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Name: Lockyer v. Andrade
Case #: 01-1127
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 03/05/2003
Subsequent History: Cross-cites: 123 S.Ct. 1166; 155 L. Ed.2d 144

In order to be “contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law” as required by 28 U.S.C. section 2254 (d)(1) (AEDPA), the state court decision must confront a case which is materially indistinguishable from federal Supreme Court precedent and yet nevertheless arrive at a different result. The Supreme Court precedent on what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in the context of a particular sentence for a term of years that was clearly established was the grossly disproportionate principle, which required an exceedingly rare or “extreme” case. Thus, to get relief under AEDPA, the state court judgment denying relief for a term of 25 years to life under California’s Three Strikes Law needs to be more than merely erroneous. Since the affirmance was not an unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedent, the federal appellate court erred in granting relief under AEDPA.