Yeoman v. Pollard, No. 15-3489 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
In 2008, Yeoman attempted to fire a gun during an attempted robbery. He was apprehended minutes later. Yeoman pled “no contest” to attempted first-degree intentional homicide and is serving a 25-year sentence in a Wisconsin prison. On appeal he argued that police lacked reasonable suspicion to stop Yeoman’s car, that the officers failed to honor Yeoman’s invocation of his right to remain silent, and that the searches of his car and his person were unreasonable. Before filing his federal petition for habeas corpus relief, he exhausted some but not all of his claims in the Wisconsin courts. In state habeas proceedings, he had not raised claims that his post‐conviction lawyer was ineffective. In federal district court, Yeoman requested a stay, to hold his petition in abeyance so that he could return to state court and exhaust his remedies there. The court declined to enter the stay after concluding that Yeoman lacked good cause. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, agreeing that, although Yeoman’s claims were not plainly meritless, and he had not engaged in abusive litigation tactics or intentional delay, Yeoman’s strategic decision, based on a misapprehension of the law, did not constitute good cause for failure to exhaust.