Criminal Law and Procedure Decisions: Tyler v. Cain</titl <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS Feed for FindLaw Legal News Top Headlines" href="" /> <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS Feed for FindLaw Writ Legal Commentary" href="" /> <body itemscope itemtype=""> <!-- SiteCatalyst code version: H.20.3. Copyright 1997-2009 Omniture, Inc. 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Cain</ul><p align="center"><b>Habeas Corpus – Definition Of “Made Retroactive” Under 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2)(A)</b></p><p><b>Case: <a href="">Tyler v. Cain</a></b></p><p><b>Issue:</b> Whether the rule set forth in <a href="">Cage v.Louisiana</a>, 498 U.S. 39 (1990), that “a jury instruction isunconstitutional if there is a reasonable likelihood that the juryunderstood the instruction to allow conviction without proof beyonda reasonable doubt” was ever “made retroactive” by the UnitedStates Supreme Court, within the meaning of <a href="">28 U.S.C.§ 2244(b)(2)(A)</a>, to cases on collateral review.</p><p><b>Facts:</b> The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Actof 1996 (“AEDPA”) “greatly restricts the power of federal courts toaward relief to state prisoners who file second or successivehabeas corpus applications.” If a state prisoner asserts a claimthat he has already presented in an earlier federal habeaspetition, the United States District Court must dismiss thepetition. 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(1). If the second petitionasserts a claim that was not previously presented, the claim mustbe dismissed <u>unless</u>: the claim is predicated on newlydiscovered evidence that clearly establishes the prisoner’sinnocence [28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2)(B)]; or the claim “relies ona new rule of constitutional law, made retroactive to cases oncollateral review by the Supreme Court, that was previouslyunavailable.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2)(A). A Louisiana statejury found Tyler guilty of second-degree murder and his convictionwas affirmed on appeal. After filing five unsuccessful petitionsfor state post-conviction relief, Tyler filed a habeas petition inUnited States District Court. That petition was also unsuccessful.Following these events, the United States Supreme Court decided<u>Cage v. Louisiana</u>. In <u>Cage</u>, the Court held that “ajury instruction is unconstitutional if there is a reasonablelikelihood that the jury understood the instruction to allowconviction without proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” Because thejury instruction given in his original trial was “substantivelyidentical” to the one condemned in <u>Cage</u>, Tyler filed a sixthpetition for state post-conviction relief raising a <u>Cage</u>claim. The state district court denied relief and the LouisianaSupreme Court affirmed. In 1997, the United States Court of Appealsfor the Fifth Circuit granted Tyler permission to file a secondfederal habeas petition in accordance with the requirements setforth in § 2244(b)(3)(C). Under § 2244(b)(3)(C), in orderto gain permission to even <u>file</u> a second habeas petition,Tyler had to make “a prima facie showing” that his <u>Cage</u>claim satisfied the requirements of § 2244(b)(2)(A), that is,that it relied upon “a new rule of constitutional law, maderetroactive to cases on collateral review by the Supreme Court,that was previously unavailable.” Finding that Tyler had made sucha prima facie showing, the Fifth Circuit gave him permission tofile another habeas petition in United States District Court. TheUnited States District Court proceeded to the merits ofTyler’s claim, agreeing that <u>Cage</u> appliedretroactively, but denied relief under a separate portion of theAEDPA, § 2254(d)(1), because Tyler’s claim had been“adjudicated on the merits in state court” and Tyler could not showthat the state court’s decision “was contrary to, or involvedan unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, asdetermined by the Supreme Court of the United States.” The FifthCircuit affirmed the result. It held, however, that the DistrictCourt erred in failing as an initial matter to determine whetherTyler’s second federal habeas petition satisfied thesuccessive habeas standard of § 2244(b)(2)(A). In other words,although Tyler made the prima facie showing necessary to<u>file</u> his second federal habeas petition, once he filed thatpetition he was required, in order to avoid dismissal, to<u>actually show</u> that he met the requirements set forthin § 2244(b)(2)(A). Because Tyler could not meet the requisitestandard, the Fifth Circuit concluded that the District Courtshould have dismissed the petition on this ground. Tyler could notmeet the standard because, according to the Fifth Circuit, he“could not show that any Supreme Court decision renders the<u>Cage</u> decision retroactively applicable to cases oncollateral review.”</p><p><b>Holding:</b> “Based on the plain meaning of the text [of§ 2244(b)(2)(A)] read as a whole, we conclude that‘made’ means ‘held’ and, thus, the [statutory]requirement is satisfied only if the Court has held that the newrule is retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review.”Since the United States Supreme Court never “made” <u>Cage</u>retroactive to cases on collateral review, the United StatesDistrict Court was required to dismiss Tyler’s second habeasapplication.</p><p><b>Reasoning:</b> The Court, through Justice Thomas, noted that“made” has many meanings, [including “to lay out and construct” and“to cause to exist, occur or appear”] “none of which is entirelyfree from ambiguity.” Statutory terms, however, are interpreted inthe context of an overall statutory scheme. Under §2244(b)(2)(A), the Supreme Court is the only entity that can“ma[k]e” a new constitutional rule retroactive. “The only way theSupreme Court can ‘lay out and construct’ a rule’sretroactive effect, or ‘cause’ that effect ‘toexist, occur, or appear,’ is through a holding.” The fact thatUnited States Circuit Courts have only 30 days under the AEDPA[§ 2244(B)(3)(C)] in which to determine whetherapplicants such as Tyler have made their prima facie showingsfurther supports the Court’s interpretation of§ 2244(b)(2)(A). “It is unlikely that a court of appealscould make such a determination in the allotted time if it had todo more than simply rely on Supreme Court holdings onretroactivity.”</p><p>Because the Court has not expressly <u>held</u> that the<u>Cage</u> rule applies retroactively, Tyler cannot make thenecessary showing under § 2244(b)(2)(A). Contrary toTyler’s assertion, the reasoning underlying decisions in otherSupreme Court cases cannot accomplish this objective. Although theCourt can make a rule retroactive over the course of more than onecase, it has never done so with regard to <u>Cage</u>. Tyler hadargued that, over the course of two cases, <a href="">Teague v. Lane</a>,489 U.S. 288 (1989), and <a href="">Sullivan v. Louisiana</a>, 508 U.S. 275(1993), the Court “made” the <u>Cage</u> rule retroactive. In<u>Teague</u>, the Court held that a new rule is appliedretroactively to cases on collateral review “if, and only if, itfalls within one of two narrow exceptions to the general rule ofnon-retroactivity.” The exception relevant in Tyler's case was for“watershed rules of criminal procedure implicating the fundamentalfairness and accuracy of the criminal proceeding.” To fall withinthe “watershed exception” a new rule must “seriously diminish thelikelihood of obtaining an accurate conviction” <u>and</u> “alterour understanding of the bedrock procedural elements essential tothe fairness of a proceeding.” Tyler noted that in <u>Sullivan</u>the Court determined that a violation of the <u>Cage</u> rule“undermines the reliability of a trial’s outcome and deprivesthe defendant of having the jury make the bedrock determination forguilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” Finding this argumentunpersuasive, however, the Court concluded that, “the most [Tyler]can claim is that, based on the principles outlined in<u>Teague</u>, this Court <i>should</i> make <u>Cage</u>retroactive.” Moreover, making the <u>Cage</u> rule retroactive inTyler’s case could not change the ultimate disposition ofTyler’s claim. “Because Tyler’s habeas application washis second, the District Court was required to dismiss it unlessTyler showed that this Court already had made <u>Cage</u>retroactive.” Tyler could not do this and, therefore, his petitionshould have been dismissed.</p><p><b>Other Opinions:</b> Concurring with the majority, JusticeO’Connor stressed that, when relying upon multiple cases, “theholdings must dictate the conclusion and not merely provideprinciples from which one may conclude that the rule appliesretroactively.” Toward this end, reliance upon Court dicta orapplication of principles established by the Court as applied bylower tribunals could not be accepted.</p><p>Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Stevens, Souter, andGinsberg, dissented from the majority’s ruling. Justice Breyerfound that the Court “made” the <u>Cage</u> rule retroactivethrough its disposition of <u>Teague</u> and <u>Sullivan</u>.First, in <u>Teague</u>, the Court held that a new rule appliesretroactively where “(1) infringement of the new rule willseriously diminish the likelihood of obtaining an accurateconviction,” and “(2) the new rule alters our understanding of thebedrock procedural elements that must be found to vitiate [sic] thefairness of a particular conviction.” Second, in <u>Sullivan</u>,the Court concluded that a violation of the <u>Cage</u> rule couldnever constitute harmless error. Instead, an instruction violativeof the <u>Cage</u> rule “vitiates all the jury’s findings anddeprives a criminal defendant of a basic protection . . . withoutwhich a criminal trial cannot reliably serve its function.” Thecombined effect of the Court’s reasoning in these two casesclearly “made” the <u>Cage</u> rule retroactive. “That is becausean instruction that makes ‘<i>all</i> the jury’sfindings’ untrustworthy, <i>Sullivan, supra,</i> at 281, 113S.Ct. 2078, must ‘diminish the likelihood of obtaining anaccurate conviction,’ <i>Teague, supra,</i> at 315, 109 S.Ct.1060 (plurality opinion).” To Breyer, “[t]he matter is one oflogic. If Case One holds that all men are mortal and Case Two holdsthat Socrates is a man, we do not need Case Three to hold thatSocrates is mortal.”</p><p>Justice Breyer also thought that the majority’s conclusionwas inconsistent with the purpose of § 2244(b)(2)(A).Congress, through the statute, sought to bar multiple petitions inlower courts based upon precedents established by tribunals otherthan the Supreme Court. “Here, consistent with such a purpose, theSupreme Court has previously spoken.” Justice Breyer noted that thelikely consequence of the majority opinion will be furtherprocedural complexity, since the situations in which <u>Cage</u>can be made retroactive are limited.</p><p><b>Comment:</b> This ruling is consistent with the Court’sgenerally strict reading of the procedural requirements in federalhabeas corpus statutes.</p></div> </div> <!-- END FULL-WIDTH MODULE --> <!-- END MAIN BODY PRO CONTENT --> <!-- END LEFT COLUMN --> <!-- Start SEM sponsored Ads ---> <!-- End SEM sponsored Ads ---> </div> <div class="yui-u" id="lpstructure-rightcol"> <!-- BEGIN RIGHT COLUMN CONTENT --> <div id="rightcolmodule" class="rightcol_latestblogs"> <h3>Latest Blog Posts</h3> <ul> <li><a href="" rel="nofollow">Christmas Comes Early to Associates at BigLaw Firms</a></li> <li><a href="" rel="nofollow">Outside Counsel Is Out, Legal Tech Is In, and Your Salary Is 'Meh'</a></li> <li><a href="" rel="nofollow">Should You Sell Clients' Uncollected Debt? 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