132 S. Ct. 38
PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Petitioner prisoner was convicted in state court of murder, robbery, and conspiracy, but the prisoner asserted that the prosecution improperly introduced redacted confessions of nontestifying codefendants in their joint trial. Upon the grant of a writ of certiorari, the prisoner appealed the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit which upheld a denial of the prisoner's habeas corpus petition.
OVERVIEW: The prisoner's direct appeal of his conviction was denied and, before the state's highest court rejected a further appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision which barred the use of redacted confessions of nontestifying codefendants. The prisoner contended that, when his conviction became final with the rejection of his appeal by the state's highest court, the use of the redacted confessions was contrary to clearly established federal law, thus warranting habeas corpus relief. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held, however, that under 28 U.S.C.S. § 2254(d)(1) clearly established federal law included only the Court's decisions issued before the relevant adjudication of the merits of the prisoner's claim, regardless of when the prisoner's conviction became final. The direct appeal was thus the relevant adjudication of the merits, and the preclusion of the redacted confessions was not clearly established federal law at the time of the adjudication.
OUTCOME: The judgment upholding the denial of the prisoner's habeas corpus petition was affirmed.
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