Horn v. Banks, No. 01-1385.

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPer Curiam
Citation536 U.S. 266
Docket NumberNo. 01-1385.
Decision Date17 June 2002
PartiesHORN, COMMISSIONER, PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL. <I>v.</I> BANKS.

Page 266

536 U.S. 266
HORN, COMMISSIONER, PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL.
v.
BANKS.
No. 01-1385.
Supreme Court of the United States.
Decided June 17, 2002.

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

A Pennsylvania trial court sentenced respondent to death on each of his 12 convictions of first-degree murder. The verdict form in the trial's penalty phase required, in relevant part, the jury to check a box indicating that it found unanimously either at least one aggravating circumstance and no mitigating circumstances or one or more aggravating circumstances outweighing any mitigating circumstances. The jury marked the latter box. After respondent's direct appeal was denied, this Court held that the Constitution prohibits a State from requiring jurors unanimously to agree that a particular mitigating circumstance exists before they may consider that circumstance in their sentencing determination, Mills v. Maryland, 486 U. S. 367, 374. In subsequent state postconviction proceedings, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected respondent's claim that the instructions to the jury and the verdict forms in his case suggested that the mitigating circumstance findings had to be unanimous. In denying his later federal habeas petition, the District Court did not address whether Mills was retroactive, finding instead the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) review standard dispositive. The Third Circuit reversed in part, granting relief under Mills. It found that it did not need to evaluate whether Mills applied retroactively per Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288, because the State Supreme Court had not ruled on retroactivity, and it found the state court's application of federal law unreasonable under Mills and Boyde v. California, 494 U. S. 370.

Held: The Third Circuit erred when it failed to perform a Teague analysis. Whether to apply the Teague rule — that new constitutional rules of criminal procedure generally do not apply to cases that became final before the new rules were announced, 489 U. S., at 310 — is a threshold question in every habeas case. A federal court may decline to apply Teague if a State does not argue it; but if the State does argue Teague, the court must apply it before considering the claim's merits. Caspari v. Bohlen, 510 U. S. 383. Here, petitioners raised the Teague issue both in the District Court and in the Third Circuit. To the extent that the latter court's opinion can be read to imply that AEDPA has changed Caspari's legal principles, none of this Court's post-AEDPA cases have

Page 267

suggested that habeas should automatically issue if a prisoner satisfies the AEDPA review standard or that AEDPA relieves courts from the responsibility of addressing properly raised Teague arguments.

Certiorari granted; reversed and remanded.

PER CURIAM.


The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit granted respondent federal habeas corpus relief from his death sentence. 271 F. 3d 527 (2001). Applying the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) standard of review,1 the Court of Appeals concluded that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had unreasonably applied federal law in evaluating respondent's claim that his penalty phase jury instructions and verdict forms were improper under Mills v. Maryland, 486 U. S. 367 (1988). The Court of Appeals found it unnecessary to evaluate whether Mills applies retroactively to cases on habeas review per Teague v. Lane, 489 U. S. 288 (1989), because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had not ruled on retroactivity. 271 F. 3d, at 541-543. In avoiding the Teague issue, the Court of Appeals directly contravened Caspari v. Bohlen, 510 U. S. 383 (1994), in which we held that federal courts must address the Teague question when it is properly argued by the government. We thus grant the petition for a writ of certiorari and reverse the Court of Appeals' determination that a Teague analysis was unnecessary.2

Page 268

Respondent, George Banks, was convicted of 12 counts of first-degree murder stemming from a series of shootings on September 25, 1982. During the penalty phase of his trial, the jury was instructed, in part:

"The sentence you impose will depend upon your findings concerning aggravating and mitigating circumstances. The Crime[s] Code in this Commonwealth provides that the verdict must be a sentence of death if the jury unanimously finds at least one aggravating circumstance and no mitigating circumstance, or if the jury unanimously finds one or more aggravating circumstances which outweigh any mitigating circumstance or circumstances." Commonwealth v. Banks, 540 Pa. 143, 150, 656 A. 2d 467, 470 (1995).

In relevant part, the verdict form required the jury to check a box indicating that "[w]e the jury have found unanimously" either "[a]t least one aggravating circumstance and no mitigating circumstances," or "[o]ne or more aggravating circumstances which outweigh any mitigating circumstance or circumstances." 271 F. 3d, at 549-550. The jury marked the latter box, and also checked two other boxes indicating the aggravating circumstance (multiple offenses punishable by at least life in prison) and mitigating circumstance (extreme mental or emotional disturbance) that it had found. Respondent was sentenced to death on each count of first-degree murder.

After respondent's direct appeal was denied, we decided Mills, in which we held that the Constitution prohibits a State from requiring jurors...

To continue reading

Request your trial
201 practice notes
  • Moore v. Quarterman, Civil No. SA-03-CA-405-RF.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • December 20, 2007
    ...date of the state court judgment for which review is sought). Teague remains applicable after the passage of the AEDPA. See Horn v. Banks, 536 U.S. 266, 268-72, 122 S.Ct. 2147, 2148-51, 153 L.Ed.2d 301 (2002) (applying Teague in an AEDPA context); Robertson v. Cockrell, 325 F.3d 243, 255 (5......
  • Ayala v. Wong, No. 09–99005.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • August 29, 2012
    ...considering a habeas petition must conduct a threshold Teague analysis when the issue is properly raised by the state.” Horn v. Banks, 536 U.S. 266, 272, 122 S.Ct. 2147, 153 L.Ed.2d 301 (2002). Under Teague, a “new constitutional rule[ ] of criminal procedure” cannot be applied retroactivel......
  • Williams v. Cavazos, No. 07–56127.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • May 23, 2011
    ...considering a habeas petition must conduct a threshold Teague analysis when the issue is properly raised by the state.” Horn v. Banks, 536 U.S. 266, 272, 122 S.Ct. 2147, 153 L.Ed.2d 301 (2002) (per curiam). A Teague claim may be waived by the State, however, and so we need not consider Teag......
  • Kindler v. Horn, No. CIV.A.99-CV-0161.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • September 24, 2003
    ...are bound by the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Banks v. Horn, 271 F.3d 527 (3d Cir.2001), rev'd in part, 536 U.S. 266, 122 S.Ct. 2147, 153 L.Ed.2d 301 (2002), reaffirmed on reconsideration, 316 F.3d 228 (3d Cir.2003) that Mills did not announce a new legal r......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
199 cases
  • Moore v. Quarterman, Civil No. SA-03-CA-405-RF.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • December 20, 2007
    ...date of the state court judgment for which review is sought). Teague remains applicable after the passage of the AEDPA. See Horn v. Banks, 536 U.S. 266, 268-72, 122 S.Ct. 2147, 2148-51, 153 L.Ed.2d 301 (2002) (applying Teague in an AEDPA context); Robertson v. Cockrell, 325 F.3d 243, 255 (5......
  • Ayala v. Wong, No. 09–99005.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • August 29, 2012
    ...considering a habeas petition must conduct a threshold Teague analysis when the issue is properly raised by the state.” Horn v. Banks, 536 U.S. 266, 272, 122 S.Ct. 2147, 153 L.Ed.2d 301 (2002). Under Teague, a “new constitutional rule[ ] of criminal procedure” cannot be applied retroactivel......
  • Williams v. Cavazos, No. 07–56127.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • May 23, 2011
    ...considering a habeas petition must conduct a threshold Teague analysis when the issue is properly raised by the state.” Horn v. Banks, 536 U.S. 266, 272, 122 S.Ct. 2147, 153 L.Ed.2d 301 (2002) (per curiam). A Teague claim may be waived by the State, however, and so we need not consider Teag......
  • Kindler v. Horn, No. CIV.A.99-CV-0161.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • September 24, 2003
    ...are bound by the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Banks v. Horn, 271 F.3d 527 (3d Cir.2001), rev'd in part, 536 U.S. 266, 122 S.Ct. 2147, 153 L.Ed.2d 301 (2002), reaffirmed on reconsideration, 316 F.3d 228 (3d Cir.2003) that Mills did not announce a new legal r......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Institutionalizing the Culture of Control
    • United States
    • International Criminal Justice Review Nbr. 24-4, December 2014
    • December 1, 2014
    ...(2010)Holmes v. South Carolina, 547 U.S. 319 (2006)Hopkins v. Reeves, 524 U.S. 88 (1998)Hopper v. Evans, 456 U.S. 605 (1982)Horn v. Banks, 536 U.S. 266 (2002)House v. Bell, 547 U.S. 518 (2006)Jefferson v. Upton, 560 U.S. ___ (2010)Johnson v. Mississippi, 486 U.S. 578 (1988)Johnson v. Texas,......

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