The Court of Appeals held the district court erred in dismissing a habeas petition alleging certain grounds because the claims had not been presented in an earlier petition in the district court, which had been dismissed without prejudice for exhaustion in state court. Under Slack v. McDaniel (2000) 529 U.S. 473, such an amended petition is not a “second or successive petition” for purposes of the writ. Each of the grounds also alleged a violation of constitutional rights (ineffective assistance, due process, and Eighth Amendment rights). Twelve other grounds for relief had been rejected on the basis of procedural default, which requires that the state rule must be clear, consistently applied, and well-established at the time of the purported default. After reviewing “complex” Ninth Circuit law on this point, the Court concluded these claims were not procedurally barred because the Nevada Supreme Court exercises discretion to hear the merits of federal constitutional claims. The Court also initially concluded that all issues raised were entitled to a certificate of appealability under AEDPA. They met the requirement that jurists of reason would find it debatable both whether the petition states a valid claim for denial of a constitutional right and whether the district court was correct in its procedural ruling.