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GRAHAM v. COLLINS

506 U.S. 461 (1993)

GRAHAM v. COLLINS, 506 U.S. 461 (1993)
506 U.S. 461
GARY GRAHAM, PETITIONER v. JAMES A. COLLINS, DIRECTOR, TEXAS
DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, INSTITUTIONAL DIVISION
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
No. 91-7580

Argued October 14, 1992
Decided January 25, 1993
Petitioner Graham's capital murder conviction and death sentence became
final in 1984. After unsuccessfully seeking postconviction relief in the
Texas state courts, he filed this habeas corpus action in Federal District
Court, alleging, inter alia, that the three "special issues" his sentencing
jury was required to answer under the state capital sentencing statute then
in existence prevented the jury from giving effect, consistent with the
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, to mitigating evidence of his youth,
unstable family background, and positive character traits. In affirming the
District Court's denial of relief, the Court of Appeals reviewed this
Court's holdings on the constitutional requirement that a sentencer be
permitted to consider and act upon any relevant mitigating evidence put
forth by a capital defendant, and then ruled that Graham's jury could give
adequate mitigating effect to the evidence in question by way of answering
the special issues.
Held:
Graham's claim is barred because the relief he seeks would require
announcement of a new rule of constitutional law, in contravention of the
principles set forth in Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 301
</cgi-bin/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=489&invol=288>(plurality
opinion). Pp. 466-478.
(a) A holding that was not "dictated by precedent existing at the time the
defendant's conviction became final" constitutes a "new rule," ibid., which,
absent the applicability of one of two exceptions, cannot be applied or
announced in a case on collateral review, Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302

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