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Name: Greene v. Fisher
Case #: 10-637
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 11/08/2011
Subsequent History: 132 S.Ct. 38; 181 L.Ed.2d 336

Under AEDPA, “clearly established law” is the law at the time of the state court’s adjudication on the merits and does not include decisions announced after the last adjudication of the merits but before the conviction is final. During petitioner’s trial for murder, the prosecution introduced a redacted confession from non testifying codefendants. The subsequent conviction was upheld by the state superior court, which found that Bruton v. United States (1968) 391 U.S. 123, did not apply because the confessions were redacted. While petitioner’s petition for state review was pending, the United States Supreme Court announced its decision in Gray v. Maryland (1998) 523 U.S. 185, holding that Bruton does apply to some redacted confessions. After the filing of briefs, the state court dismissed the appeal as improvidently granted. Petitioner then filed for federal habeas relief. The Court found he was not entitled to relief. Under AEDPA an application for writ of habeas corpus will not be granted as to any claim adjudicated on the merits in the state court unless the adjudication resulted in a decision that was contrary to “clearly established Federal law.” The Court found that the last state court adjudication on the merits of Petitioner’s case occurred on direct appeal to the superior court and predated Gray. Therefore, Gray was not clearly established Federal law at the time and the state court’s decision was not an unreasonable application of existing law. The Court observed that petitioner was responsible for his predicament as he could have, but failed to pursue a state court habeas action following denial of the state appeal, asserting Gray.