Terrell v. Morris
493 U.S. 1 (1989)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Terrell v. Morris, 493 U.S. 1 (1989)

Terrell v. Morris

No. 88-7535

Decided October 10, 1989

493 U.S. 1

Syllabus

When petitioner Terrell sought postconviction relief in the Ohio courts, they held that he had defaulted his ineffective assistance of counsel claim by failing to raise it on direct appeal, as required by State v. Cole, 2 Ohio St.3d 112. Before Cole, Ohio had permitted such claims in collateral challenges even if they had not been presented on direct appeal. Terrell then petitioned for a federal writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the Cole rule postdated his appeal and that he could not have known that he would default his claim if he failed to raise it on direct appeal. The District Court agreed, finding that Ohio could not invoke its procedural default rule retroactively, but proceeded to deny Terrell's claim on the merits. The Court of Appeals affirmed on the ground that the District Court properly determined that the ineffective assistance claim was not reviewable because of Terrell's failure to raise it in the state court proceedings.

Held: The Court of Appeals affirmed a decision that the District Court never made, and so never reviewed that court's actual decision. The District Court reached the merits of Terrell's claim after it determined that the only applicable default rule postdated his conviction. However, the Court of Appeals neither noted nor addressed the retroactivity issue. Review of the procedural bar and retroactivity issues should be undertaken based on a correct formulation of the District Court's ruling.

Certiorari granted; 872 F.2d 1029 vacated and remanded.

Page 493 U. S. 2

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