|BEARD V. BANKS (02-1603) 542 U.S. 406 (2004)
316 F.3d 228, reversed and remanded.
[ Thomas ]
[ Stevens ]
[ Souter ]
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U.S. 321, 337.
BEARD, SECRETARY, PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al. v. BANKS
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT
After respondents murder conviction and death sentence were upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, this Court decided Mills v. Maryland, 486 U.S. 367, and McKoy v. North Carolina, 494 U.S. 433, in which it held invalid capital sentencing schemes requiring juries to disregard mitigating factors not found unanimously. After respondents state postconviction Mills claim was rejected by the State Supreme Court on the merits, he turned to the federal courts. Ultimately, the Third Circuit applied the analytical framework set forth in Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, under which federal habeas petitioners may not avail themselves of new rules of constitutional criminal procedure outside two narrow exceptions; concluded that Mills did not announce a new rule and therefore could be applied retroactively; and granted respondent relief.
Held: Because Mills announced a new rule of constitutional criminal procedure that does not fall within either Teague exception, its rule cannot be applied retroactively. Pp. 414.
(a) Teague analysis involves a three-step process requiring a court to determine when a defendants conviction became final; whether, given the legal landscape at the time the conviction became final, the rule sought to be applied is actually new; and, if so, whether it falls within either of two exceptions to nonretroactivity. P. 4.
(b) Respondents conviction became final before Mills was decided. The normal rule for determining a state convictions finality for retroactivity reviewwhen the availability of direct appeal to the state courts has been exhausted and the time for filing a certiorari petition has elapsed or a timely petition has been finally deniedapplies here. That the Pennsylvania Supreme Court considered the merits of respondents Mills claim on collateral review does change his convictions finality to a date subsequent to Mills. Pp. 46.
(c) Mills announced a new rule. In reaching its conclusion in Mills and McKoy, this Court relied on a line of cases beginning with Lockett v. Ohio, 438 U.S. 586. Locketts general rule that the sentencer must be allowed to consider any mitigating evidence could be thought to support the conclusion in Mills and McKoy that capital sentencing schemes cannot require juries to disregard mitigating factors not found unanimously, but it did not mandate the Mills rule. Each of the cases relied on by Mills (and McKoy) considered only obstructions to the sentencers ability to consider mitigating evidence. Mills innovation rests with its shift in focus to individual jurors. Moreover, there is no need to guess whether reasonable jurists could have differed as to whether the Lockett line of cases compelled Mills. Four dissenting Justices in Mills reasoned that because nothing prevented the jury from hearing the mitigating evidence, Lockett did not control; and three dissenting Justices in McKoy concluded that Lockett did not remotely support the new focus on individual jurors. Because the Mills rule broke new ground, it applies to respondent on collateral review only if it falls under a Teague exception. Pp. 610.
Mills rule does not fall within either exception. There
is no argument that the first exception applies here. And this
Court has repeatedly emphasized the limited scope of the second
316 F.3d 228, reversed and remanded.
Thomas, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and OConnor, Scalia, and Kennedy, JJ., joined. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. Souter, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Ginsburg, J., joined.