When a Northern Illinois District Court judge denied Snow’s federal habeas petition right before Christmas, she also summarily denied his request to appeal the decision to a higher court by issuing a denial of Snow’s Certificate of Appealability (COA) at the same time.
The Exoneration Project immediately appealed the denial of the COA, and was granted the right to appeal to the Seventh Circuit on February 18th. The order explicitly states:
We find that Snow has made a substantial showing of the denial of his right to
(1) the effective assistance of trial counsel with respect to evidence about Danny Martinez and Carlos Lunda, and
(2) due process under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).
We also find that the district court’s procedural default determination is debatable.
In order to obtain a COA under § 2253(c), a habeas prisoner must make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right, a demonstration that, under Barefoot, includes showing that reasonable jurists could debate whether (or, for that matter, agree that) the petition should have been resolved in a different manner or that the issues presented were “‘adequate to deserve encouragement to proceed further.'”
Further, in order to obtain a certificate of appealability when dismissal is based on procedural grounds, a petitioner must show, “at least, that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the petition states a valid claim of the denial of a constitutional right and that jurists of reason would find it debatable whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.” Slack, 529 U.S. at 484.
We are very excited to be able to present Jamie’s case to the Seventh Circuit.
We currently do not have definitive timelines for the procedures, but will keep you posted updated.