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Name: Premo v. Moore
Case #: 09-658
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 01/19/2011
Subsequent History: 131 S.Ct. 733; 178 L.Ed.2d 649

Under AEDPA, federal habeas relief may not be granted with respect to an IAC claim unless the state court’s decision denying relief involves “an unreasonable application” of Strickland v. Washington (1984) 466 U.S. 668. The high court reviewed a Ninth Circuit decision granting habeas relief based on ineffective assistance of counsel in assessing and advising to take a plea bargain before moving to suppress an arguably illegally-obtained confession. It reversed, finding the Court of Appeals did not accord the proper deference under AEDPA. Trial counsel explained he did not move to suppress the confession to police because the same confession was made to two other available witnesses. Based on this, the state court reasonably concluded that in light of two other admissible confessions regarding the crimes, the Strickland test could not be met. Since the state court decision did not involve an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law, federal habeas relief should not have been granted. The court noted that in the context of guilty plea cases, deference to the state court’s prejudice determination is even more important due to the uncertainty involved. At that stage of the proceedings, neither the prosecution or defense case has been well-developed and both parties must make strategic choices to balance opportunities and risks.