Subdiaz-Osorio v. Humphreys, No. 18-1061 (7th Cir. 2020)

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Justia Opinion Summary

Subdiaz‐Osorio stabbed his brother to death during a drunken fight in Wisconsin. He attempted to flee but was stopped in Arkansas while driving to Mexico. At Subdiaz‐Osorio’s request, the interview in Arkansas was conducted in Spanish. Neither Subdiaz‐Osorio nor Officer Torres had any trouble understanding each other. Subdiaz‐Osorio signed a waiver of his Miranda rights, indicating that he understood his rights. During the interview, after discussing the extradition process, Subdiaz‐Osorio asked in Spanish, “How can I do to get an attorney here because I don’t have enough to afford for one?” The officer responded: If you need an attorney‐‐by the time you’re going to appear in the court, the state of Arkansas will get an attorney for you. The interview continued for an hour with Subdiaz-Osorio’s full cooperation. Denying a motion to suppress, the court concluded that Subdiaz‐Osorio’s question about an attorney was not a request to have an attorney with him during the interview; he was asking about how he could obtain an attorney for the extradition hearing. The Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed, that Subdiaz‐Osorio did not unequivocally invoke his Fifth Amendment right to counsel. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of Subdiaz‐Osorio’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. 2254(d). The state court finding was not contrary to or based on an unreasonable application of established Supreme Court precedent.

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In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit ____________________ No. 18 1061 NICOLAS SUBDIAZ OSORIO, Petitioner Appellant, v. ROBERT HUMPHREYS, Respondent Appellee. ____________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 14 cv 1227 — Pamela Pepper, Chief Judge. ____________________ ARGUED NOVEMBER 7, 2019 — DECIDED JANUARY 9, 2020 ____________________ Before HAMILTON, SCUDDER, and ST. EVE, Circuit Judges. ST. EVE, Circuit Judge. Nicolas Subdiaz Osorio stabbed his brother to death during a drunken fight. He attempted to flee the country but was stopped in Arkansas while driving to Mexico. O cers interrogated Subdiaz Osorio in Arkansas and during the interview, after discussing the extradition pro cess, Subdiaz Osorio asked in Spanish, “How can I do to get an attorney here because I don’t have enough to a ord for 2 No. 18 1061 one?” The state courts were tasked with deciphering what “here” meant. The state argued that the question referred to the extradi tion hearing “here” in Arkansas; Subdiaz Osorio argued this was an unequivocal invocation of his right to the presence of counsel “here” in the interrogation room. The state trial court found, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court a rmed, that Sub diaz Osorio did not unequivocally invoke his Fifth Amend ment right to counsel. The only issue in this habeas corpus appeal is whether that finding was contrary to or based on an unreasonable applica tion of established Supreme Court precedent. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). Our review is deferential and because the Wiscon sin Supreme Court’s finding was reasonable, we a rm the district court’s denial of Subdiaz Osorio’s petition for writ of habeas corpus. I. Background The relevant facts in this case are largely undisputed.1 The details of the underlying murder and Subdiaz Osorio’s at tempted flight do not bear on the issue before us, but we first recount those facts necessary to provide context. We then re view the interrogation and the state court proceedings, which are the focus of this appeal. 1 The facts are taken from the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s lead opin ion. See State v. Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, 849 N.W.2d 748 (Wis. July 24, 2014). The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s findings are “presumed to be cor rect” and Subdiaz Osorio has not attempted to rebut that presumption. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1). No. 18 1061 3 A. The stabbing Nicolas Subdiaz Osorio lived with his brother, Marcos Antonio Ojeda Rodriguez, in a trailer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The brothers also worked for the same employer and a few weeks before the incident, their employer laid o Ojeda Ro driguez but retained Subdiaz Osorio. This caused tension and arguments between the brothers. The tension came to a head on the night of February 7, 2009, and carried over into the early morning hours of Febru ary 8. Late in the evening on February 7, Subdiaz Osorio was in his bedroom with a friend and co worker, Lanita Mintz. At some point, Ojeda Rodriguez, who was either home or came home, tried to force his way into Subdiaz Osorio’s room. Sub diaz Osorio tried to keep his brother out, but Ojeda Rodri guez—a former boxer—was heavier and stronger than Sub diaz Osorio and was able to overpower Subdiaz Osorio and force his way into the bedroom. When Ojeda Rodriguez entered, he and Subdiaz Osorio began arguing in Spanish. Mintz speaks little Spanish and could not understand what the brothers were saying, but she could tell both had been drinking. Things escalated quickly. The verbal argument lasted less than two minutes and ended with Ojeda Rodriguez punching Subdiaz Osorio in the face. The punch knocked Subdiaz Osorio back into his dresser and to the ground. Subdiaz Osorio got up and retrieved two knives from his closet.2 Ojeda Rodriguez said something 2 Subdiaz Osorio did point out that there was some conflicting testi mony in the trial court regarding the knives. Subdiaz Osorio initially told investigators that Ojeda Rodriguez brought a knife into the bedroom with him and that Subdiaz Osorio disarmed him. Subdiaz Osorio later told 4 No. 18 1061 aggressive in Spanish to his brother, who was now armed with a knife in each hand, and pounded his chest. So Subdiaz Osorio stabbed him in the chest. Ojeda Rodriguez was un fazed, perhaps fueled by a combination of alcohol and adren aline, and continued to pound his chest. Subdiaz Osorio then stabbed his brother in the face, just under the left eye. The knife blade pierced Ojeda Rodriguez’s left eye socket and en tered the right hemisphere of his brain. Ojeda Rodriguez fell back into the wall and Subdiaz Osorio began kicking and punching him in the face. Subdiaz Osorio eventually stopped beating his brother and left the room. The brothers’ roommates came home shortly thereafter, saw Ojeda Rodriguez, and helped carry him to his own bed. Mintz then left, but she remembered that Ojeda Rodriguez was moving and speaking when she departed. Apparently no one thought Ojeda Rodriguez’s injuries were life threatening. One roommate, though, did suggest calling the police. Sub diaz Osorio refused because, as a shock to no one, he did not want to be arrested. Instead, Subdiaz Osorio called his girl friend—who was not Mintz—to come over and help take care of Ojeda Rodriguez. She did and then they both left and went to her home. Despite the girlfriend’s best e orts, the room mates found Ojeda Rodriguez dead the next morning. At 9:27 a.m. on February 8, 2009, the roommates reported the stab bing to the Kenosha Safety Building. Police o cers and medical personnel arrived and found Ojeda Rodriguez’s body beaten and battered and with several stab wounds. They confirmed he was dead. The medical investigators that Ojeda Rodriguez never had a knife. This inconsistency is immaterial to our discussion. No. 18 1061 5 examiner determined that the fatal stab occurred when Sub diaz Osorio stabbed Ojeda Rodriguez under his left eye, causing the blade to penetrate Ojeda Rodriguez’s brain three to four inches. B. The search for Subdiaz Osorio Detectives quickly began their investigation and several Spanish speaking o cers interviewed the roommates and Subdiaz Osorio’s girlfriend. The girlfriend told o cers that she let Subdiaz Osorio borrow her car and gave them the li cense plate number along with Subdiaz Osorio’s cell phone number. The o cers also learned that Subdiaz Osorio was in the country illegally and had family in Mexico. They surmised that Subdiaz Osorio had fled and was driving to Mexico. The Kenosha police put a “temporary want” on Subdiaz Osorio into the Crime Information Bureau, a state system, and Na tional Crime Information Center, a national system, that to gether notified all law enforcement agencies in the country about the temporary want for Subdiaz Osorio. But because the notification system for the temporary want was old technology, the Kenosha police also wanted to track Subdiaz Osorio’s cell phone location and contacted the Wisconsin Department of Justice (WDOJ). That same after noon, February 8, the WDOJ filled out and submitted a “Man datory Information for Exigent Circumstances Requests” form to Sprint, Subdiaz Osorio’s cell phone provider. Later in the afternoon the WDOJ received tracking information for Subdiaz Osorio from Sprint. They did not have a warrant. Subdiaz Osorio was tracked to Arkansas, driving south on I 55. The Kenosha police alerted Arkansas police, and around 6:11 p.m., still February 8, an Arkansas patrol officer pulled 6 No. 18 1061 Subdiaz Osorio over and took him into custody. The Arkan sas police did not interrogate Subdiaz Osorio that evening. C. The interrogation The next morning, on February 9, Detective David May and Detective Gerald Kaiser, the lead detectives, and Officer Pablo Torres, who is fluent in Spanish, travelled to Arkansas. Later that same day, Detective May and Officer Torres inter viewed Subdiaz Osorio in the Mississippi County Jail in Lux ora, Arkansas. Subdiaz Osorio told the officers that he preferred they conduct the interview in Spanish, so Officer Torres conducted the interview in Spanish. There is no indication, and Subdiaz Osorio does not argue, that either Subdiaz Osorio or Officer Torres had any trouble understanding each other. The officers videotaped the interview, portions of which were later played at the suppression hearing. During that hearing, a court interpreter contemporaneously translated the videotaped interview from Spanish to English.3 The video be gan with Officer Torres administering the Miranda warning to Subdiaz Osorio. After Subdiaz Osorio acknowledged that he understood his rights, Officer Torres asked, “I would like to ask you a few questions what you recall what happened yes terday. Okay. Would you like to answer the question that I will ask you. Sir?” (All grammatical errors throughout appear in the original translation.) Subdiaz Osorio responded, 3 Importantly, there is no separate written and translated transcript of the interview. The only source of the verbatim conversation between Sub diaz Osorio and Officer Torres in the record comes from the transcript of the suppression hearing, where the court reporter is transcribing the in terpreter’s realtime translation. No. 18 1061 7 “Depending on what type of – Depending on the question, right?” Officer Torres then asked Subdiaz Osorio to sign a written Miranda waiver form titled “Waiver of Constitutional Rights,” which was also written in Spanish. There was then an inaudible statement by Detective May, followed by this critical dialogue: Subdiaz Osorio: Are you going to I understand move me to Kenosha. Officer Torres: We aren’t going to take you back to Kenosha. What happens is that you have to appear in front of a judge. And after you appear in front of a judge here in Arkansas then they will find out if there is enough reason to send you back to Kenosha. But we are not going to do that right now. We are not go ing to know that right now. Subdiaz Osorio: How can I do to get an attorney here because I don’t have enough to afford for one. Officer Torres: If you need an attorney by the time you’re going to appear in the court, the state of Arkansas will get an attorney for you. We emphasized the key statement by Subdiaz Osorio. For clarification, counsel then requested the tape be rewound so that the interpreter could repeat what Subdiaz Osorio said re garding an attorney. Unfortunately, the “clarification” is not particularly helpful here because the interpreter somewhat 8 No. 18 1061 stumbles over it, at least as it now appears in the written hear ing transcript. The interpreter translated Subdiaz Osorio’s statement twice more when the tape was rewound as follows: “To get an attorney here because I don’t have enough to pay for one.” “And to get an attorney and to get an attorney of— from here because I don’t have enough to pay, or I don’t have to pay.” The original translation by the court interpreter, appearing in the full dialogue above, is the version that all parties, and the courts, used. Thus, we will too. The interview continued after that for about an hour. The Wisconsin Supreme Court found that Subdiaz Osorio was “very cooperative throughout the interview.” Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶ 28. D. Trial court proceedings Subdiaz Osorio filed two pretrial motions to suppress all statements and evidence that the police obtained after his ar rest. He primarily raised two grounds. First, he argued that the warrantless search of his cell phone’s location data vio lated his Fourth Amendment rights. Second, Subdiaz Osorio argued that Officer Torres failed to properly inform him of his Miranda rights. The trial court denied both motions. On the Fourth Amendment issue, the court found that “tracking a phone on a public roadway is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment because there is no legitimate expec tation of privacy on public roadways.” Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶ 33. “Alternatively, the court determined that No. 18 1061 9 there were exigent circumstances because an alleged mur derer was fleeing and was unpredictable.” Id. As to the post arrest statements, the trial court concluded that Officer Torres did not fail to properly inform Subdiaz Osorio or honor his Miranda rights because “Subdiaz Osorio’s question about an attorney was not a request to have an attor ney with him during the interview; rather, Subdiaz Osorio was asking about how he could obtain an attorney for the ex tradition hearing.” Id. Subdiaz Osorio then pleaded guilty to an amended charge of first degree reckless homicide by use of a dangerous weapon. The court accepted the plea and sentenced Subdiaz Osorio to twenty years’ imprisonment. Subdiaz Osorio ap pealed the conviction and the denial of his suppression mo tions. E. Appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals In an unpublished opinion, the Wisconsin Court of Ap peals affirmed Subdiaz Osorio’s judgment of conviction. State v. Subdiaz Osorio, 2013 WI App 1, 824 N.W.2d 927 (Wis. Ct. App. Nov. 15, 2012) (per curiam). The appellate court as sumed for the purposes of the appeal, without deciding, that the evidence should have been suppressed and applied a harmless error analysis. The court then considered and re jected Subdiaz Osorio’s two suggested possible lines of de fense that he might have pursued had the evidence been sup pressed. The court of appeals concluded: In addition to the lack of persuasive value of the un suppressed evidence, we note that the State’s case for utter disregard, while perhaps not unbeatable, was strong, based on an eyewitness account. And 10 No. 18 1061 we also note that Subdiaz Osorio obtained a signifi cant benefit from the reduction in charge from first degree intentional homicide to reckless homicide. Id. ¶ 12. Any error was harmless and the court was “satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Subdiaz Osorio would have accepted the same plea deal even if the suppression motion had been granted.” Id. Subdiaz Osorio petitioned the Wisconsin Supreme Court for review, which the court granted. F. The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision The Wisconsin Supreme Court confronted two issues for review. The first involved “the increasingly busy intersection between Fourth Amendment privacy considerations and the constant advancement of electronic technology” and required the court to “determine whether law enforcement officers may contact a homicide suspect’s cell phone provider to ob tain the suspect’s cell phone location information without first securing a court order based on probable cause.” Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶ 2. Second, implicating the Fifth Amend ment, “whether the suspect effectively invoked his right to counsel during an interrogation when he asked how he could get an attorney rather than affirmatively requesting the pres ence of counsel.” Id. The answers to these questions fractured the court, in par ticular with respect to the Fourth Amendment issue, and re sulted in six separate opinions. Justice Prosser authored the lead opinion,4 which affirmed the decision of the court of 4 According to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Internal Operating Procedures, “[i]f … the opinion originally circulated as the majority No. 18 1061 11 appeals. Justice Bradley and Justice Crooks concurred solely in the mandate and each filed a separate concurrence. Justice Roggensack concurred solely in the mandate and filed a con currence that Justice Ziegler joined. Justice Ziegler, though, also filed her own concurrence, which Justice Roggensack and Justice Gableman joined. Finally, Justice Abrahamson dis sented. The Wisconsin Supreme Court spilled the overwhelming majority of ink on the Fourth Amendment issue. Justice Prosser’s lead opinion, for example, spent only six paragraphs on the Fifth Amendment issue out of the forty nine total par agraphs in the discussion section. Justice Crooks, Justice Roggensack, and Justice Ziegler all wrote separately to ex press concerns with the lead opinion’s broad pronounce ments regarding the Fourth Amendment, but all agreed with the Fifth Amendment analysis and said nothing more on that issue. Justice Bradley’s concurrence agreed with the dissent that the trial court should have granted the motions to sup press, but she agreed with the court of appeals that the error was harmless. Justice Bradley’s concurrence therefore fo cused on the harmless error analysis. Justice Abrahamson, in her dissent, was the only justice to separately address the Fifth Amendment issue. Because the only issue before us in this habeas review is Subdiaz Osorio’s invocation of his Fifth Amendment right to counsel, we limit our summary to the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s opinion on that issue. opinion does not garner the vote of a majority of the court, it shall be re ferred to in separate writings as the ‘lead opinion.’” Wis. S. CT. IOP § III.G.4. 12 No. 18 1061 Five justices agreed that Subdiaz Osorio did not unequiv ocally invoke his right to counsel when he asked about how he could get an attorney. See Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶ 11 & n.5. The opinion concluded that Subdiaz Osorio’s question was equivocal, and therefore Officer Torres did not violate Subdiaz Osorio’s Fifth Amendment rights by continuing to question him. Id. ¶ 82. Specifically, from the translation at the suppression hearing, “it appear[ed] as though Subdiaz Osorio was asking about the process of obtaining an attorney rather than asking for counsel to be present during the inter view.” Id. ¶ 86. The context is “important and a vital element in the totality of the circumstances.” Id. ¶ 87. Immediately preceding Subdiaz Osorio’s question, Officer Torres had just explained the extradition process and told Subdiaz Osorio that he would have to appear before a judge in Arkansas. “It was reasonable for Officer Torres to assume Subdiaz Osorio was asking about how he could get an attorney for his extra dition hearing, especially since Subdiaz Osorio continued to answer questions and remained cooperative for the rest of the interview.” Id. It recognized that “case law is clear that it is not enough for a suspect to say something that the inter viewer might interpret as an invocation of the right to counsel. The invocation of that right must be unequivocal.” Id. Justice Prosser concluded, “In this case it was not.” Id. The dissent viewed Subdiaz Osorio’s statement differ ently, focusing on his use of the word “here” in the question. Id. ¶ 213 (Abrahamson, J., dissenting). An ordinary, reasona ble person would understand Subdiaz Osorio to be asking how to get an attorney “at that place and time”—i.e., the in terrogation room. Id. ¶ 214. The dissent also read the tran script to indicate that Officer Torres had ended the subject of the extradition hearing because he said “we are not going to No. 18 1061 13 do that right now. We are not going to know that right now.” Id. ¶ 217. Thus, “here” could only reasonably refer to the pre sent time in the interrogation room, per the dissent. Id. ¶ 218. G. Federal habeas proceedings Having exhausted his state court remedies, Subdiaz Osorio turned to the federal courts for habeas relief. His peti tion for a writ of habeas corpus raised the same Fourth and Fifth Amendment challenges to his conviction. The district court held that collateral review of Subdiaz Osorio’s Fourth Amendment claim was foreclosed because, applying Stone v. Powell, 428 U.S. 465 (1976), Subdiaz Osorio had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the claim in state court at all three court levels. On the Fifth Amendment chal lenge, the district court found that the Wisconsin Supreme Court did not unreasonably apply clearly established federal law and did not make an unreasonable determination of the facts given the evidence, see 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), when it held that a reasonable officer could have understood Subdiaz Osorio to be asking how to get a lawyer to represent him dur ing the extradition process. The district court denied the peti tion and also declined to issue a certificate of appealability. Subdiaz Osorio filed a notice of appeal and a request for a certificate of appealability, and we granted him a certificate of appealability with respect to his Fifth Amendment challenge only. We denied his subsequent motion to expand the certifi cate to include a Fourth Amendment claim. II. Discussion “We review the district court’s decision de novo, but our inquiry is an otherwise narrow one.” Schmidt v. Foster, 911 F.3d 469, 476 (7th Cir. 2018) (en banc). Under the 14 No. 18 1061 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), habeas relief should only be granted if a state court adjudication on the merits (1) “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) “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)(1), (2). “[W]hen the last state court to decide a prisoner’s federal claim explains its decision on the merits in a reasoned opin ion,” this presents a “straightforward inquiry” for the federal habeas court. Wilson v. Sellers, 138 S. Ct. 1188, 1192 (2018). The Wisconsin Supreme Court was the last reasoned decision on the merits, and thus we will focus on that decision and “simply review[] the specific reasons given by the state court and defer[] to those reasons if they are reasonable.” Id. “A state court decision can be a reasonable application of Su preme Court precedent even if, in our judgment, it is an in correct application.” Schmidt, 911 F.3d at 477. “A state court decision can be a reasonable application even if the result is clearly erroneous.” Id. And a state court decision can be rea sonable even if the petitioner presents “a strong case for re lief.” Harrington v. Richter, 562 U.S. 86, 102 (2011). Only if the state prisoner shows that “the state court’s ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disa greement.” Id. at 103. “If this standard is difficult to meet, that is because it was meant to be.” Id. at 102. As we have recently said, federal habeas relief from state convictions is “reserved for those relatively uncommon cases No. 18 1061 15 in which state courts veer well outside the channels of reason able decision–making about federal constitutional claims.” Dassey v. Dittmann, 877 F.3d 297, 302 (7th Cir. 2017) (en banc). Federal habeas relief is not unheard of, but it is “rare.” Id. In our narrow review, we cannot say that the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision was an objectively unreasonable application of controlling United States Supreme Court law. A. The Fifth Amendment’s right to counsel We begin with the relevant clearly established law, as set forth by the Supreme Court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). The Fifth Amendment prohibits compelled self incrimination. U.S. Const. amend. V. This privilege is applied to state crimi nal defendants through the due process clause of the Four teenth Amendment. See Dickerson v. United States, 530 U.S. 428, 432 (2000). The Court reinforced the import of the funda mental right against self incrimination in Miranda, which held that “when an individual is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom by the authorities in any significant way and is subjected to questioning,” certain procedural safe guards must be employed. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 478 (1966). One such safeguard is that law enforcement must warn him of his right to the presence of counsel during any questioning. Id. at 479. “If the individual states that he wants an attorney, the interrogation must cease until an attorney is present.” Id. at 474. In Edwards and its progeny, the Supreme Court estab lished a brightline rule that when an accused invokes his or her right to counsel, all further questioning must cease. Ed wards v. Arizona, 451 U.S. 477, 484–85 (1981). “[W]hether the accused actually invoked his right to counsel,” Smith v. Illinois, 16 No. 18 1061 469 U.S. 91, 95 (1984) (per curiam) (emphasis added), is an ob jective inquiry, Davis v. United States, 512 U.S. 452, 458–59 (1994). The suspect “must unambiguously request counsel.” Davis, 512 U.S. at 459. Importantly, although the suspect “need not speak with the discrimination of an Oxford don,” the invocation must be “sufficiently clear[]” such “that a rea sonable police officer in the circumstances would understand the statement to be a request for an attorney.” Id. “But if a sus pect makes a reference to an attorney that is ambiguous or equivocal in that a reasonable officer in light of the circum stances would have understood only that the suspect might be invoking the right to counsel, our precedents do not require the cessation of questioning.” Id. With these legal principles in mind, we turn to the case before us. Subdiaz Osorio claims that the Wisconsin Supreme Court defied this clearly established body of federal law when it found that Subdiaz Osorio did not invoke his Fifth Amend ment right to counsel. He argues that the state court, in doing so, committed two legal errors: it ignored the plain meaning of Subdiaz Osorio’s request and it inappropriately relied on post request context to cast retrospective doubt on the invo cation. Subdiaz Osorio also argues that the state court made unreasonable factual determinations. We take each argument in order.5 5 Subdiaz Osorio also argues that the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s con stitutional errors were not harmless. Because we find that the state court’s decision was a reasonable application of established federal law, we do not reach the harmless error analysis. No. 18 1061 17 B. Subdiaz Osorio’s request for counsel Subdiaz Osorio’s question was translated from Spanish as “[h]ow can I do to get an attorney here because I don’t have enough to afford for one.” The Wisconsin Supreme Court found that “it appears as though Subdiaz Osorio was asking about the process of obtaining an attorney rather than asking for counsel to be present during the interview” and therefore it was “reasonable for Officer Torres to assume Subdiaz Osorio was asking about how he could get an attorney for his extradition hearing.” Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶¶ 86–87. The state court did as it must, following established federal law, and looked to whether “a reasonable police officer in the circumstances would understand the statement to be a re quest for an attorney.” Davis, 512 U.S. at 459. The court did not require Subdiaz Osorio to speak perfect English or use any magic words; it only required an unambiguous assertion of the right to counsel. See id.; United States v. Lee, 413 F.3d 622, 625 (7th Cir. 2005). Subdiaz Osorio’s request did not have the “clear” meaning he ascribes to it. Subdiaz Osorio delicately parses his statement to try to show that he unambiguously invoked his right to counsel. He specifically identifies two elements: his use of the word “here” and his use of the present tense “can.” According to Subdiaz Osorio, the “here” refers to the interrogation room and the present tense indicates he wanted an attorney now. Viewed in isolation, Subdiaz Osorio’s argument may have some appeal. But the law did not compel the Wisconsin Su preme Court to view the statement in a vacuum. “The context in which Subdiaz Osorio’s question arose is important ….” Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶ 87; see Davis, 512 U.S. at 459. Im mediately preceding Subdiaz Osorio’s reference to an 18 No. 18 1061 attorney, he and Officer Torres were discussing the extradi tion process. Subdiaz Osorio asked if the officers were going to “move [him] to Kenosha,” to which Officer Torres ex plained that Subdiaz Osorio first “[has] to appear in front of a judge” and “after [he] appear[s] in front of a judge here in Arkansas then they will find out if there is enough reason to send [him] back to Kenosha.” Notably, Officer Torres refers to “here in Arkansas” right before Subdiaz Osorio asks how to get an attorney “here.” But, Subdiaz Osorio insists, the “here” must mean the physical interrogation room because Officer Torres ended the discussion about extradition and changed subjects when he told Subdiaz Osorio “we are not going to do that right now. We are not going to know that right now.” Justice Abrahamson in her dissent saw it the same way: “The officer made clear that the extradition hearing was no longer the subject of the conversation.” Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶ 217 (Abraham son, J., dissenting). We do not need to definitively resolve whether both men were talking about “here” in Arkansas (as opposed to “there” in Kenosha) or “here” in the physical in terrogation room. It suffices to say that even under Subdiaz Osorio’s view, Officer Torres, in light of the circumstances, reasonably could have at most “understood only that the sus pect might be invoking the right to counsel” and he would not have been required to cease questioning. Davis, 512 U.S. at 459; id. at 460 (“[W]hen the officers conducting the question ing reasonably do not know whether or not the suspect wants a lawyer,” there is no Fifth Amendment violation.). We can not say that the state court’s conclusion was so erroneous to be “beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.” Harrington, 562 U.S. at 103. No. 18 1061 19 We find Subdiaz Osorio’s use of the present tense unper suasive given the circumstances and context of the statement. Subdiaz Osorio contends that his verb choice—by asking “how can I” instead of “how will I”—made clear that he wanted an attorney during the interrogation and not at some point in the future. But Subdiaz Osorio was asking about the process of obtaining an attorney. It is not unreasonable to phrase the question about the process in the present tense, re gardless of whether it is for a present event or future event. And, more importantly, it certainly is not unreasonable, as the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded, for an officer in Officer Torres’s position to understand the question in this manner in the moment. Though we are cognizant that courts must “give a broad, rather than a narrow, interpretation to a defendant’s request for counsel,” Connecticut v. Barrett, 479 U.S. 523, 529 (1987) (quoting Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625, 633 (1986)), this does not give us free rein to construe “an ambiguous or equiv ocal reference to an attorney” as a clear invocation of the right to counsel when a reasonable officer in the circumstances might not have understood it as such, Davis, 512 U.S. at 459. The broad “scope” the dissent attempts to give Subdiaz Osorio’s words ignores “the context in which they were spo ken.” United States v. Peters, 435 F.3d 746, 751 (7th Cir. 2006); Lord v. Duckworth, 29 F.3d 1216, 1221 (7th Cir. 1994) (“The con text in which Lord made reference to a lawyer also supports the conclusion that any request for counsel was ambiguous, at best.”). Not every “ambiguous or equivocal reference to an attorney” is a valid request for counsel. Davis, 512 U.S. at 459. The law requires a clear expression of a present desire for an attorney, and no matter the breadth given, Subdiaz Osorio’s statement failed to meet the requisite level of clarity. 20 No. 18 1061 We reiterate that our habeas review is circumscribed and deferential. “The issue is not whether federal judges agree with the state court decision or even whether the state court decision was correct.” Dassey, 877 F.3d at 302. Reasonable minds may disagree over the correct interpretation of Sub diaz Osorio’s statement, and it may be susceptible to different reasonable interpretations. But the only issue we must con front is whether the state court’s “decision was unreasonably wrong under an objective standard.” Id. (citing Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 410–11 (2000) (majority opinion of O’Con nor, J.)). The Wisconsin state court did not unreasonably ap ply clearly established law in finding that Subdiaz Osorio did not unequivocally invoke his right to counsel. C. Postrequest conduct In Smith v. Illinois, the Supreme Court made clear that “an accused’s postrequest responses to further interrogation may not be used to cast doubt on the clarity of his initial request for counsel.” 469 U.S. at 91. That is because the Court’s prece dent set forth a brightline rule “that all questioning must cease after an accused requests counsel.” Id. at 98. Subdiaz Osorio believes that the state court violated this tenet. The Wisconsin Supreme Court stated that “[i]t was rea sonable for Officer Torres to assume Subdiaz Osorio was ask ing about how he could get an attorney for his extradition hearing, especially since Subdiaz Osorio continued to answer questions and remained cooperative for the rest of the inter view.” Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶ 87. The second clause, referring to Subdiaz Osorio’s poststatement conduct, causes us to hesitate. There is no question that if that if the court re lied on Subdiaz Osorio’s postrequest cooperation to find am biguity in the request itself, that reasoning would have gone No. 18 1061 21 beyond Smith’s admonition. See Smith, 469 U.S. at 98–99 (“Us ing an accused’s subsequent responses to cast doubt on the adequacy of the initial request itself is even more intolera ble.”). But that did not happen here. Subdiaz Osorio’s argument rests on the premise that his request was unambiguous. As we already found, the state ment was ambiguous and a reasonable officer in the circum stances could have understood Subdiaz Osorio to be asking about counsel for the extradition hearing. But even setting that aside and assuming that his request was unambiguous, the Wisconsin Supreme Court did not use his postrequest co operation to read ambiguity into the statement. See Smith, 469 U.S. at 97 (“The courts below were able to construe Smith’s request for counsel as ‘ambiguous’ only by looking to Smith’s subsequent responses to continued police questioning and by concluding that, ‘considered in total,’ Smith’s ‘state ments’ were equivocal.”). Instead, the court had already deter mined that, applying Davis, Subdiaz Osorio did not unequiv ocally request counsel to be present during the interrogation. Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶ 86. The dissent calls the “espe cially” statement the “key analysis” to the Wisconsin Su preme Court’s holding. But the “especially” clause, itself placed in context, is better read as—unnecessarily and inap propriately—buttressing the court’s conclusion rather than relying on the postrequest cooperation to reach its conclusion. Though the state court’s look to Subdiaz Osorio’s postre quest conduct gives us pause, the inclusion of that observa tion does not render its decision contrary to Smith. In line with Edwards and its progeny, Smith hews to the same rule that a suspect’s request must be unambiguous to actually invoke the right to counsel. See Smith, 469 U.S. at 98 (“Where nothing 22 No. 18 1061 about the request for counsel or the circumstances leading up to the request would render it ambiguous, all questioning must cease.”). Subdiaz Osorio’s cooperation cannot be used to cast doubt on the request itself; but where the request was itself doubtful, the state court did not use postrequest conduct to cast any doubt. This is not substituting our “thought as to more supportive reasoning.” The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision fits within the body of clearly established law: “Our case law is clear that it is not enough for a suspect to say some thing that the interviewer might interpret as an invocation of the right to counsel. The invocation of that right must be une quivocal. In this case it was not.” Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶ 87 (internal citation omitted). D. The state court’s factual findings Lastly, Subdiaz Osorio also argues that the Wisconsin Su preme Court made two unreasonable factual determinations: first, finding that “here” referred back to the extradition pro cess; and second, affording weight to the fact that Subdiaz Osorio had signed a Miranda waiver form. The first factual dispute largely recasts his legal argument, which we have al ready rejected, and the second is not a fact that is in dispute. In any event, whether a finding of fact or conclusion of law, neither determination was unreasonable. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2). With respect to “here,” Subdiaz Osorio argues that it was unreasonable to find that “here” referred to the extradition hearing when there was no reference to a right to counsel at the hearing. He was only informed that he had a right to have counsel present during the interrogation. It follows, accord ing to Subdiaz Osorio, that the request for counsel only could have been regarding the right he was made aware of. This No. 18 1061 23 proves too much. At the threshold it assumes that it is unrea sonable for a suspect to think he might have a right to counsel at a court proceeding; a proposition we think untenable. Nothing prevents a suspect from requesting counsel even if he unknowingly does not have a right to one. Stepping over that hurdle, the context leading up to Subdiaz Osorio’s re quest belies the argument. The immediately preceding dis cussion between Subdiaz Osorio and Officer Torres con cerned the extradition process. Officer Torres told Subdiaz Osorio that a hearing would first take place “here in Arkan sas,” and Subdiaz Osorio then asked how to “get an attorney here.” Officer Torres’s indication that they “are not going to do that right now” and “not going to know that right now” does not sever the discussion. In this light, the Wisconsin Su preme Court reasonably determined that “here” referred to the extradition hearing in Arkansas. “Disagreement on a par ticular judgment call does not show that the state court found the facts unreasonably.” Dassey, 877 F.3d at 316. On Subdiaz Osorio’s second point, there was no factual determination regarding the waiver of rights form. It was, and is, undisputed that Subdiaz Osorio was read his Miranda rights and signed the waiver form. That the state court noted this additional fact does not render its decision infirm. See Subdiaz Osorio, 2014 WI 87, ¶ 87 (“In addition, prior to sitting down for the interview, Subdiaz Osorio signed a waiver of rights form, which Officer Torres had read to him in Span ish.”). As the court continued, applying Edwards and its prog eny, all that means is that after being advised of his Miranda rights and validly waiving those rights, a suspect may still “express[] his desire to deal with the police only through counsel” at any time. Edwards, 451 U.S. at 484. That expression must be a clear assertion. Davis, 512 U.S. at 461 (“We therefore 24 No. 18 1061 hold that, after a knowing and voluntary waiver of the Mi randa rights, law enforcement officers may continue question ing until and unless the suspect clearly requests an attor ney.”). That Subdiaz Osorio did not clearly assert his right to counsel was a reasonable determination and consistent with the evidence and the relevant law. III. Conclusion Subdiaz Osorio stabbed his brother in the eye and killed him in a drunken fight. He was arrested in Arkansas, presum ably on his way to Mexico, and interrogated there by Kenosha police officers. After discussing the extradition process, Sub diaz Osorio made an ambiguous and equivocal reference to an attorney, asking—as translated from Spanish to English at the suppression hearing—“[h]ow can I do get an attorney here.” The state court found that Subdiaz Osorio did not clearly invoke the right to have counsel present during the in terrogation. That decision reasonably applied clearly estab lished federal law and was based on a reasonable determina tion of facts. The district court’s denial of habeas relief is AFFIRMED. No. 18 1061 25 HAMILTON, Circuit Judge, dissenting. The Wisconsin Su preme Court gave two reasons for not honoring Subdiaz Osorio’s request for counsel: (1) he continued to speak to in terrogators after asking for a lawyer, and (2) he might have been seeking a lawyer for a future extradition hearing. Both reasons conflict with clear U.S. Supreme Court precedent. First: “Using an accused’s subsequent responses to cast doubt on the adequacy of the initial request” for counsel is “intoler able.” Smith v. Illinois, 469 U.S. 91, 98–99 (1984). Second: courts must “give a broad, rather than a narrow, interpretation to a defendant’s request for counsel” and must “presume that the defendant requests the lawyer’s services at every critical stage of the prosecution.” Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625, 633 (1986) (emphasis added). As a result, Subdiaz Osorio’s subsequent statements should have been suppressed under Edwards v. Ar izona, 451 U.S. 477 (1981). Even under the deferential stand ards of AEDPA, the state court’s refusal to do so was an un reasonable application of clearly established Federal law. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). The writ should issue to vacate Sub diaz Osorio’s conviction and to allow retrial only without the statements obtained by violating his constitutional right to counsel. I. Clear Invocation of the Right to Counsel To begin, Subdiaz Osorio unambiguously invoked his Fifth Amendment right to counsel when he said, “how can I do to get an attorney here because I don’t have enough to af ford for one.”1 The state supreme court, the state, and the 1 As the majority explains, ante at 6 n.3, we can safely assume that Subdiaz Osorio’s statement was grammatical in Spanish; the strange syn tax comes from the live translation in the Wisconsin trial court. 26 No. 18 1061 panel majority and I all agree that Subdiaz Osorio thus in voked his right to counsel for some purpose. The supposed ambiguity goes only to the scope of that request, i.e., whether he was seeking a lawyer for a possible future extradition hear ing instead of for the interrogation happening when he made the request. See State v. Subdiaz Osorio, 849 N.W.2d 748, 773 ¶ 87 (Wis. 2014) (“It was reasonable for O cer Torres to as sume Subdiaz Osorio was asking about how he could get an attorney for his extradition hearing . . . .” (emphasis added)); Appellee’s Br. at 27 (“Subdiaz Osorio was only referring to the assistance of counsel for the extradition proceedings, and any invocation of the right to counsel beyond that was ambiguous” (emphasis added)); ante at 23 (“the Wisconsin Supreme Court reasonably determined that ‘here’ referred to the extradition hearing in Arkansas”). The state court also hinted at a broader holding, however, that Subdiaz Osorio somehow fell short of actually requesting an attorney: “Subdiaz Osorio was asking about the process of obtaining an attorney rather than asking for counsel to be pre sent during the interview.” 849 N.W.2d at 773, ¶ 86 (emphasis added). I do not understand the majority to approve this more expansive line of reasoning. That lack of approval is correct. We have repeatedly found unequivocal requests for counsel in similar questions: “I have to get me a good lawyer, man. Can I make a phone call?” Lord v. Duckworth, 29 F.3d 1216, 1221 (7th Cir. 1994), citing Robinson v. Borg, 918 F.2d 1387, 1391 (9th Cir. 1990). “Can I talk to a lawyer? At this point, I think maybe you’re looking at me as a suspect, and I should talk to a lawyer. Are you looking at me as a suspect?” Lord, 29 No. 18 1061 27 F.3d at 1221, citing Smith v. Endell, 860 F.2d 1528, 1529 (9th Cir.1988). “Could I get a lawyer?” United States v. Wesela, 223 F.3d 656, 661–62 (7th Cir. 2000) (finding no Edwards viola tion, however, because suspect then reinitiated conver sation). “Can I have a lawyer?” United States v. Lee, 413 F.3d 622, 625 (7th Cir. 2005). “I mean, but can I call one now? That’s what I’m say ing.” United States v. Wysinger, 683 F.3d 784, 795–96 (7th Cir. 2012). “Can you call my attorney?” United States v. Hunter, 708 F.3d 938, 943 (7th Cir. 2013). By the logic of Justice Prosser’s lead opinion for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, any of these questions could be construed as an inquiry into the process of obtaining counsel rather than a demand to have counsel. But people often phrase requests as questions, perhaps to be polite or because they are not confi dent of their rights, not because they need information. Since the majority does not rely on this artificial distinction, I turn to the two mistaken grounds for decision that the majority embraces. II. Unconstitutional Use of Post Invocation Answers The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s reliance on Subdiaz Osorio’s post invocation answers to inject ambiguity into his request was as clear a departure from U.S. Supreme Court precedent as we are likely to see. “Using an accused’s subse quent responses to cast doubt on the adequacy of the initial request” is “intolerable.” Smith v. Illinois, 469 U.S. 91, 98–99 (1984). Yet the majority decides to tolerate the intolerable. The 28 No. 18 1061 majority acknowledges the state court’s clear departure from controlling law, ante at 21–22, but tries to downplay it, assert ing that this “intolerable” rationale merely buttressed a con clusion the state court had already made on other grounds. I cannot agree. True, the Wisconsin Supreme Court stated its ultimate conclusion up front, without relying on post in vocation answers. See 849 N.W.2d at 773, ¶ 86. But the key analysis came in a single sentence in the next paragraph: “It was reasonable for Officer Torres to assume Subdiaz Osorio was asking about how he could get an attorney for his extra dition hearing, especially since Subdiaz Osorio continued to an swer questions and remained cooperative for the rest of the inter view.” Id. ¶ 87 (emphasis added). The second clause flatly vi olates Smith, and the state court relied on it—“especially.” Where the state court provides a reasoned opinion, our job is to examine the reasons the court gave. We need not try to imagine permissible ways to uphold the judgment. See Wilson v. Sellers, 138 S. Ct. 1188, 1192 (2018). We must “respect what the state court actually did” rather than substitute “the federal court’s thought as to more supportive reasoning.” Id. at 1197. The state court explained why it found Subdiaz Osorio’s in vocation ambiguous. Its reason flatly contravened Supreme Court precedent. We should take the Wisconsin justices at their word. III. Ambiguous Scope of the Invocation The other reason the Wisconsin Supreme Court gave was supposed ambiguity as to the scope, as opposed to the exist ence, of Subdiaz Osorio’s invocation of the right to counsel. Did he desire counsel for the interrogation he was then un dergoing, or for an extradition hearing to take place at some No. 18 1061 29 unknown future time? Both the majority and the Wisconsin Supreme Court assume without argument that ambiguity as to scope falls within the ambit of Davis v. United States, which held that “the suspect must unambiguously request counsel” in order to enjoy the protection of Edwards. 512 U.S. 452, 459 (1994); see ante at 17; 849 N.W.2d at 772 ¶¶ 84–85. But Davis concerned ambiguity as to whether the suspect was invoking the Fifth Amendment right at all, for any purpose. The sus pect in Davis stated, “maybe I should talk to a lawyer.” 512 U.S. at 455. The Supreme Court held that this was not a clear “expression of a desire for the assistance of an attorney.” Id. at 459. In this case, by contrast, there was a clear invocation for some purpose. Based solely on the word “here” in Subdiaz Osorio’s request, however, the state court and majority find the request was ambiguous in scope. (We all agree that, with out “here,” the question “how can I do to get an attorney be cause I don’t have enough to afford one” would be sufficient to require that interrogation stop.) In such cases, the Supreme Court holds, courts must construe the ambiguous scope in the suspect’s favor. The state court unreasonably departed from three Supreme Court rulings that set forth this rule: Jackson, Barrett, and Minnick. I begin with Connecticut v. Barrett, 479 U.S. 523 (1987), a case that the majority brushes aside too quickly. See ante at 19. Suspect Barrett had unambiguously invoked the right to counsel but had limited the scope of his invocation to written statements. In particular, Barrett said that “he would not give a written statement unless his attorney was present but had ‘no problem’ talking about the incident.” 479 U.S. at 525. The police toed this line. They continued questioning him only 30 No. 18 1061 orally, eliciting a confession. On direct appeal from the Con necticut state courts, the Supreme Court found no violation of the Edwards rule given the “ordinary meaning of [Barrett’s] statement.” Id. at 530. In so holding, however, the Court reinforced the rule that governs Subdiaz Osorio’s case: the scope of an invocation of the right to counsel must be construed broadly. The Court en dorsed the “settled approach to questions of waiver [that] re quires us to give a broad, rather than a narrow, interpretation to a defendant’s request for counsel.” Id. at 529 (alteration in original), quoting Michigan v. Jackson, 475 U.S. 625, 633 (1986). Granted, such interpretation “is only required where the de fendant’s words, understood as ordinary people would un derstand them, are ambiguous.” Id. Finding no ambiguity as to the limited scope of Barrett’s invocation, the Court ruled against him. But if Barrett had been less clear that he was will ing to give oral statements, the Court’s reasoning would have required excluding the confession. Applied to this case, be cause even the state court and majority agree it was at least ambiguous whether Subdiaz Osorio limited the scope of his invocation to a future extradition hearing, the interrogation should have stopped. Barrett’s operative language derived from Jackson, 475 U.S. at 625, decided a year earlier. The primary holding of Jackson dealt with the effect of a request for counsel at arraignment on later custodial interrogations. That holding was overruled in Montejo v. Louisiana, 556 U.S. 778 (2009), and is not relevant here. But Jackson’s separate discussion of the scope of waivers of constitutional rights remains good law: “Doubts must be resolved in favor of protecting the constitutional claim.” 475 U.S. at 633. As a result, courts must “give a broad, rather than No. 18 1061 31 a narrow, interpretation to a defendant’s request for counsel” and “presume that the defendant requests the lawyer’s ser vices at every critical stage of the prosecution.” Id. (emphasis added). Once there is an unequivocal invocation of the right to counsel for at least some purpose, in other words, Davis no longer applies. Ambiguity as to the invocation’s scope is con strued in favor of the suspect. Neither Davis nor Montejo ad dressed, let alone overruled, this aspect of Jackson. The state court also unreasonably applied the Court’s rul ing in Minnick v. Mississippi, 498 U.S. 146 (1990). In that case, the suspect unambiguously invoked his right to counsel dur ing an interrogation when he said, “Come back Monday when I have a lawyer.” Id. at 148–49. He was then allowed to consult with an appointed attorney, but on Monday police of ficers returned and interrogated him without the lawyer pre sent, eliciting incriminating statements. Id. at 149. The Missis sippi Supreme Court reasoned that, since counsel had been made available in the interim, Edwards did not exclude the statements. See 551 So.2d 77, 83 (Miss. 1988). The U.S. Supreme Court reversed based on the “clear and unequivocal” command of Edwards: “when counsel is re quested, interrogation must cease, and o cials may not rei nitiate interrogation without counsel present, whether or not the accused has consulted with his attorney.” 498 U.S. at 153– 54. A clear invocation of the right to counsel should halt inter rogation, period. State o cials may not weigh whether the suspect desires counsel moment by moment because that would create “a regime in which Edwards’ protection could pass in and out of existence multiple times prior to arraign ment.” Id. at 154. The state court’s judgment that Subdiaz 32 No. 18 1061 Osorio might have wanted a lawyer only for his extradition authorizes just such a regime. If the federal courts allow evasion of Edwards here, we will invite police interrogators to evade controlling federal consti tutional law by parsing requests for counsel for arguable am biguities and then going forward with interrogations anyway. That remains—for now—a high risk tactic, but the potential for abuse is plain. We can safely assume that custodial inter rogations often involve discussions of upcoming proceed ings—arraignments, bail hearings, plea bargaining sessions, and more. Neither Edwards nor Davis nor any other Supreme Court decision has required suspects to exclude these possi bilities by specifying when and where they desire counsel. Cf. Smith, 469 U.S. at 97 (“Uh, yeah, I’d like to do that” was un ambiguous invocation of right to counsel). Instead, under Bar rett, Smith, and Minnick, interrogators, state courts, and lower federal courts must presume a request is broad absent unam biguous evidence to the contrary. When Subdiaz Osorio re quested counsel “here,” the officers were obliged to halt their interrogation. They could have asked Subdiaz Osorio to clar ify whether he wanted counsel for the interrogation or for the future extradition proceedings. Under Barrett, Smith, and Minnick, however, they could not silently interpret the argua ble ambiguity in favor of going forward. IV. Harmless Error? On appeal, the state argues in the alternative that the Fifth Amendment violation was harmless. The state forfeited this argument by failing to present it to the district court. As we explained in Rhodes v. Dittmann, 903 F.3d 646 (7th Cir. 2018), states “can waive or forfeit the harmless error issue,” even if No. 18 1061 33 they raised it in state court. See id. at 663–64. “It is not the court’s job to search the record—without any help from the parties—to determine that the errors we find are prejudicial.” Id. at 664; see also Sanders v. Cotton, 398 F.3d 572, 582 (7th Cir. 2005); United States v. Giovannetti, 928 F.2d 225, 226 (7th Cir. 1991). The state’s submissions to the district court did not even hint at harmless error.2 This court exercises its discretion to overlook a state’s fail ure to argue harmless error only if “the harmlessness of the error or errors found is certain,” such that a reversal would lead to “futile proceedings in the district court,” Sanders, 398 F.3d at 582, or in the state courts for that matter. On habeas review, an error is not harmless if it “had substantial and in jurious effect or influence” on the state court proceedings. Brecht v. Abrahamson, 507 U.S. 619, 637 (1993). “[W]hen a ha beas court is in grave doubt as to the harmlessness of an error that affects substantial rights, it should grant relief.” O’Neal v. McAninch, 513 U.S. 432, 445 (1995). Under the “grave doubt” standard, it is not at all certain that admitting Subdiaz Osorio’s statements was harmless. As the majority notes, there was significant evidence that Ojeda Rodriguez, not Subdiaz Osorio, was the initial aggressor. See ante at 3. After invoking his right to counsel, Subdiaz Osorio gave contradictory statements to the police concerning who first took out a knife. Id. at 3 n.2. The admission of these in consistent statements in violation of Edwards undermined Subdiaz Osorio’s ability to raise self defense at trial and likely encouraged him to plead guilty. 2 The majority does not reach the issue. Ante at 16 n.5. 34 No. 18 1061 Accordingly, I respectfully dissent. I would reverse and grant a writ of habeas corpus.
Primary Holding
Defendant did not clearly invoke his right to an attorney by asking, in Spanish, “How can I do to get an attorney here because I don’t have enough to afford for one?”

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