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Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Deference to State Court Under AEDPA
In Brown v. Payton, No. 03-1029 (March 22, 2005), the Supreme Court held that, under the deferential AEDPA standard for federal review of state decisions, the California Supreme Court did not render a decision contrary to, or unreasonably applying, federal law, when it declined to find a constitutional violation in the prosecutor’s incorrect statement in closing argument in the death phase of the trial that a jury could not take account in mitigation of anything that happened after the crime, i.e, the defendant’s post-offense rehabilitation. The trial court gave a standard § (k) instruction that "any other" extenuating factor could be considered.The Court noted that in Boyde v. California, it had upheld the § k instruction, and that the California Supreme Court had relied on Boyde in affirming the defendant’s sentence. The found that the California Supreme Court had applied Boyde to a different set of facts and could not therefore, under AEDPA, be found to be contrary to established federal law.