In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court held that a federal court reviewing a state court’s denial of a habeas petition must apply the standards set forth under AEDPA and the Supreme Court’s holding in Brecht v. Abrahamson, where the Court held that a state prisoner must show that an error had a “substantial and injurious effect or influence” on his trial. AEDPA, on the other hand, sets forth a standard that is more difficult to meet–the state prisoner must show that the state court’s judgment was “contrary to” or an “unreasonable application” of “clearly established federal law.”
Accordingly, state prisoners challenging their convictions in federal court will not only have to show error or ineffective assistance of counsel at the trial level and error at the appellate level, they will also have to show prejudice under Brecht and that the appellate courts that affirmed the judgment did contrary to, or in an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law.
Certiorari to the Sixth Circuit
Opinion by Gorsuch, joined by Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Kavanaugh, and Barrett
Dissent by Kagan, joined by Breyer and Sotomayor
Click here to read the opinion.