Greene v. Fisher, No. 10–637.

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtJustice SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.
Citation181 L.Ed.2d 336,565 U.S. 34,132 S.Ct. 38
Parties Eric GREENE, aka Jarmaine Q. Trice, Petitioner, v. Jon FISHER, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution at Smithfield, et al.
Docket NumberNo. 10–637.
Decision Date08 November 2011

565 U.S. 34
132 S.Ct.
38
181 L.Ed.2d 336

Eric GREENE, aka Jarmaine Q. Trice, Petitioner,
v.
Jon FISHER, Superintendent, State Correctional Institution at Smithfield, et al.

No. 10–637.

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued Oct. 11, 2011.
Decided Nov. 8, 2011.


Jeffrey L. Fisher, Stanford, CA, for Petitioner.

Ronald Eisenberg, Philadelphia, PA, for Respondents.

Isabel McGinty, Isabel McGinty, LLC, Hightstown, NJ, Thomas C. Goldstein, Amy Howe, Kevin K. Russell, Goldstein, Howe & Russell, P.C., Bethesda, MD, Jeffrey L. Fisher, Counsel of Record, Pamela S. Karlan, Stanford Law School, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Stanford, CA, for Petitioner.

Ronald Eisenberg, Deputy District Attorney (Counsel of Record), Susan E. Affronti, Asst. District Attorney, Thomas W. Dolgenos, Chief, Federal Litigation, Edward F. McCann, Jr., Acting 1st Asst. Dist. Atty., R. Seth Williams, District Attorney, Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, Philadelphia, PA, for Respondents.

Justice SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.

565 U.S. 35

Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), a federal court may not grant habeas relief to a state prisoner with respect to any claim that has been "adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings" unless the state-court adjudication "resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of,

565 U.S. 36

clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). We consider whether "clearly established Federal law" includes decisions of this Court that are announced after the last adjudication of the merits in state court but before the defendant's conviction becomes final.

I

In December 1993, petitioner Eric Greene and four co-conspirators robbed a grocery store in North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the robbery, one of the men shot and killed the store's owner. The five were apprehended, and two of them confessed to taking part in the robbery. Greene did not confess, but he was implicated by the others' statements.

When the Commonwealth sought to try all of the coconspirators jointly, Greene sought severance, arguing, inter alia, that the confessions of his nontestifying codefendants should not be introduced at his trial. The trial court denied the motion to sever, but agreed to require redaction of the confessions to eliminate proper names. As redacted, the confessions replaced names with words like "this guy," "someone," and "other guys," or with the word "blank," or simply omitted the names without substitution.

A jury convicted Greene of second-degree murder, robbery, and conspiracy. He appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, arguing that severance of his trial was demanded by the rule announced in Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S.Ct. 1620, 20 L.Ed.2d 476 (1968), that the

132 S.Ct. 43

Confrontation Clause forbids the prosecution to introduce a nontestifying codefendant's confession implicating the defendant in the crime. The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the conviction, holding that the redaction had cured any problem under Bruton .

Greene filed a petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, raising the same Bruton claim. While that petition was pending, we held in Gray v. Maryland, 523 U.S. 185, 195, 118 S.Ct. 1151, 140 L.Ed.2d 294 (1998), that "considered as a class,

565 U.S. 37

redactions that replace a proper name with an obvious blank, the word ‘delete,’ a symbol, or similarly notify the jury that a name has been deleted are similar enough to Bruton 's unredacted confessions as to warrant the same legal results." The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted the petition for allowance of appeal, limited to the question whether admission of the redacted confessions violated Greene's Sixth Amendment rights. After the parties filed merits briefs, however, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed the appeal as improvidently granted.

Greene then filed a federal habeas corpus petition in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleging, inter alia, that the introduction of his nontestifying codefendants' statements violated the Confrontation Clause. Adopting the report and recommendation of a Magistrate Judge, the District Court denied the petition. It concluded that since our decision in Gray was not "clearly established Federal law" when the Pennsylvania Superior Court adjudicated Greene's Confrontation Clause claim, that court's decision was not "contrary to," or "an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1).

A divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed. Greene v. Palakovich, 606 F.3d 85 (2010). The majority held that the "clearly established Federal law" referred to in § 2254(d)(1) is the law at the time of the state-court adjudication on the merits. Id., at 99. The dissenting judge contended that it is the law at the time the conviction becomes final. Id., at 108. We granted certiorari. 563 U.S. ––––, 131 S.Ct. 1813, 179 L.Ed.2d 772 (2011).

II

Section 2254(d) of Title 28, U.S.C., as amended by AEDPA, provides:

"An application for a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court shall not be granted with respect to any
565 U.S. 38
claim that was adjudicated on the merits in
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947 practice notes
  • Stewart v. MaCauley, Case No. 1:20-cv-68
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • April 7, 2020
    ...law" does not include decisions of the Supreme Court announced after the last adjudication of the merits in state court. Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34, 37-38 (2011). Thus, the inquiry is limited to an examination of the legal landscape as it would have appeared to thePage 6 Michigan state c......
  • Buttolph v. Adams, 1:18-cv-2370
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • September 10, 2020
    ...as a guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, and not as a means of error correction," Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34, 38 (2011) (internal quotations and citations omitted), "[t]his is a difficult to meet and highly deferential standard . . . which demands th......
  • Lewis v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., Case No. 3:17-cv-468-J-34JBT
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • May 28, 2020
    ...extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, and not as a means of error correction.'" Id. (quoting Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34, 38 (2011) (quotation marks omitted)). As such, federal habeas review of final state court decisions is "'greatly circumscribed' and 'highly defer......
  • Freeman v. Dunn, CASE NO. 2:06-CV-122-WKW [WO]
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • July 2, 2018
    ...to guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, and not as a means of error correction. Greene v. Fisher, 565 U. S. 34, 43 (2011) (quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U. S. 86, 102-03 (2011)); Hill v. Humphrey, 662 F.3d 1336, 1347 (11th Cir. 2011) (en banc), cert......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
936 cases
  • Stewart v. MaCauley, Case No. 1:20-cv-68
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • April 7, 2020
    ...law" does not include decisions of the Supreme Court announced after the last adjudication of the merits in state court. Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34, 37-38 (2011). Thus, the inquiry is limited to an examination of the legal landscape as it would have appeared to thePage 6 Michigan state c......
  • Buttolph v. Adams, 1:18-cv-2370
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • September 10, 2020
    ...as a guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, and not as a means of error correction," Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34, 38 (2011) (internal quotations and citations omitted), "[t]his is a difficult to meet and highly deferential standard . . . which demands th......
  • Lewis v. Sec'y, Fla. Dep't of Corr., Case No. 3:17-cv-468-J-34JBT
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • May 28, 2020
    ...extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, and not as a means of error correction.'" Id. (quoting Greene v. Fisher, 565 U.S. 34, 38 (2011) (quotation marks omitted)). As such, federal habeas review of final state court decisions is "'greatly circumscribed' and 'highly defer......
  • Freeman v. Dunn, CASE NO. 2:06-CV-122-WKW [WO]
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • July 2, 2018
    ...to guard against extreme malfunctions in the state criminal justice systems, and not as a means of error correction. Greene v. Fisher, 565 U. S. 34, 43 (2011) (quoting Harrington v. Richter, 562 U. S. 86, 102-03 (2011)); Hill v. Humphrey, 662 F.3d 1336, 1347 (11th Cir. 2011) (en banc), cert......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
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