|PRICE V. VINCENT (02-524) 538 U.S. 634 (2003)
292 F.3d 506, reversed.
[ Rehnquist ]
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.
PRICE, WARDEN v. VINCENT
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT
At respondents trial on an open murder charge, defense counsel moved, at the close of the prosecutions case in chief and outside the jurys hearing, for a directed verdict of acquittal as to first-degree murder. The trial judge stated that second-degree murder was
Held: Respondent did not meet the statutory requirements for habeas relief. The parties do not dispute the underlying facts, and respondent is therefore entitled to relief only if he can demonstrate that the state courts adjudication of his claim was contrary to or an unreasonable application of this Courts clearly established precedents. 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1). The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recited this standard but then forgot to apply it, reviewing the double jeopardy question de novo. This was error. A state court decision is contrary to this Courts clearly established law if it applies a rule that contradicts the governing law set forth in [the Courts] cases or if it confronts a set of facts that are materially indistinguishable from a decision of this Court and nevertheless arrives at a different result. Williams v. Taylor, 529 U.S. 362, 405406. Here, the Michigan Supreme Court identified, and reaffirmed the principles articulated in, the applicable precedents of United States v. Martin Linen Supply Co., 430 U.S. 564, and Smalis v. Pennsylvania, 476 U.S. 140. Nowhere did it apply a legal standard contrary to those set forth in this Courts cases, nor did it confront a set of facts materially indistinguishable from those in any case decided by this Court. The state courts decision therefore was not contrary to this Courts precedents. Nor was the state courts decision an unreasonable application of clearly established law. That court applied both Martin Linen and Smalis to conclude that the judges comments were not sufficiently final to terminate jeopardy. In reaching this conclusion, in addition to reviewing the context and substance of the trial judges comments at length, the court observed that there was no formal judgment or order entered on the record. While it noted that formal motions or rulings were not required to demonstrate finality as a matter of Michigan law, it cautioned that a judgment must bear sufficient indicia of finality and it concluded that sufficient indicia were not present here. This was not an objectively unreasonable application of clearly established Supreme Court law. Indeed, numerous courts have refused to find double jeopardy violations under similar circumstances. Even if this Court agreed with the Sixth Circuit that the Double Jeopardy Clause should be read to prevent continued prosecution under these circumstances, it was at least reasonable for the state court to conclude otherwise. Pp. 38.
292 F.3d 506, reversed.
Rehnquist, C. J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.