “cause” for failing to raise the issue in prior post-conviction
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.