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SAFFLE v. PARKS

494 U.S. 484 (1990)

SAFFLE v. PARKS, 494 U.S. 484 (1990)
494 U.S. 484
SAFFLE, WARDEN, ET AL. v. PARKS
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT

No. 88-1264.

Argued November 1, 1989
Decided March 5, 1990
Respondent Parks' state-court capital murder conviction and death sentence
became final in 1983. The Federal District Court denied his habeas corpus
petition, which was based on the argument that, inter alia, an instruction
delivered in the penalty phase of his trial, telling the jury to "avoid any
influence of sympathy," violated the Eighth Amendment. The Court of Appeals
reversed, holding that the instruction was unconstitutional because it in
effect told the jury to disregard the mitigating evidence that Parks had
presented.
Held:
Parks is not entitled to federal habeas relief. The principle he urges is a
"new rule" of federal constitutional law that can neither be announced nor
applied in a case on collateral review unless it comes within one of two
narrow - and here inapplicable - exceptions. Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288
</cgi-bin/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=489&invol=288>; Penry v.
Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302
</cgi-bin/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=492&invol=302>. Pp. 487-495.
(a) Parks' contention that the Eighth Amendment requires that the jury be
allowed to base the sentencing decision upon the sympathy they feel for the
defendant after hearing his mitigating evidence constitutes a "new rule" as
defined in Teague and Penry, since a state court concluded his claim at the
time his conviction became final would not have concluded that it was
compelled by existing precedent to adopt it. Lockett v. Ohio, 438 U.S. 586
</cgi-bin/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=438&invol=586>, and Eddings v.
Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104
</cgi-bin/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=455&invol=104>, which were both
decided before 1983

 

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