Early v. Packer, No. 01-1765.

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPer Curiam
Citation537 U.S. 3
PartiesEARLY, WARDEN, ET AL. v. PACKER.
Docket NumberNo. 01-1765.
Decision Date04 November 2002
537 U.S. 3
EARLY, WARDEN, ET AL.
v.
PACKER.
No. 01-1765.
Supreme Court of United States.
Decided November 4, 2002.

A California jury convicted respondent of, inter alia, murder and attempted murder. On direct appeal, the State Court of Appeal rejected his claim that the trial judge coerced his deadlocked jury into continuing deliberations. The Federal District Court dismissed respondent's subsequent federal habeas petition but granted a certificate of appealability on the question whether the state trial judge violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights by coercing the jury into rendering a verdict. The Ninth Circuit reversed on that ground and instructed the District Court to grant the writ.

Held: The Ninth Circuit's decision exceeds the limits imposed on federal habeas review by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), which forecloses habeas relief on any claim adjudicated on the merits in state-court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim resulted in a decision that (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 proceedings. The Ninth Circuit erred in believing that a state court's "failure to cite" controlling Supreme Court precedent renders its decision "contrary to" clearly established federal law. Awareness of this Court's cases is not even required, so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the state-court decision contradicts them. The Ninth Circuit also erred in charging that the Court of Appeal did not apply the totality-of-the-circumstances test required by Lowenfield v. Phelps, 484 U.S. 231. Finally, the Ninth Circuit erred in finding our holdings in Jenkins v. United States, 380 U.S. 445 (per curiam), and United States v. United States Gypsum Co., 438 U.S. 422, which were based on the Court's supervisory power over the federal courts and not on constitutional grounds, applicable to state-court proceedings. Because the Ninth Circuit erroneously found that the State Court of Appeal's decision was contrary to clearly established Supreme Court law, and because it is at least reasonable to conclude that there was no jury coercion here, the State Court of Appeal's determination to that effect must stand.

Certiorari granted; 291 F.3d 569, reversed.

ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

[537 U.S. 4]

PER CURIAM.


The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted habeas relief to respondent William Packer after concluding that the state trial judge coerced the jury's verdict. Packer v. Hill, 291 F.3d 569 (2002). Because this decision exceeds the limits imposed on federal habeas review by 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), we grant the petition for certiorari and reverse.

I

A California jury convicted respondent of one count of second-degree murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of attempted robbery, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of assault with a firearm. It acquitted him on 10 other counts.

The path to the jury's guilty verdicts on the murder and attempted-murder charges was not an easy one. After 28 hours of deliberation, and after the jury had returned sealed verdict forms on all the other charges, juror Eve Radcliff sent a note to the judge requesting to be dismissed from the jury due to "`health problems.'" 291 F. 3d, at 573. The judge then met alone with Radcliff, who explained that "`because of the seriousness of the charges, I can't make snap decisions.... I was beginning to feel a little burned out.'" Ibid. The judge asked Radcliff if she could "`hold out just a little bit longer,'" and when Radcliff agreed the judge replied: "`I really appreciate it. Otherwise, they have to start deliberations all over again with another person.'" Ibid. (emphasis deleted).

The next day, the foreman sent the judge a note stating that "`we can no longer deliberate,'" that "`Eve Radcliff, does not appear to be able to understand the rules as given by you,'" that "`nearly all my fellow jurors questio[n] her ability to understand the rules and her ability to reason,'" and that continuing will result in a "`hung jury ... based on ... one person's inability to reason or desire to be unreasonable.'" Ibid. The judge called the jury into the court-room,

537 U.S. 5

and, in the presence of the attorneys and the defendant, read the note aloud. The judge asked the foreman whether the jury was deliberating. The foreman replied that the jurors were "`just having the same conversation over the same issue time and time again.'" Id., at 574. The judge made the following statement to the jury:

"`The juror has a right to do that, as you all know. They have a right to disagree with everybody else. But they do not have a right to not deliberate. They must deliberate and follow the rules and laws as I state it to them.'" Ibid.

The judge then asked the foreman what the latest vote count was, but told him not to reveal which side had which number of votes. The foreman indicated that the last vote count had been 11 to 1. After the foreman indicated that further deliberations would be helpful, the judge gave the following instruction to the jury:

"`What you do is — like I think what the instructions were — you apply the facts to the law and you arrive at a decision. The law is right there, and I think elements of the law was [sic] given to you in those instructions. They do this or not do this? Was it proven beyond a reasonable doubt? This element, this element, this element? If they did and you find unanimously they did that, you must follow the law and find them either guilty or not guilty of that charge.'" Ibid. (emphasis deleted).

At this point, defense counsel objected on the ground that the judge was improperly "`instructing the jury . . . as to their manner of deliberation.'" Id., at 574-575. The judge overruled the objection and continued his instruction as follows:

"`Ladies and Gentlemen, the only thing I'm going to tell you right now is; once again, I told you, you'll look up in the instructions paraphrasing it, I think I'm using

537 U.S. 6

the correct words: you're the sole judges of the facts. You determine the facts. You then apply the law to those facts as I state it to you, and you must accept and follow the law. You can't make up your own law. You must accept and follow the law as I state it to you.'" Id., at 575.

The judge then excused the jury for the day.

...

To continue reading

Request your trial
3971 practice notes
  • Williams v. Bagley, No. 02-3461.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 13, 2004
    ...of Supreme Court cases, "so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the state-court decision contradicts them." Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8, 123 S.Ct. 362, 154 L.Ed.2d 263, 123 S.Ct. 362 (2002) (per curiam). Moreover, the findings of fact made by a state court are presumed correc......
  • Al-Timimi v. Jackson, Civil No. 05-10266.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • February 17, 2009
    ...of Supreme Court cases, "so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the state-court decision contradicts them." Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8, 123 S.Ct. 362, 154 L.Ed.2d 263 (2002) (per 2. Confrontation Clause Claim The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment provides that a cr......
  • Keenan v. Bagley, CASE NO. 1:01 CV 2139
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • April 24, 2012
    ...or apply the relevant federal law regarding judicial bias, it arrived at the conclusion compelled by federal law. See Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002) (holding that the state court need not cite or even be aware of the relevant United States Supreme Court cases, "so long as neither the......
  • McWhorter v. Dunn, Case No. 4:13-CV-02150-RDP
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • January 22, 2019
    ...at a result opposite to ours.Williams, 529 U.S. at 405. See also, e.g., Brown v. Payton, 544 U.S. 133, 141 (2005) (same); Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002) (per curiam) (same); Putman v. Head, 268 F.3d 1223, 1240-41 (11th Cir. 2001) (same). As the Eleventh Circuit has noted, the majorit......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3989 cases
  • Williams v. Bagley, No. 02-3461.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • August 13, 2004
    ...of Supreme Court cases, "so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the state-court decision contradicts them." Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8, 123 S.Ct. 362, 154 L.Ed.2d 263, 123 S.Ct. 362 (2002) (per curiam). Moreover, the findings of fact made by a state court are presumed correc......
  • Al-Timimi v. Jackson, Civil No. 05-10266.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
    • February 17, 2009
    ...of Supreme Court cases, "so long as neither the reasoning nor the result of the state-court decision contradicts them." Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8, 123 S.Ct. 362, 154 L.Ed.2d 263 (2002) (per 2. Confrontation Clause Claim The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment provides that a cr......
  • Keenan v. Bagley, CASE NO. 1:01 CV 2139
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • April 24, 2012
    ...or apply the relevant federal law regarding judicial bias, it arrived at the conclusion compelled by federal law. See Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002) (holding that the state court need not cite or even be aware of the relevant United States Supreme Court cases, "so long as neither the......
  • McWhorter v. Dunn, Case No. 4:13-CV-02150-RDP
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • January 22, 2019
    ...at a result opposite to ours.Williams, 529 U.S. at 405. See also, e.g., Brown v. Payton, 544 U.S. 133, 141 (2005) (same); Early v. Packer, 537 U.S. 3, 8 (2002) (per curiam) (same); Putman v. Head, 268 F.3d 1223, 1240-41 (11th Cir. 2001) (same). As the Eleventh Circuit has noted, the majorit......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT