Danforth v. Minnesota, No. 06–8273.

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtJustice STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Citation169 L.Ed.2d 859,128 S.Ct. 1029,2008 Daily Journal D.A.R. 2536,21 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 66,76 USLW 4069,08 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 2115,552 U.S. 264
Decision Date20 February 2008
Docket NumberNo. 06–8273.
PartiesStephen DANFORTH, Petitioner, v. MINNESOTA.

08 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 2115
128 S.Ct. 1029
169 L.Ed.2d 859
2008 Daily Journal D.A.R. 2536
21 Fla.
L. Weekly Fed. S 66
552 U.S. 264
76 USLW 4069

Stephen DANFORTH, Petitioner,
v.
MINNESOTA.

No. 06–8273.

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued Oct. 31, 2007.Decided Feb. 20, 2008.


[128 S.Ct. 1031]

[552 U.S. 264]

Syllabus *

After this Court announced a “new rule” for evaluating the reliability of testimonial statements in criminal cases, see Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 68–69, 124 S.Ct. 1354, 158 L.Ed.2d 177, petitioner sought state postconviction relief, arguing that he was entitled to a new trial because admitting the victim's taped interview at his trial violated Crawford's rule. The Minnesota trial and appeals courts concluded that Crawford did not apply retroactively under Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 109 S.Ct. 1060, 103 L.Ed.2d 334. The State Supreme Court agreed, and also concluded that state courts are not free to give a decision of this Court announcing a new constitutional rule of criminal procedure broader retroactive application than that given by this Court.

Held: Teague does not constrain the authority of state courts to give broader effect to new rules of criminal procedure than is required by that opinion. Pp. 1034 – 1047.

(a) Crawford announced a “new rule”—as defined by Teague—because its result “was not dictated by precedent existing at the time the defendant's conviction became final,” Teague, 489 U.S., at 301, 109 S.Ct. 1060 (plurality opinion). It was not, however, a rule “of [this Court's] own devising” or the product of its own views about sound policy, Crawford, 541 U.S., at 67, 124 S.Ct. 1354. Pp. 1034 – 1035.

(b) The Court first adopted a “retroactivity” standard in Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 629, 85 S.Ct. 1731, 14 L.Ed.2d 601, but later rejected that standard for cases pending on direct review, Griffith v. Kentucky, 479 U.S. 314, 107 S.Ct. 708, 93 L.Ed.2d 649, and on federal habeas review, Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 109 S.Ct. 1060, 103 L.Ed.2d 334. Under Teague, new constitutional rules of criminal procedure may not be applied retroactively to cases on federal habeas review unless they place certain primary individual conduct beyond the States' power to proscribe or are “watershed” rules of criminal procedure. Id., at 310, 109 S.Ct. 1060 (plurality opinion). Pp. 1035 – 1038.

(c) Neither Linkletter nor Teague explicitly or implicitly constrained the States' authority to provide remedies for a broader range of constitutional violations than are redressable on federal habeas. And Teague makes clear that its rule was tailored to the federal habeas context and thus had no bearing on whether States could provide broader relief in their own postconviction proceedings. Nothing in Justice O'Connor's general nonretroactivity rule discussion in Teague asserts or even intimates that her definition of the class eligible for relief under a new rule

[552 U.S. 265]

should inhibit the authority of a state agency or state court to extend a new rule's benefit to a broader class than she defined. Her opinion also clearly indicates that Teague's general nonretroactivity rule was an exercise of this Court's power to interpret the federal habeas statute. Since Teague is based on statutory authority that extends only to federal courts applying a federal statute, it cannot be read [128 S.Ct. 1032] as imposing a binding obligation on state courts. The opinion's text and reasoning also illustrate that the rule was meant to apply only to federal courts considering habeas petitions challenging state-court criminal convictions. The federal interest in uniformity in the application of federal law does not outweigh the general principle that States are independent sovereigns with plenary authority to make and enforce their own laws as long as they do not infringe on federal constitutional guarantees. The Teague rule was intended to limit federal courts' authority to overturn state convictions not to limit a state court's authority to grant relief for violations of new constitutional law rules when reviewing its own State's convictions. Subsequent cases confirm this view. See, e.g., Beard v. Banks, 542 U.S. 406, 412, 124 S.Ct. 2504, 159 L.Ed.2d 494. Pp. 1038 – 1042.

(d) Neither Michigan v. Payne, 412 U.S. 47, 93 S.Ct. 1966, 36 L.Ed.2d 736, nor American Trucking Assns., Inc. v. Smith, 496 U.S. 167, 110 S.Ct. 2323, 110 L.Ed.2d 148, cast doubt on the state courts' authority to provide broader remedies for federal constitutional violations than mandated by Teague. Pp. 1042 – 1046.

(e) No federal rule, either implicitly announced in Teague, or in some other source of federal law, prohibits States from giving broader retroactive effect to new rules of criminal procedure. Pp. 1046 – 1047.

718 N.W.2d 451, reversed and remanded.

STEVENS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which SCALIA, SOUTER, THOMAS, GINSBURG, BREYER, and ALITO, JJ., joined. ROBERTS, C.J., filed a dissenting opinion in which KENNEDY, J., joined.

Benjamin J. Butler, Minneapolis, MN, for petitioner.

Patrick C. Diamond, Minneapolis, MN, for respondent.

Benjamin J. Butler, Counsel of Record, Assistant Minnesota State Public Defender, Roy G. Spurbeck, Assistant Minnesota State Public Defender, Office of the Minnesota State Public Defender, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Petitioner.Lori Swanson, Minnesota Attorney General, Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Patrick C. Diamond, Counsel of Record, Deputy County Attorney, Jean Burdorf, Assistant County Attorney, Office of the Hennepin County Attorney, Minneapolis, MN, for Respondent.Justice STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.

[552 U.S. 266]

New constitutional rules announced by this Court that place certain kinds of primary individual conduct beyond the power of the States to proscribe, as well as “watershed” rules of criminal procedure, must be applied in all future trials, all cases pending on direct review, and all federal habeas corpus proceedings. All other new rules of criminal procedure must be applied in future trials and in cases pending on direct review, but may not provide the basis for a federal collateral attack on a state-court conviction. This is the substance of the “ Teague rule” described by Justice O'Connor in her plurality opinion in Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 109 S.Ct. 1060, 103 L.Ed.2d 334 (1989).1 [128 S.Ct. 1033] The question in this case is whether Teague constrains the authority of state courts to give broader effect to new rules of criminal procedure than is required by that opinion. We have never suggested that it does, and now hold that it does not.

[552 U.S. 267]

I

In 1996 a Minnesota jury found petitioner Stephen Danforth guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. See Minn.Stat. § 609.342, subd. 1(a) (1994). The 6–year–old victim did not testify at trial, but the jury saw and heard a videotaped interview of the child. On appeal from his conviction, Danforth argued that the tape's admission violated the Sixth Amendment's guarantee that “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right ... to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” Applying the rule of admissibility set forth in Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56, 100 S.Ct. 2531, 65 L.Ed.2d 597 (1980), the Minnesota Court of Appeals concluded that the tape “was sufficiently reliable to be admitted into evidence,” and affirmed the conviction. State v. Danforth, 573 N.W.2d 369, 375 (1997). The conviction became final in 1998 when the Minnesota Supreme Court denied review and petitioner's time for filing a writ of certiorari elapsed. See Caspari v. Bohlen, 510 U.S. 383, 390, 114 S.Ct. 948, 127 L.Ed.2d 236 (1994).

After petitioner's conviction had become final, we announced a “new rule” for evaluating the reliability of testimonial statements in criminal cases. In Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 68–69, 124 S.Ct. 1354, 158 L.Ed.2d 177 (2004), we held that where testimonial statements are at issue, “the only indicium of reliability sufficient to satisfy constitutional demands is the one the Constitution actually prescribes: confrontation.”

Shortly thereafter, petitioner filed a state postconviction petition, in which he argued that he was entitled to a new trial because the admission of the taped interview violated the rule announced in Crawford. Applying the standards set forth in Teague, the Minnesota trial court and the Minnesota Court of Appeals concluded that Crawford did not apply to petitioner's case. The State Supreme Court granted review to consider two arguments: (1) that the lower courts erred in holding that Crawford did not apply retroactively under Teague; and (2) that the state court was “free to apply

[552 U.S. 268]

a broader retroactivity standard than that of Teague,” and should apply the Crawford rule to petitioner's case even if federal law did not require it to do so. 718 N.W.2d 451, 455 (2006). The court rejected both arguments. Ibid.

With respect to the second, the Minnesota court held that our decisions in Michigan v. Payne, 412 U.S. 47, 93 S.Ct. 1966, 36 L.Ed.2d 736 (1973), American Trucking Assns., Inc. v. Smith, 496 U.S. 167, 110 S.Ct. 2323, 110 L.Ed.2d 148 (1990), and Teague itself establish that state courts are not free to give a Supreme Court decision announcing a new constitutional rule of criminal procedure broader retroactive application than that given by this Court.2 The Minnesota Court acknowledged[128 S.Ct. 1034] that other state courts had held that Teague does not apply to state postconviction proceedings,3 but concluded that “we are not free to fashion our own standard of retroactivity for Crawford.” 718 N.W.2d, at 455–457.

Our recent decision in Whorton v. Bockting, 549 U.S. 406, 127 S.Ct. 1173, 167 L.Ed.2d 1 (2007), makes clear that the Minnesota court correctly concluded that federal law does not require state courts to apply the holding in Crawford to cases that were final when that case was decided....

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    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 17, 2021
    ...on state courts. See, e.g., West v. American Telephone & Telegraph Co., 311 U. S. 223, 236 (1940); see also Danforth v. Minnesota, 552 U. S. 264, 291 (2008) (ROBERTS, C. J., dissenting) ("State courts are the final arbiters of their own state law"). Should the Pennsylvania courts interpret ......
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    • United States Supreme Court
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    ...16sistent, coherent way. Individual applications of the standard "produced strikingly divergent results," see Dan-forth v. Minnesota, 552 U. S. 264, 273 (2008), that many saw as "incompatible" and "inconsistent." Desist v. United States, 394 U. S. 244, 258 (1969) (Harlan, J., dissenting). J......
  • Williams v. State, CR–12–1862.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • April 4, 2014
    ...entitle him to a hearing.2 Although this Court is not constrained by the nonretroactivity analysis of Teague, see Danforth v. Minnesota, 552 U.S. 264, 280–81, 128 S.Ct. 1029, 169 L.Ed.2d 859 (2008), "Alabama courts have used the Teague analysis to determine whether decisions should be appli......
  • Welch v. United States, No. 15–6418.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 18, 2016
    ...See Chaidez v. United States, 568 U.S. ––––, ––––, n. 16, 133 S.Ct. 1103, 1113, n. 16, 185 L.Ed.2d 149 (2013) ; Danforth v. Minnesota, 552 U.S. 264, 269, n. 4, 128 S.Ct. 1029, 169 L.Ed.2d 859 (2008). Under Teague, as a general matter, "new constitutional rules of criminal procedure will not......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
521 cases
  • Fulton v. City of Phila., No. 19-123
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 17, 2021
    ...on state courts. See, e.g., West v. American Telephone & Telegraph Co., 311 U. S. 223, 236 (1940); see also Danforth v. Minnesota, 552 U. S. 264, 291 (2008) (ROBERTS, C. J., dissenting) ("State courts are the final arbiters of their own state law"). Should the Pennsylvania courts interpret ......
  • Davis v. U.S., No. 09-11328
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 16, 2011
    ...16sistent, coherent way. Individual applications of the standard "produced strikingly divergent results," see Dan-forth v. Minnesota, 552 U. S. 264, 273 (2008), that many saw as "incompatible" and "inconsistent." Desist v. United States, 394 U. S. 244, 258 (1969) (Harlan, J., dissenting). J......
  • Williams v. State, CR–12–1862.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • April 4, 2014
    ...entitle him to a hearing.2 Although this Court is not constrained by the nonretroactivity analysis of Teague, see Danforth v. Minnesota, 552 U.S. 264, 280–81, 128 S.Ct. 1029, 169 L.Ed.2d 859 (2008), "Alabama courts have used the Teague analysis to determine whether decisions should be appli......
  • Welch v. United States, No. 15–6418.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 18, 2016
    ...See Chaidez v. United States, 568 U.S. ––––, ––––, n. 16, 133 S.Ct. 1103, 1113, n. 16, 185 L.Ed.2d 149 (2013) ; Danforth v. Minnesota, 552 U.S. 264, 269, n. 4, 128 S.Ct. 1029, 169 L.Ed.2d 859 (2008). Under Teague, as a general matter, "new constitutional rules of criminal procedure will not......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles
  • Equalizing Access to Evidence: Criminal Defendants and the Stored Communications Act.
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    • Yale Law Journal Vol. 131 Nbr. 5, March 2022
    • March 1, 2022
    ...state criminal trials to provide defendants with protections 'implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.'" Danforth v. Minnesota, 552 U.S. 264, 269-270 (2008) (quoting Palko, 302 U.S. at 325); see also Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 720-21 (1997) (citing Palko, 302 U.S. at 325); M......
  • The End of Mandatory Juvenile Life Without Parole
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    • Criminal Justice Policy Review Nbr. 25-5, September 2014
    • September 1, 2014
    ...to life without parole in Massachusetts. Retrieved from http://www.clcm.org/UntilTheyDieaNaturalDeath9_09.pdfDanforth v. Minnesota, 128 S. Ct. 1029 (2008).Davis v. United States, 417 U.S. 333 (1974).Death Penalty Information Center. (2005). Year end report. Retrieved from http://www.death-p......

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