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Name: Koerner v. Grigas
Case #: 01-15345
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/28/2003

The Ninth Circuit held that a state prisoner’s habeas claim that he was denied a direct state appeal was not barred as procedurally defaulted because the Nevada Supreme Court’s dismissal of his third petition was too ambiguous to constitute an independent and adequate state ground. The court found the en banc decision in Valerio v. Crawford (9th Cir. 2002) 306 F.3d 742 controlling. Since it was impossible to tell from the Nevada Supreme Court opinion which issues were barred as previously litigated and which were barred as procedurally defaulted, it could not be said the state court clearly and expressly relied on an independent and adequate state ground.